Media vouchers

Anticipating the supposed upcoming collapse of the corporate news system, Robert McChesney and John Nichols are looking for ways to fund the news media (book, interview). They support a voucher system.

The idea is very simple: every American adult gets a $200 voucher she can use to donate money to any nonprofit news medium of her choice. […] This funding mechanism is the centerpiece of our policy recommendations, and we mean for it to apply to public, community and all other nonprofit broadcasters and the new generation of post-corporate newspapers as well as Internet upstarts. […] Qualifying media ought not, in our view, be permitted to accept advertising; this is a sector that is to have a direct and primary relationship with its audience. These media can accept tax-deductible donations from individuals or foundations to supplement their income. […] We would also suggest that for a medium to receive funds it would have to get […] at least 100 people to sign on.

The authors do not state this explicitly, but it seems that their conception of the voucher system for news media is very similar to the standard conception of the electoral system for government. Continue reading