In challenging times, all sorts of ideas tumble out, some of them get voice, and a few of them push through.
The latest is the notion of financial protection of the newsroom through the corporate transformation of newspapers into non-profit foundations. The Poynter-run St. Petersburg Times is such an animal, and some who worry about the steady decline of news resources believe the safest route is the foundational route.
The exploration of this idea is repelled by those who believe market forces should determine the viability of the press. While some note the value of the non-profit, the general tone of their criticism of the idea is that a newsroom might become complacent under such a condition.
In Jack Shafer's case in Slate, he argues that a foundation only masks the need for true change.
"The market for news—and for ads—is trying to tell them it wants them to transmogrify into something new or, in the worst-case scenario, something gone. Turning any newspaper over to rich historic preservationists only postpones solving the problem of what newspapers need to be in the 21st century."