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Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Crovitz’

NPR Saved (For Now) But VOA Might Be Cut

The temporary budget Congress approved at the last minute last week allocates $445 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, close to what the CPB got last year, and $445 million more than some people wanted.

But the permanent budget is yet to be passed and NPR and PBS funding will likely end up back on the chopping block.

At the same time the government-funded Voice of America may be cutting its Chinese-language broadcasts, notes the WSJ’s Gordon Crovitz. This could save $8 million a year not to mention about as many headaches, as Beijing jams radio broadcasts and refuses to allow VOA to open a bureau in Shanghai.

Congress has held hearings on the plan, which would eliminate the Cantonese-language broadcast entirely and cut half the Mandarin reporters. VOA says it would place higher emphasis on the Internet, which it already helps users in China and Iran access by providing firewall-skipping tools.

“Firing the journalists who create the content in languages like Mandarin undermines both Web and radio efforts,” Crovitz writes.

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Journalism Online Volunteers To Help Make People Pay

So when it comes to online content, the best that most papers can devise right now seems to be pay for content. Okay now that they have a solution&#151sort of&#151where do they start the charging? That’s where Journalism Online comes in to help.

Started by three media executives, Steve Brill, Gordon Crovitz, and Leo Hindery, Journalism Online is designed to help companies create and an automated system to charge for all of their content. The system would even include an “all you can read” subscription that would allow access to multiple publications.

The New York Times reports no publishers have signed on yet, but many have taken meetings to find out how the system works.

As the company envisions the system, a nonpaying reader on a magazine or newspaper site would reach a certain point and see a page asking for payment &#151 the Journalism Online system, operating within the publication’s Web site. But a reader who wanted a subscription to multiple sites would go directly to the new company’s own site.

“The most important thing is it’s simple to use,” Mr. Brill said in an interview. “Much of the barrier to charging online is the transaction friction, as opposed to the actual cost. With this system, you’d have a single password, give your credit card number just once.”

He said that for the unlimited subscriptions, “we’re playing with a figure of $15 a month.”

The company is also looking at helping papers negotiate licensing and royalty fees for syndicated articles.