Can news only survive as a patronage industry?
It seems it is impossible to get good-quality, unbiased news unless it is funded by someone who doesn't have a profit motive.
Of the three global examples of "good-quality" news brands, one is funded by a trust (The Guardian), the other by taxpayers (BBC) and the third by a benevolent state (Al Jazeera).
Charlie Beckett is the founding director of POLIS, a think-tank for research and debate on international journalism and society.
POLIS is part of the London School of Economics' media and communications department. Mr Beckett reckons: "News has never paid except perhaps for the Financial Times or The Economist. That is because they deliver hard news for people who are making money from that information.
With that exception there has always been a cross-subsidy.
News has always been bundled with something else that makes money, like cable. The only reason I buy Sky is because of the cinema it offers.
If you told people, 'pay licence fees for BBC News', they won't. But they pay for a bundle which has drama, radio and other entertainment."
Text: Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Business Standard
Image Courtesy: BBC News