Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, said that the web giants had a responsibility to subsidise investigative reporting.
Newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic have been forced to cut budgets as advertising revenues increasingly move online. The “duopoly” of Google and Facebook will receive more than half of all money spent on digital advertising in Britain this year, according to recent forecasts. Asked if she was concerned about the future of journalism, Brown told Time magazine: “I do worry very much about the business model. I think it’s high time that Facebook and Google created a vast philanthropy fund to fund journalism. They have stolen so much that it’s high time they gave some of it back.”
It is interesting how profoundly conservative people can be, isn’t it? A little more Marx might be useful here, technology determines social relations. Ad supported investigative and long form reporting is really a transient thing, perhaps a century of it? And it happened just because that’s the way technology was then – and it ain’t now.