Key Quotes from the Future of Journalism Hearing

May 7, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a subcommittee hearing on The Future of Journalism.

Witness List

The Honorable Benjamin Cardin, United States Senator, Maryland

Panel I

Ms. Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products & User Experience, Google Inc.

Mr. Steve Coll, Former Managing Editor, Washington Post

Mr. David Simon, Author, TV Producer and Former Newspaperman

Mr. Alberto Ibargüen, President and Chief Executive Officer,  John S. And James L.
Knight Foundation

Mr. James M. Moroney, Publisher/CEO, The Dallas Morning News

Ms. Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post
*not necessarily in order of appearance

Key quotes from today’s hearing:

“In the near term, we must seek ways to make sure that our existing news entities find a firmer financial footing.  In the long term, however, we face more fundamental concerns.  From the very beginning our approach to media policy has been informed by a set of core values—encouraging competition, ensuring a diversity of voices, and fostering localism.  Despite the changes all around us, I believe we should strive to make sure that these values continue to inspire our media policy in the digital age.”
Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV

“As a means of conveying news in a timely way, paper and ink have become obsolete, eclipsed by the power, efficiency and technological elegance of the Internet. But just looking at the erosion of newspapers is not the full picture; it’s just one casualty of a completely shifting and churning information landscape. Most experts believe that what we are seeing happen to newspapers is just the beginning—soon, perhaps in a matter of a few years, television and radio will experience what newspapers are experiencing now.”
Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet

“While we have lots of news sources, we rely on newspapers for in-depth reporting that follows important issues, records events and exposes misdeeds.  Most, if not all, sources of journalistic information – from radio to television to the Internet – gather their news from newspaper reporters who cover the issues on a daily basis and know their communities.  It is in the interest of our nation and good governance that we ensure they survive.”
Senator Benjamin Cardin

“The Web by definition changes and updates constantly throughout the day. Because of its ability to operate in real-time, it offers an opportunity for news publishers to publish on changing and evolving stories as they happen. Today, in online news, publishers frequently publish several articles on the same topic, sometimes with identical or closely related content, each at their own URL.”
Ms. Marissa Mayer

“The essential question is whether the current crisis in journalism has brought forward matters of public interest sufficient to warrant review and adjustment of those journalism-shaping policies that Congress already oversees—and whether those reforms can be undertaken without reducing the distance between government and journalism.”
Mr. Steve Coll

“Yes, I have heard the post-modern rallying cry that information wants to be free. But information isn’t. It costs money to send reporters to London, Fallujah and Capitol Hill, and to send photographers with them, and to keep them there day after day. It costs money to do the finest journalism. And how anyone can believe that the industry can fund that kind of expense by giving its product away online to aggregators and bloggers is a source of endless fascination to me.”
Mr. David Simon

“Nothing Congress can do is as important as providing universal digital access and adoption. If the future of democracy’s news and information is online—then we must ensure everyone is online. Even today, if you’re not digital, you’re a second class citizen in the United States.”
Mr. Alberto Ibargüen

“Newspaper publishers should be able to obtain reasonable compensation from Internet companies that reproduce newspaper content for a commercial purpose. Many of these operators copy or summarize a link to newspaper content in order to drive search or audience to the Web sites, then sell advertising wrapped around this newspaper content.”
Mr. James M. Moroney

“The discussion needs to move from “How do we save newspapers?” to “How do we strengthen journalism—via whatever platform it is delivered?” We must never forget that our current media culture led to the widespread failure to serve the public interest by accurately covering two of the biggest stories of our time: the run-up to the war in Iraq and the financial meltdown.”
Ms. Arianna Huffington