This morning, David Westphal and Geoffrey Cowan gave a press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to discuss their report "Public Policy and Funding the News." Westphal is executive in residence at the USC Annenberg School for Journalism and former Washington editor for McClatchy. Cowan is dean emeritus at Annenberg.
The report is an examination of the history and recent role of U.S. government support for news organizations. The authors claim that many commentators, including those in the press, are unaware of the ways in which the government has supported journalism throughout the nation's history.
Postal subsidies, which were advocated for by George Washington and James Madison, as well as legal notices and tax breaks are all ways in which the government has funded the news. According to Cowan, there has never been a wall separating state and press in the U.S., as there is with state and religion.
In the video below, Westphal discusses common misconceptions about government funding for the press.
The report can be found online at Public Policy and Funding the News.