I’m spending the first part of this week writing up to ten pages on how the Norwegian government is supposed to afford journalists in the future. Norway subsidizes its media, or should I say part of its media, mainly the media that provides daily news on paper. The media that I think is dying. News sites get no government funding or tax breaks, and the current system of funding provides very little incentive for experimenting with more efficient, modern ways of delivering news.
Writing about this for school means I will probably have to use my own earlier writings as academic references. That makes me feel old and silly, but I have been writing about Norwegian press subsidies for as long as I have been writing journalism at all – which I admit is not that long. My first feature article, back in early 2008, was about the Norwegian system of government-supported journalism. My American journalism professor at The American University of Paris sent me back to Oslo so I could explain to him how Norwegian newspapers could be government-funded and still be an independent fourth estate.
I wrote about how Norwegian journalists considered themselves loyal mouthpieces for politicians up until the 1970s, about the controversy (or should I say controversial lack of controversy in many cases) surrounding the current press subsidy system and about the general Norwegian mentality of trusting the government to provide solutions to everything. After a week of interviewing editors and media experts, I had learned most of the things that would later be on the syllabus of the course for which I’m currently writing an exam.
But I never got around to publishing the article, until now. So here it is, complete with the footnotes I added to further explain Norwegian weirdness to Americans: