Before I slam the point of Senator Cardin's bill to make newspapers non-profits, let me set the record straight. If you haven't guessed already, I'm over 40 years old and I only have one newspaper delivered to my house - my weekly local paper The Observer Tribune. I believe advertising in newspapers is the most wasteful form of advertising any marketer can do and it just isn't due to the declining circulation numbers. You can't properly target the ads. You don't know who actually sees your ad. You can never capture all of the traffic generated from an ad to your site. Finally, the ads are boring. I once got kicked out of a meeting with the Bank of Montreal because I argued so much against spending crucial dollars on a wasteful ad campaign in the WSJ.
Senator Cardin's bill to allow newspapers to reorganize as nonprofits to gain tax breaks is an example of the Federal Government's sticking their nose in the free markets where it doesn't belong. This quote found in the Reuters article that I linked to shows how the reverse logic of Congress works:
Advertising revenues are down because marketers have finally woken up to the scam that is newspaper advertising. Circulation numbers are down because people can get news faster and in more appealing manners than paper. The cost structure for newspapers is bloated; these dinosaurs are so slow to react to changing economies that they didn't reorganize fast enough to become smaller and more nimble.
Look people. If you like your newspaper, that's cool with me. As my wife noticed the other day we are the only person on our block that doesn't have a daily newspaper delivered. Do I miss reading the Sunday Paper while eating breakfast? Nope. My iPhone works just fine in my house and I don't need to recycle the papers any more.
Senator Cardin, let the free market decide their fate. Newspaper's in their current form is nearly dead and that's the way they should be.