Can Vice Save Journalism?
Maureen Dowd mulls over a new way to save newspapers
Everyone has a solution to media's woes, whether it's mimicking iTunes, slaughtering newspapers, or allowing media outfits to band together in an online cabal. Maureen Dowd, pun-happy columnist and satirist for the New York Times, has a novel idea. She asks: "Can vice save journalism?" The idea is that although sports betting is illegal, it's also inevitable. So why not let newspapers profit from it by hosting it on their Web sites? She quotes newspaper tycoon Mortimer Zuckerman:
People are spending money on what is basically a social vice anyhow... So why not use it to preserve the First Amendment? It’s not a perfect solution, but it is a solution.
According to Zuckerman, British newspapers already make millions by hosting bingo. He says it's high time American newspaper executives lobby for something guaranteed to turn a profit. What's the potential payoff? She quotes a source estimating $20 to $40 billion a year, plus less tangible benefits: "It would be a wonderful, huge blow against organized crime because the money would be taken out of what the mob gets."