Should editors and reporters own stock?

I was reading this piece about Rupert Murdoch criticizing the media and I was thinking what could solve this? What about giving the staff shares in the newspaper? The more shares the more they have to lose by indulging their own personal political preferences that turn away readers.

With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.
"My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it's not newspapers that might become obsolete. It's some of the editors, reporters, and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper's most precious asset: the bond with its readers," said Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp. He made his remarks as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation. . . .



Blogger Thernlund said...

Not sure it would solve much. It may incentivize those same reporters to just report what sells. That is, if people don't want to hear it or it's an unpopular topic, don't bother.

It would likely also lead to greater sensationalizing.


11/17/2008 11:27 AM  
Blogger clark said...

I don't think it would help. We disagree on the fundamental problems with the mainstream news media. You say it's driven by bias and personal agendas. I say the problems stem from a focus on sensationalism and the abandonment of basic journalistic principles. If reporters and editors were incentivized by profits or share price, I think we'd see an explosion of "shark-attack" stories... you know, those shallow, pointless stories that crop up during slow news cycles in an attempt to fill space and/or time.

11/17/2008 12:03 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

It's a good idea, provided journalists disclose their interests.

Journalists would do a better job if they had some skin in the game. The journalistic conventional wisdom according to which journalists shouldn't own shares, vote in partisan elections or publicly express opinions on controversial topics has things exactly backwards. It drives journalists' opinions underground and discourages real experts -- people who have enough on the ball to profit from trading and other business activities -- from becoming journalists.

11/18/2008 11:05 PM  

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