In an innovative project from the Netherlands, the Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science has managed to gain support from the Parliament for more funding for journalism.
It's not in the form of government subsidies for newspapers, though, which have been criticised by various industry insiders including media mogul Rupert Murdoch and editor Frédéric Filloux. Instead, the Dutch government will finance two-year contracts for 60 young journalists across 30 titles in the country's press, reports Media Trend.
The plan will cost €4m, according to Labour Party minister Ronald Plasterk, who created the plan in an effort to renew an ageing industry. In a country where more than half of all journalists are over the age of 45, Mr Plasterk wants to make way for a new generation of journalists who can contribute to innovation in the news industry, he said in a press release.
The initiative also arose from the fact that in a slump, it's young journalists who are the victims, based on the "last in, first out" policy.
The plan was approved by Parliament thanks to support from the social-democrat Labour Party and the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal party. For a long time, they were reluctant to support the plan, because they feared it would lead to job cuts for older journalists. They only signed on after the heads of the news organisations involved assured them this wouldn't be the case.
The conservative People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, as well as the nationalist-conservative Party for Freedom, were opposed to the plan. They feared the creation of "government journalists".
Will this plan drive innovation in the news industry or create a class of journalists who feel indebted to their government? Only time will tell, but as French commentators pointed out, the contracts are made with publications and not with the government. We can hope, then, that this is an idea that will work.
Source: Media Trend