If we had to choose between letting a well regarded newspaper go to the wall or giving it a public subsidy the answer should be fairly obvious. Public money would turn the paper into something else, a creature of the government.
But the last paragraph of Paul Gillespe's piece today is an indication that papers on the public tit is something that may be contemplated
Coming to terms with Google's power - The Irish Times - Sat, Dec 15, 2012
If I can read the IT online for free then I'm not going to buy it. That's their problem and the solution is to stop giving it away online. But if it became publicly funded I would've even read it for free. It would be utterly compromised. Sometimes there can be an upside to living in a state that is broke. Some of the wilder ideas for spending public money can't get off the ground.But a tax to help fund the public good of costly reportage has a wider appeal. Like the Tobin tax on financial transactions, it could create a new revenue stream capable of having broad oversight kept at an armís length from the state and making the news aggregators more accountable.