Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Horton on Daily Newspapers and Antitrust: As Relevant and Crucial To Our Democracy as Ever

Thomas Jeffrey Horton, University of South Dakota School of Law, has published Daily Newspapers and Antitrust: As Relevant and Crucial to Our Democracy as Ever in Media Markets and Competition Law: Multinational Perspectives 153 (Antonio Bavasso, David S. Evans, Douglas H. Ginsburg eds.), 2019. Here is the abstract.

Daily newspapers today are under siege. The future viability of traditional daily newspapers is being questions due to the rise of Internet information sources, as well as the current political attacks on the press. This article argues that those predicting "doom and gloom" for the daily newspaper industry are short-sighted, given the continued popularity of high-quality investigative journalism and ever-present need for accountability reporting in our democracy. With many readers consuming daily newspapers' content through their innovative online platforms, the competition of the Internet had increased the quality of newspaper journalism, after a period of declining quality due to aggressive consolidation in the print industry. Discussing the 1970 Newspaper Preservation Act ("NPA"), which was supposed to protect editorial diversity by allowing horizontal economic consolidations, the author observes that it actually led to lower quality journalism and less competitive newspapers. The author argues that the NPA should be repealed, and aggressive competition encouraged between newspapers at both the local and national geographic levels through the rigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws. Newspapers should continue to be analyzed as a distinct product market by antitrust enforcers, and further horizontal mergers and consolidation discouraged, and, if necessary, rejected.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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