Voting on the media package – online media in Basel disagree on media funding – News


Andrea Fopp from “Bajour” says yes, Oliver Sterchi from “Primenews” says no. An argument.

“No online medium has so far had enough money for comprehensive local journalism,” says editor-in-chief Andrea Fopp from the Basel online magazine “Bajour”. This is even the case in Basel, where the variety of media is greater than anywhere else. “Nobody has a federal house editorial team that observes national events from a Basel perspective,” she says. The two other big players, “Basler Zeitung” and “bz Basel”, also obtain a large part of their reporting from their cover newspapers in Zurich and Aarau. Fopp advocates a “yes” for media funding.

So far, no online model has had enough money for comprehensive local journalism.

Oliver Sterchi from the Basel online magazine “Primenews” also says that the media diversity in his region is particularly large. This was launched 3.5 years ago and – like “Bajour” – has money for three full-time positions.

Who are «Primenews» and «Bajour»?

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“Bajour” reports on urban issues, primarily from the Basel region. The platform has built a community that can take action beyond journalism (e.g. during the pandemic where members could share and help each other.)
“Primenews” is also mainly about regional issues. Current political priorities are often processed and analyzed.

Unlike Fopp, however, Sterchi fights media funding. On the one hand, he criticizes that only online media with a subscription system can benefit from subsidies. The “Primenews” model with a barrier where readers have to decide whether to watch a commercial or pay money before the article is activated is disadvantaged. This is because the Federal Council and Parliament would prefer subscription models with the new funding.

Sterchi is also bothered by the fact that funding has long gone not only to smaller media, but also to large newspaper publishers. The big publishers had previously “cannibalized themselves” by outsourcing the lucrative advertising business. He therefore criticizes the fact that these publishers “now hollow their hands and want tax money”.

Publishers have outsourced the advertising business, cannibalized themselves and now they’re hollowing their hands and want tax money.

However, it is not yet clear how the CHF 150 million earmarked for media funding would be distributed. Fopp agrees with Sterchi that large publishers would also benefit and says that she too would prefer “more money to flow into promising online media and less into print publishers”. “But the media package is a compromise,” and it’s common not to be completely satisfied with everything.

Independence not in jeopardy

However, the two online media people agree on the assessment of whether state funding for the media would endanger their independence, as opponents use as an argument against media funding. “It’s exaggerated,” says Sterchi. He sees only isolated difficulties: “For example, when I criticize subsidies to agriculture and as a medium myself receive subsidies.”

Basel regional journal, January 21, 2022, 5:30 p.m.;

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