Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky that if American newspapers were to fail, it would be “a real tragedy.”
Journalism is a central part of democracy. And if it can’t be funded because of these business problems, then that’s a real loss in terms of voices and diversity.
But will Schmidt put Google’s (GOOG) money where his mouth is and purchase a newspaper or two? Er, no:
The good news is we could purchase them. We have the cash. But I don’t think our purchasing a newspaper would solve the business problems. It would help solidify the ownership structure, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem in the business. Until we can answer that question we’re in this uncomfortable conversation.
The fundamental question you’re asking is why does Google not write large checks to newspapers? We’re careful at Google with our money. We write large checks when we have a great strategy. And we don’t yet have that strategy.