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Mr. Kerry organized Senate hearings on “the future of journalism” in May. In addition, the House Judiciary subcommittee on courts and competition policy held a hearing to address the troubled industry. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, introduced the Newspaper Revitalization Act in March that would allow papers to operate as nonprofits, prompting many analysts to examine the political implications of the tactic.

“However well-intentioned, any government bailout of the journalism industry is a bad idea,” wrote Jeffrey M. McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University, in a July 11 op-ed in the Indianapolis Star.

“Public confidence in the media is already on shaky ground,” said Mr. McCall. “That will surely erode further if citizens are given reason to think the journalism industry might take it easy on the government in exchange for tax breaks, anti-trust exemptions or subsidies,” he said.