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The social costs of media feeding frenzies

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Concern over the cost of excessive media coverage has increased in recent years. This paper offers an explanation of excessive coverage as an application of the tragedy of the commons, resulting from a lack of property rights over a story. News organizations consider only their private costs in covering a story, not the external costs of lower quality of overall coverage and invasion of privacy. However, restricting access to a story can also facilitate censorship. This paper consider means of limiting access which do not compromise journalistic freedom, specifically examining the parallel to tradeable discharge permits in environmental economics.
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Keywords: Censorship; Media; Social Responsibility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 15, 2001

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