Free Press Criticizes Takeaway from FCC Report
Sometimes acknowledging a problem can be a first step to a solution. Other times, an acknowledgment with no action plan seems counterproductive.
Free Press, an organization dedicated to media reform, determined that a major new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) falls short in its objectives. The FCC’s report “The Technology and Information Needs of Communities” was supposed to respond to the current issues facing journalists and inform a proactive public interest media policy course for the digital age.
Free Press, along with more than 30 media reform and journalism organizations and more than 9,000 citizens, submitted detailed comments to the FCC in 2010, suggesting a number of actions and policy changes that would help provide more quality news and information to local communities.
Craig Aaron, the CEO of Free Press made the following statement: “The report discusses many important ideas, but where the FCC actually has the power to help local communities, the agency abdicates its responsibility in the areas. Worse yet, instead of striking a bold path forward, the FCC chairman appears to be backing away from the positive, though baby steps made by his Republican predecessors on the issues of competition, localism and diversity.”
“The biggest take away from the agency’s report is that there is still a crisis in quality, local news. However, oddly, the FCC report seems to embrace policies that would make this problem even worse. We are especially disappointed that the Commission is abandoning enhanced disclosure that requires broadcasters to report how much – or how little – local news and programming they air. In essence, this hides the problem this report was intended to help resolve by making it harder to find evidence of the problem.”
Recruiters may be interested in following the issues facing media, as they might be indicative of larger trends involving jobs adjusting to shifts in technology. How can technology generate new jobs while benefiting the public’s thirst for information and knowledge?
“We can’t make smart policy if we don’t know what’s going on in our media,” writes Aron. “It’s ironic that the authors spent so much time and effort gathering and analyzing data on the problems facing the media, yet the report concludes that one solution is to collect less data on the problems with existing local media.”