Friday, June 10, 2011

FCC Working Group on the Information Needs of Communities

...It effectively tells media companies that the government can’t do much to help them, and the companies had better start adapting.

One of the biggest trends that the FCC flags as important in the report is the loss of what it calls “accountability” journalism, in which news outlets on a local and/or national level cover the government and thereby act as a check on power...

And what does the FCC think can be done to fill it? Not much. As the report notes, it’s not clear how that kind of journalism — which doesn’t tend to attract much advertising interest — is supposed to pay for itself on an ongoing basis... companies need to adapt to the new shape of the industry, and try to learn from alternative models and businesses. Probably the biggest move it recommends is that the government shift some of the $1 billion or so it spends on advertising its own services to smaller and/or alternative news sources, as a way of helping media outlets on the revenue side.

...the report more or less leaves media companies on their own to evolve and adapt without any help from the broadcast regulator...

FCC report on media warns of decline in quality local news

Local TV is singled out in the report for not covering important issues enough. Alhough the number of hours of local news has increased over the last few years, too few stations "are investing in more reporting on critical local issues," the report said. Furthermore, the report said that although stations may be adding newscasts, they are doing it with fewer reporters.

Even with the additional newscasts, the stories often focus on crime and the reason for that has more to do with with how cheap it is to cover crime stories than it does viewer demand.

"As technology offered consumers new choices, it upended traditional news industry business models, resulting in massive job losses," the FCC said.

The result has been "gaps in coverage that even the fast-growing digital world has yet to fill." Although the digital media may someday can fill the void left by diminishing traditional media, "at this moment the media deficits in many communities are consequential."

FCC Report Recommends Moving Government National Ad Spending to Local


No comments: