Noncom and com media should join for international service, author says

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America needs one news service to broadcast internationally, drawing on the strengths of both public and commercial media, writes Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, in today’s (July 14) Wall Street Journal. America’s broadcast news industry was designed to have private owners operating within public regulations. Currently, “American journalism is not just the product of the free market, but of a hybrid system of private enterprise and public support,” he writes. In today’s globalized world, other countries have strong national media: The BBC in Britain, China’s CCTV and Xinhua news, and Qatar’s Al Jazeera. But news broadcast internationally from the United States originates from Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty — developed during war “as tools of our anticommunist foreign policy,” Bollinger said. So American news “needs to be revised and its resources consolidated and augmented with those of NPR and PBS to create an American World Service that can compete with the BBC and other global broadcasters. The goal would be an American broadcasting system with full journalistic independence that can provide the news we need.” Bollinger’s new book is Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century (Oxford University Press).