Does the future hold a digital-age Corporation for Public Media?

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Check out “An open letter to the FCC about a media policy for the digital age,” by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll, now president of the New America Foundation, via Columbia Journalism Review. One of Coll’s ideas, for CPB: “I’ve heard suggestions that new funding should be linked to more pluralistic formulas, including a restructuring of CPB to encompass new digital entrants, such as ProPublica, for example, or local sites like the nonprofit Voice of San Diego — a change that might be signaled by renaming the entity as the Corporation for Public Media. That may be ambitious politically, but it is certainly the right strategic direction. Any new funding regime should be measured by whether or not it will produce more serious, independent, diverse, public-minded reporting.”

“Any new funds routed through a reformed corporation should come with conditions. One should be that that PBS, NPR, and their member stations have incentives to work across digital media, and to embrace local reporting to a much greater degree than they do now (which is not much, overall; only 478 of the 901 stations airing NPR programming have staff of any kind, and only a fraction of those have a local news staff). The stations should also be given incentives to connect their audiences to other non-profit and commercial media outlets through open systems, just as web aggregators do, in order to strengthen innovators and new entrants.”

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