Fed role: help ‘nonprofit news operations … gain traction”

The new report to the FCC about the state of the media and the future of American journalism estimates that filling gaps in local reporting would cost from $265 million to $1.6 billion a year. It also suggests various ways in which the government could help nonprofit media afford to bridge that chasm. “The main focus of government policy should not be providing the funds to sustain reporting but helping to create conditions under which nonprofit news operations can gain traction,” the report advises. But observers point out that the FCC has no power to make many of those changes, which include adjusting tax laws for pubmedia organizations, getting foundations to fund more journalism, and rethinking CPB’s legislated spending proportions to allot more money to nonbroadcast and multimedia innovators. “Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age” was released June 9.

Moyers’ speech to National Conference for Media Reform, 2005

Six months after retiring as host of PBS’s Now with Bill Moyers, the longtime journalist spoke to activists gathered for the conference in St. Louis May 15, 2005. This prepared text was posted by Free Press [website], the sponsor of the conference. I can’t imagine better company on this beautiful Sunday morning in St. Louis.

Dereg struggle seen assisting public TV

There’s hope for public broadcasting in the upwelling of citizen opposition to FCC deregulation of commercial TV, broadcast historian Robert McChesney said in a keynote address at the PBS Annual Meeting June 7. “It’s this movement of an aroused and engaged citizenry that really is the future that will genuinely expand and enhance public-service media in the United States,” McChesney asserted. Dereg became a matter of public debate as the FCC adopted new rules June 2, loosening limits on station ownership. A single company can now own stations reaching up to 45 percent of the country’s population, up from 35 percent (and the real reach permitted is greater, since the FCC by policy counts only half of UHF viewers). The changes are expected to excite a frenzy of station purchases by media giants.