Following up on Thursday’s release of the FCC’s landmark study “The Information Needs of Communities,” FCC senior adviser Steven Waldman and Chairman Julius Genachowski say the goals of the report are attainable: making sure all Americans have access to the Internet, but that the journalistic content provides the kind of reporting, and therefore accountability, that truly serves communities.
The commission’s 500-page report and recommendations on “Information Needs of Communities” proposes getting rid of some paperwork regulations for stations, including the “enhanced disclosure” form, drop its localism proceeding, kill the fairness doctrine once and for all and suggests some amount of consolidation may be healthy in smaller markets. But it also wants to strengthen its rules regulating video news release disclosure.
The FCC’s report on the information needs of communities to be released today will suggest that the FCC’s Media Bureau take into account whether allowing stations to combine forces could increase their ability to provide that community information.
A report being released today by the FCC is the product of an 18-month effort to explore the turmoil sweeping the traditional media business in the U.S. — particularly daily newspapers. The report says that while there’s media variety and abundance, it’s not filling the journalism gap left by the contraction of daily newspapers. It recommends creating public affairs cable channels similar to C-SPAN at the state level, easing tax rules for nonprofit news organizations and directing more federal advertising spending to local news media.
On Thursday, the FCC will release its long-awaited report on the “Future of Media,” but according to people who have seen the voluminous document, it holds little more than minor suggestions for rule changes, such as requiring broadcasters to put more information online. The report will also suggest that the Internal Revenue Service consider helping struggling media companies get an easier path to becoming non-profits.
In remarks before the Media Institute this week, FCC adviser Steve Waldman said the agency’s Future of Media report would be released “soon.” According to Waldman, local TV news is “more important than ever,” and the source from which Americans still get most of their news.