The debate over “who owns the media” is heating up again, and has already become stuck in a bit of a 1980s time warp. That’s unfortunate. Smart media policy could actually help local news ecosystems during a critical time.
The long-awaited FCC report, “The Information Needs of Communities,” was released last week. Had the report endorsed radical (and preposterous) things, like a federal tax credit for investigative journalism, it would have attracted more ink, and been the subject of conversation far longer. But it’s a credit to its authors, and to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, that it did not do so, because it shows they possess both a realistic view of the scope of the FCC’s limited authority and a healthy respect for the First Amendment.
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.