Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 10:34am
THE DAILY SHOW
[SOURCE: New York Times, AUTHOR: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin]
[Commentary] Local newspapers are in trouble with subscribership and advertising revenue declining. The undeniable reality is that the media marketplace has changed considerably over the last three decades. In 1975, cable television served fewer than 15 percent of television households. Satellite TV did not exist. Today, by contrast, fewer than 15 percent of homes do not subscribe to cable or satellite television. And the Internet as we know it today did not even exist in 1975. Now, nearly one-third of all Americans regularly receive news through the Internet. If we don't act to improve the health of the newspaper industry, we will see newspapers wither and die. Without newspapers, we would be less informed about our communities and have fewer outlets for the expression of independent thinking and a diversity of viewpoints. The challenge is to restore the viability of newspapers while preserving the core values of a diversity of voices and a commitment to localism in the media marketplace. A company that owns a newspaper in one of the 20 largest cities in the country should be permitted to purchase a broadcast TV or radio station in the same market. But a newspaper should be prohibited from buying one of the top four TV stations in its community. In addition, each part of the combined entity would need to maintain its editorial independence. Beyond giving newspapers in large markets the chance to buy one local TV or radio station, no other ownership rule would be altered. A colleague on the commission, Michael Copps, for whom I have the utmost respect, has argued that our very democracy is at stake in the decisions we make regarding media ownership. I do not disagree. But if we believe that newspaper journalism plays a unique role in the functioning of our democracy, then we cannot turn a blind eye to the financial condition in which these companies find themselves.
* FCC's Martin Seen Likely To Soon Release Media-Ownership Plan
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is expected to unveil his plans for reforming the agency's media ownership rules as soon as today, which could pave the way for the proposed sale of Tribune Co. to receive regulatory approval.
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- Memo to FCC: Let broadcasters invest in newspapers
- FCC Expected To Vote On Proposed Media Ownership Changes Today
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- Martin Stands Firm on Date of Media Vote at Senate Hearing
- Democratic Gains Alter Media Ownership Debate
- Rejected Reruns from the FCC
- FCC Proposing Leaving Local TV/Radio Ownership Caps In Place
- The End Is Near?