Working for a Strong First Amendment
and Sound Communications Policy

Bookmark and Share Subscribe Subscribe Subscribe
HomepageAbout UsTMI BlogLinksContact Us

Journalism

Reaction Rolls In on Media Future Report
by John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable
June 9, 2011

Comments came in thick, and unusually fast, to the FCC's release of its future of media report Thursday(June 9).

In fact, the FCC's official release of the report online was accompanied by reaction quotes from, amongothers, Hearst Television President David Barrett and National Religious Broadcasters President Frank Wright, suggesting the FCC had briefed some broadcasters and others before releasing the report. One source confirmed they had been approached by the FCC about a Wednesday briefing on the report.

"We appreciate that the report suggests moving away from outdated reporting rules," said Barrett in the statement highlighted by the FCC on its site. "We are open minded about the new proposals, especially given the productive process by which the report arrived at its conclusions, and will consider them carefully."

The report is not enforceable, but FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski associated himself with it and praised its authors.

The report recommended scrapping the FCC's enhanced ascertainment rules, adopted in 2007 and requiring a more detailed accounting of program content reporting, as well as closing the localism proceeding without taking steps like creating community advisory boards to weigh in on public interest programming.

The report, and the chairman, suggested those were burdensome overregulation.

Among its hundreds of pages of observation and suggestions, the report recommended that noncommercial religious stations have more flexibility to raise money on-air for charities. Currently, fund-raising for noncom stations that receive government funding is confined to their own operations, or, through waivers, for natural disasters like hurricanes or floods. But it is not allowed for ongoing campaigns likehunger relief….  » Full Story

FCC Report Proposes Closing Localism Proceeding, Scrapping Enhanced Disclosure 
by John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable
June 9, 2011

The FCC's long-awaited report on the information needs of communities (465 pages including footnotes, said one commissioner) was released Thursday with a mix of praise and criticism for local TV station news, but a number of recommendations that should sit well with broadcasters.  

Those include that the FCC should terminate its localism proceeding, replace enhanced disclosure of TV station's public service programming with a more streamlined, online version, and encouraging the government to move its billion dollars of mostly national advertising buys to local media like TV stations

More broadly, the report finds a generally vibrant media landscape with a troubling gap in providing community news about schools and local government that has yet to be filled by the disruptive explosion of web news content.
 
The report does not have any enforceable provisions, but is instead meant to inform the FCC's decision-making, including on media ownership and other regulations. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski associated himself with the report and the caution it expressed about the limited role of government in the journalism space. He said he preferred its recommendations to ones that involve a "heavier government hand" in areas of speech and content.
 
On the positive side of the ledger for TV stations news operations, Steven Waldman, who headed up the report, said local TV news is still the most important local media source, and has become more productive -- though with leaner staffs -- through the web and mobile apps and multicasting and user-generated content….  » Full Story

Full report:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-307406A1.pdf

FCC press release:
 http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-307411A1.pdf

Two-page summary :
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-307411A2.pdf

NBCU Launches Search for Community News Partners
by John Eggerton,  Broadcasting & Cable
May 23, 2011

NBCU Local Media has put out its request for proposals for nonprofit partners in community Web news operations it promised in at least five of its TV station markets as part of the Comcast/NBCU deal.

NBCU says it is looking for "robust news gathering capabilities, a track record of accuracy, fairness and independence in their journalistic efforts, and an ability to provide diverse viewpoints and programming."

Comcast SVP David Cohen last week signaled that the RFPs were about ready to roll.

The model is an existing partnership between NBC's KNSD San Diego and voicesofsandiego.org, which counts as one of those five markets, so that means there will be at least four more to comply with the deal conditions.

The markets in play are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, and Hartford, Conn.

NBC local TV news teams will share footage, facilities and expertise as well as cross-promote web sites.

One of the pledges Comcast made to secure regulatory approval was that within a year of the deal's close (which was in January of this year) was that it would have five online partnerships in place. NBCU retains editorial discretion over what to use, or not use, from the partnership on its web sites or on-air. At least five such partnerships must be maintained for at least three years. » Full Story

Milwaukee's Best No Longer
by Jon Entine, The American
April 29, 2011

A brewing ethical brouhaha at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel illustrates the hazards of politicized science reporting.  In an era of partisan journalism, some have presumed that at least one area of reporting, science, was insulated from blatant bias.  After all, there are facts, and it’s presumably easy to identify when data is being cooked.  But that's naive, and a brewing ethical brouhaha at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel underscores how the public can be short-changed….  » Full Story

Chronicle responds after Obama Administration punishes reporter for using multimedia, then claims they didn't
by Phil Bronstein, "Bronstein at Large," San Francisco Chronicle
April 28, 2011

Update: In a pants-on-fire moment, the White House press office today denied anyone there had issued threats to remove Carla Marinucci and possibly other Hearst reporters from the press pool covering the President in the Bay Area.  Chronicle editor Ward Bushee called the press office on its fib:

"Sadly, we expected the White House to respond in this manner based on our experiences yesterday.  It is not a truthful response.  It follows a day of off-the-record exchanges with key people in the White House communications office who told us they would remove our reporter, then threatened retaliation to Chronicle and Hearst reporters if we reported on the ban, and then recanted to say our reporter might not be removed after all.  

The Chronicle's report is accurate.  

If the White House has indeed decided not to ban our reporter, we would like an on-the-record notice that she will remain the San Francisco print pool reporter."  » Full Story