Does Media Ownership Still Matter

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism just released their annual State of the Media, a massive report that outlines major content, audience and business trends across news media.

As more and more content has moved online, and the sources for news and information expand and multiply, many have wondered if it matters who owns our media anymore. Pew’s 2010 report is a startling reminder of just how much sway Big Media has over just about everything we watch, read and hear – even in the digital age. Continue reading

Too Big Not To Fail

About five months ago, when the first of the big national banks began to buckle under their own weight, fanning the flames of the already smoldering economic crisis, a new idiom was born: “Too big to fail.”

Phrases like this are pure marketing genius. Meant to hint at fault (“oops, we probably should have been watching those banks a little more carefully”) and, at the same time, to reassure (“but don’t worry, we’ll fix it”) – what they do best is focus attention on one kind of problem while concealing another. Hidden behind the platitude of companies being “too big to fail” is the fact that our country – indeed, our democracy – is threatened by companies that are too big not to fail.

Over the past year, the newspapers, radio stations and TV channels that have been reporting on the economic crisis have been experiencing that crisis firsthand. In between the headlines of bank bailouts and auto company loans, the news of a news industry in crisis has been pushed below the fold. But while the crisis in our nation’s newsrooms has not topped lawmakers’ economic policy agendas it has been no less destructive to the national interest. Continue reading

Cross-Ownership: Less Local News, More Layoffs

FCC chairman Kevin Martin and his Big Media buddies like to suggest that media consolidation creates a stronger media and allows one company to serve the local community better through “synergy” and “efficiencies of scale.”

They suggest that by leveraging the combined resources of media conglomerates and local papers they can bring a new level of service to local communities.

But using the FCC’s own data, we’ve shown that allowing one company to own a major daily newspaper and broadcast station actually decreases the amount of local news in a given community. And this week, one media giant has proven that cross-ownership also leads to fewer jobs. Continue reading