The FCC – Newspapers going flat update

In a very controversial move, the FCC voted to remove the ban on broadcast/newspaper cross-ownership. If you haven’t heard, I recommend checking it out. I have two quick comments on this decision:

First, it is getting harder and harder to draw the line between the media industries. Take blogs for example; in most ways they are similar to a newspaper, but video content and feeds can easily be added. Can a broadcast company have a website that publishes news? Or is that too close to having an electronic ‘newspaper’? Can a newspaper have a website with video content or things that typically fall under ‘broadcast’ categories? The line was already getting blurry, although it hadn’t caused any serious problems yet (that I’m aware of).

Second, we discussed in my Financial Aspects of Publishing class that many newspaper companies are merging to limit the number of reporters they need to pay, since they aren’t earning as much any more for their product. This is would allow broadcast news companies to further merge with newspaper companies or radio companies. I know its wishful thinking, but with multiple budgets is possible to hire better reporters and allow them to go more in depth, isn’t it? I think this is probably what Kevin Martin had in mind. I’m skeptical about its likelihood but I’m willing to recognize it as a possibility.

All in all, I’m not as opposed to the decision as many others out there seem to be. I think that something needs to be done; I agree with many of the problems they see in todays media; but I don’t think that fighting change will fix the problems. The question is coming up with the right solution. I’m sure the FCC is open to suggestions – any one have any?

I’d love to hear comments on the decision that were more analytical and less bashing.

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