Sparse Turnout For FCC Tampa Cross-Ownership Workshop
April 21, 2010 at 4:31 AM (PT)
The FCC heard commentary from both sides of the cross-ownership debate at its workshop in TAMPA TUESDAY, but the public forum drew only about 35 members of the public, reports the TAMPA TRIBUNE's WALT BELCHER. BELCHER says that some of the 15 members of the public who spoke went off-topic to campaign for more low-power FM stations and more cable access channels.
The POYNTER INSTITUTE's KAREN DUNLAP, whose non-profit owns the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, told the panel that "the matter of cross-ownership of media bears watching, but it is not the critical issue in national communications. Yes, huge corporations from traditional media, huge new media companies or non-media groups have the potential to grasp key outlets in many markets, but the incentive has been reduced and opportunities for other channels have been increased. I urge the FCC to continue to examine how relaxed cross-ownership might be accomplished without significant erosion to independent, locally produced coverage of community issues."
The NEWSPAPER GUILD's BERNARD LUNZER asked, "Will cross-platform products that roll up current broadcast and print be the salvation? There is no evidence of this and all current consolidations seem to point in the opposite direction. Most consolidations are being done for efficiencies and that means less content, fewer journalists and less diversity in both content and staff." He suggested "vouchers to citizens to pay for media of their choice, tax credits for working journalists or tax credits for employing journalists" and a government "endowment" for non-profit journalism, as well as making search companies and online aggregators pay content providers for the privilege of linking to the articles.
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