Our local media outlets are being
stripped for parts. Aided by decades of bad policymaking, the large companies that control most of the broadcast outlets across the
country are laying off local DJs, shuttering local newsrooms and inching ever
closer toward creating monopolies in local marketplaces. The more media outlets
consolidate, the more our diverse local media is being replaced by faceless,
automated infotainment. If it’s true that the media influences and shapes our
culture, then we’re headed down a path to uniformity, where cheap centralized
content replaces diverse local voices and quality programming.
Tomorrow you might be wondering who turned
out the lights. Don’t worry — it will simply be one of the biggest days in the
history of the open Internet.
Thousands of websites — including
Wikipedia, reddit, BoingBoing, FreePress.net and SavetheInternet.com — will go dark to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP
Act (PIPA), bills in the House and Senate that could open the door to
widespread censorship online.
Earlier this week we pointed to a Media Matters for America study showing that most of
the major networks — ABC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC — have failed to cover
opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
Online piracy is definitely a problem. But
these bills would do little to solve it. They’re the latest effort in Hollywood’s
Sisyphean quest to close the open Internet — and slow down the kinds of online
innovation that threaten the old-school media masters.
study on mobile donors found that charitable donations made via cellphones
have jumped in recent years. The report from the Berkman Center for Internet
& Society and the Pew Research Center analyzed the “Text to Haiti” campaign
that followed the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The study shows that most text donors contributed on impulse
as news about the campaign spread via friend networks. “Three quarters of these
donors contributed using their phones on the same day they heard about the
campaign,” the study notes, “and a similar number say they typically make text
message donations without conducting much in-depth research beforehand.”
last Friday journalists and protesters gathered
outside the home of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to speak out in
defense of the First Amendment. The event drew more police than participants,
which only reinforced the message the group hoped to send regarding the NYPD’s
heavy-handed approach to journalists covering Occupy Wall Street.
Online Piracy Act has sparked an important debate among journalists and within journalism organizations about their role as advocates for and against policies that
impact the future of news. Of course, journalists have long been important
advocates for policies like the shield law and the Freedom of Information Act
and have been staunch defenders against incursions on freedom of the press.
However, in terms of some of the most important media policy discussions, many
journalism organizations have been silent.
may have heard about the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Simply put, it's a bill in the House that could open the door to widespread Internet censorship.
to the bill has reached a boiling point. Millions of activists, hundreds of
startups, social media sites like Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter and even big
companies like Google, Yahoo! and eBay have joined with Free Press and other
Internet advocacy groups against it.
We all remember the 1980's and its awesome fashion and music. While
some may want to revisit those aspects of the past, I don't think anyone wants
to return to the era of the cable and Ma Bell monopolies.
Opening up communications markets was the purpose of
the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The Act was designed to help phone companies
get into the pay-TV business, and cable companies get into the phone business.
Yet after a series of regulatory blunders, this promise of increased
competition and lower prices has become a distant memory, like 7-Up Gold. And
the situation is only getting worse.
If you flip on a local television station and watch for an hour or so, you're likely to see at least one: a political ad that attacks a candidate for public office.
If you live in any of the "battleground states," you'll see up to 12 political ads an hour.
Viewers in Iowa fell under a barrage of these ads leading up to Tuesday's caucuses. This on-air onslaught offers the rest of us a preview of what television viewing will be like as Election Day 2012 draws closer.