Last week, the Chronicle of Philanthropyreported
on a troubling trend that has many of the most innovative new journalism
nonprofits stuck in a bureaucratic black hole at the IRS.
The rise of local nonprofit news
organizations has been heralded as one of the most promising signs in the news
industry’s rapid transformation over the last four years. Veteran reporters,
tech-savvy journalists and citizens are starting vibrant local journalism
nonprofits to fill the gaps commercial media are leaving behind as they
consolidate and slash newsroom jobs.
In its relentless
effort to take over competitor T-Mobile, AT&T has been dangling the promise
of better service and greater access to broadband Internet to rural Americans
as an incentive for policymakers to support and approve the $39 billion deal.
But in eastern Kentucky, activists for rural broadband aren’t holding their
breath and waiting for AT&T to make good on this promise.
The last time I scanned through my local radio dial, I heard
the same pop song, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” playing simultaneously on
three different radio stations. If a couple of senators and their friends in
the broadcast industry have their way, soon we could hear the same song on six
or more stations.
On NPR’s Morning
Edition this Wednesday, reporter Elizabeth Blair took
a hard look at the ways in which advertisers are flooding our media and
having more and more of a say in the content we see between the commercial breaks. New tools and technology have given
consumers more options for skipping the ads that have quietly come to fill as
much as 10 to 15 minutes of a half-hour program. With TiVo and online
streaming, people can increasingly choose what commercials they see — or skip
the ads altogether.
TV journalist David Marash knows the news.
is a former correspondent for ABC’s Nightline
and won Emmys for his reporting on the Oklahoma City bombing and the explosion
of TWA Flight 800. He was an anchor for Al Jazeera English from 2006–2008. He’s
spent a good 50 years in the business.
also means Marash knows when the networks are trying to pass something off as
news that isn’t news. He calls it “news whiz”: Like Cheez Whiz, it’s an
embarrassing substitute for the real thing.
Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps will be the first to tell you that his own agency needs to do more to improve the country’s media system. Last Monday, he told a room full of Pittsburgh residents that a key part of the remedy is citizen action.
“If we are to ever have media of the people, by the people and for the people, you need to take this fight on,” Copps told the crowd at a town hall-style dialogue sponsored by Free Press. “The stakes could not be higher ... If we are denied quality news and information, if we are denied in-depth investigative reporting and if we are denied a media environment wherein independent voices can speak and be heard, then we won’t be able to sustain an