Dozens of media reform activists gathered at the Massachusetts state house to take a stand against mega-media companies like News. Corp. and call for an investigation and Congressional hearings into whether News Corp.’s criminal behavior has spread from Britain to the United States. The rally was organized by the new grassroots advocacy organization, the Boston Media Reform Network.
Wielding signs with slogans like “Media for the people, not for profit,” we talked with passersby, held signs up at the busy intersection of Beacon and Park Streets outside the state house, rallied around speeches, and walked the sidewalks outside of the Boston Fox TV station, WFXT-25.
consolidation is even more pervasive than we realized. When Free Press launched
last month, the site’s interactive map featured 80 markets where two or more
stations entered into resource-sharing agreements and, in essence, merged their
news operations. These agreements may not technically qualify as mergers under
FCC rules because broadcasters claim they are not transferring control of the license,
but the effect is the same: increased
profits for station owners at the expense of competition and independent, local
The Federal Communications Commission’s ex parte procedures allow companies, advocacy groups and real people to visit with FCC staff or write to the agency on important topics, provided they disclose publicly what was said in those meetings and filings. The ex parte process may seem obscure to most people, but these meetings have a significant impact on FCC decisionmaking.
For most of the twentieth century, AT&T held a monopoly over telephone service in the United States. National sentiment at the time could best be characterized by comedienne Lily Tomlin’s puckish character Ernestine, an employee of the “Phone Company,” who famously taunted audiences: “The next time you complain about your phone service, why don't you try using two cups with a string?
Major media companies don't often like to use the "M" word (monopoly) to describe their competition. After all, it might draw
attention to their own vast media holdings. But this week, Nexstar Broadcasting
Group, Inc. couldn't hold back, and flung the word against Granite Broadcasting
Corporation -- along with an antitrust lawsuit.
year for TV news. The
average television station is now airing an average of 5.18 hours of
local news – an increase of 18 minutes from last year – according
to an RTDNA/Hofstra University annual
let's not prematurely celebrate this increase in quantity without
first asking: Is anyone measuring the quality of this news coverage?
Do additional minutes on the news clock actually make viewers more
informed? Are TV stations using this added time to air important,
ground-breaking news stories?