• Happy Sunshine Week!

    March 12, 2012

    Welcome to Sunshine Week — a time to stand up for the importance of open government and freedom of information. And what better time than the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, when winter shadows are receding and the sun begins to usher in new life.

    But as we all know, the metaphor is aspirational. In reality, darkness still obscures information that the public needs to participate fully in our democracy. That’s why, in honor of Sunshine Week, Free Press volunteers all over the country will be shining their own lights on their local media outlets. Starting today and continuing all week long, our volunteers will be paying visits to their local TV stations to inspect their public files.

  • The Misinformation Machine

    March 8, 2012

    Dirty politics is a growth industry with few happy customers. In the run-up to Super Tuesday, television viewers nationwide had to endure an onslaught of negative and deceptive political ads.

  • Broken Promises

    March 7, 2012

    Actions speak louder than words.

    We see this when our children promise to share — and then hoard their Halloween candy, refusing their angelic parents even the smallest Snickers. And this dynamic really hits home when leaders deliver principled speeches — and then neglect to follow through on their promises.

    In 2008, President Obama spoke out against media consolidation and for more diverse ownership of radio and television stations. "Rules promoting the public interest and diversity in media ownership," he said, "are too important for the FCC to accept an agenda supported by the Washington special interests."

  • Distortions, Manipulations and Lies: Oh My!

    March 6, 2012

    It might be hard to believe, but sometimes political ads are chock full of distortions, manipulations and boldfaced lies.

    But every once in a while a broadcaster shows some muscle and pulls a dishonest ad.

  • Nonprofit News Leaders Look to the Future

    March 5, 2012

    Even though nonprofit news organizations have been a vital part of our media for decades, in the last five years we’ve seen a rapid expansion in the noncommercial journalism sector. Coming at a moment of profound transition in the news business, these nonprofit startups are learning the ropes even as they are changing the rules. As such, they are constantly negotiating a complex set of tensions that push and pull them toward the future. They are trying to be nimble but sustainable, trying to push the envelope but not leave their communities behind, trying to burn brightly without burning out.

  • On Gawker on Sorkin: Looping in the Brave New Media

    March 2, 2012

    A few weeks ago, Gawker ran a scathing critique of Aaron Sorkin's upcoming HBO series The Newsroom, which uses Sorkin's well-loved penchant for heroic simultaneous prognosticators/perambulators to wax nostalgic about a time when journalism was pure.

  • Murdoch's Date With Justice

    February 29, 2012

    A legal net is closing around media mogul Rupert Murdoch. On Monday a top investigator in London reported that senior News Corp. employees authorized hundreds of bribes to police officers and other government officials. And just this morning his disgraced son James stepped down from his role as executive chairman of News International.

  • Public Television: We're #1!

    February 28, 2012

    For the ninth year in a row, public television has ranked as the most trusted institution in America, trumping all other forms of media, the courts and the federal government.

  • There's No Such Thing as the Tooth Fairy --- or Data Hogs

    February 27, 2012

    Let’s not sugarcoat it: The wireless industry is a big racket.

    Here’s one reason why: AT&T and Verizon are slowing down — or throttling — Internet access on smartphones, supposedly to manage congestion on their networks. Yet a new study supports what many of us have been saying all along: These companies aren’t throttling to save bandwidth.

    They’re doing it to rip us off.

  • Death, Taxes and Nonprofit News

    February 23, 2012

    They say nothing is certain except death and taxes. Last weekend, those two things went hand in hand when the Chicago News Cooperative — a major nonprofit journalism organization — was forced to suspend operations, thanks in part to the IRS.


People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good