Resources Index

An examination of “the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media” - and the potential impact on democracy.

Report: Mapping Digital Media – United States

The media environment in the United States is undergoing a significant transition. Terrestrial, over-the-air television has shrunk to less than 15 percent of households, due to consumers’ embrace of pay-TV services including cable, satellite. Broadcast network news from ABC, CBS and NBC that once commanded an overwhelming share of the television audience each lost between one and two million viewers over the past five years, as part of an overall decline in audience size of almost 20 percent since 2005. Traditional print newspapers daily circulation fell by over 31 percent between 2003 and 2009….

The digital transition has also created new opportunities for innovative forms of investigative journalism while undermining the economic foundation that has supported traditional producers of investigative and local public accountability journalism. The net effect remains unclear.

In this context, this report calls for policies to promote greater media diversity and protect and promote the public’s voice through the enforcement of open internet rules, the allocation of spectrum to unlicensed and other innovative uses, an expansion of the universal service fund to broadband, and the broadening of entities that can receive it. In order to strengthen commercial media, the newly proposed public interest obligation reporting rules need to be implemented. Increased public and philanthropic funding for both public and community media is needed…” Source: Open Society Institute

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