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JA Overview: Free Press Media Reform Denver conference

April 2, 2013 in Blog, Policy

Lisa and Nicole

JA’s Lisa Skube (left) and Nicole Staudinger at 2012 SXSW braving torrential rain. We’ll be taking two umbrellas to Denver. Credit: Lisa Skube

Journalism Accelerator

This week, the JA heads to the Media Reform Conference in Denver, brought to us by the good folks at Free Press. The JA gets to be one of the hundreds of participants joining with “Award-winning artists. Hollywood luminaries. Visionary activists. Veteran journalists. [and] D.C. heavyweights.” In addition to the Free Press Media Reform Conference that runs April 4th – 7th in Denver, Journalism that Matters will host “Journalism is Dead; Long Live Journalism” to discuss and consider fresh possibilities for the Front Range news ecosystem. Here’s a useful post from Patrick Kitano featured on Street Fight today focusing on the JTM Denver conference in which he outlines what he hopes to learn while there.

This post is a quick overview of some of the things JA is stoked to do while in Denver at the Free Press event, luminaries we hope to meet, and things we can’t wait to learn more about! We welcome your comments on what you hope to take away, or bring, to the upcoming gathering of great minds and disruptive discussion. Read the rest of this entry →

Free Press

September 21, 2011 in Craft, Education, Policy, Resources

Free Press is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, quality journalism and universal access to communications.

Our Purpose

Media play a huge role in our lives. TV, radio, the Internet, movies, books and newspapers inform and influence our ideas, opinions, values and beliefs. They shape our understanding of the world and give us the information we need to hold our leaders accountable. But our media system is failing.

This failure isn’t natural. For far too long, corrupt media policy has been made behind closed doors in the public’s name but without our informed consent. If we want better media, we need better media policies. If we want better policies, we must engage more people in policy debates and demand better media.

That’s why Free Press was created. We’re working to make media reform a bona fide political issue in America. Powerful telecommunications, cable and broadcasting companies have plenty of lobbyists to do their bidding. We’re making sure the public has a seat at the table, and we’re building a movement to make sure the media serve the public interest.

Free Press believes that media reform is crucial not just for creating better news and entertainment, but to advancing every issue you care about. A vibrant, diverse and independent media is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy.” Source: Freepress.net

Free Press Campaigns:

Save the News

“SaveTheNews.org, a project of Free Press, is leading the search for new public policies to promote a robust free press in America.

SaveTheNews.org is a campaign to fight for better media in our communities. We are working to support innovative, quality journalism; to create a first-class public media system; to promote diverse and local media ownership that serves our communities; and to involve the American people in the process.

Journalism is a vital public good — not just another commodity. The Founders understood that an informed and engaged public was crucial to a healthy democracy; that’s why the press enjoys special protection in the First Amendment. However, the modern media culture bears only a faint resemblance to the vigorous and diligent press the Founders envisioned. The challenge before us is to identify the structures and policies that can help rebuild our media.” Source: SaveTheNews.org

 

Change the Channels

“Media consolidation is a dangerous problem, reducing the number of independent sources of news—that’s why there are rules to control it. But media companies have devised a way around those rules, and are pursuing profits at the expense of the communities they’re supposed to serve. “Covert consolidation” takes many forms, but the results are the same: Media companies pad their bottom line by sacrificing local journalism, competition and diversity. In many cases, one news team produces a single newscast for multiple stations. The result: less news about your community and fewer journalists holding our leaders accountable.

Worst of all, stations claim they don’t have to report these deals to anyone.

At changethechannels.org, you can join with others in your community to demand change at the local level. Help uncover these dirty deals; submit video and information to our national database; and take action to pressure local broadcasters. Together we’ll build a case against covert consolidation that the Federal Communications Commission won’t be able to ignore.” Source: SaveTheNews.org

 

Save the Internet

“The SavetheInternet.com Coalition is two million everyday people who have banded together with thousands of nonprofit organizations, businesses and bloggers to protect Internet freedom.

The Coalition believes that the Internet is a crucial engine for economic growth, civic engagement and free speech. We’re working together to preserve Net Neutrality, the First Amendment of the Internet, which ensures that the Internet remains open to new ideas, innovation and voices.

Because of Net Neutrality, the Internet has always been a level playing field. People everywhere can have their voices heard by thousands, even millions, of others online. The SavetheInternet.com Coalition wants our leaders in Washington to pass strong Net Neutrality protections. We’re calling on the president, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to stand with the public and keep the Internet open.” Source: savetheinternet.com

Josh Stearns Talks Independent Voices in a Consolidating World

March 28, 2011 in Blog, Interview

Josh Stearns

Josh Stearns

An interview with Free Press’s Josh Stearns by JA’s Tram Whitehurst

The Federal Communications Commission in January approved the merger of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider, with NBC-Universal. Stearns argues that the merger will transform American media, consolidating more control over more platforms in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations.

There are three important considerations for news producers and consumers in the deal, Stearns said.

First, Comcast’s agreement to help form news partnerships at the local level is not likely to take shape, he said. In a December 2010 letter to the FCC chairman, Comcast agreed to support partnerships in five cities between local nonprofit news sites and television stations for up to three years. Comcast specifically highlighted the partnership between Voice of San Diego and KNSD, San Diego’s NBC station, as an example.

“This was a last ditch attempt to win approval from regulators,” Stearns said. “It was primarily a symbolic gesture.”

Stearns said Comcast made no promises it would use the content created by the partnerships, and that there are no real assurances that the partnerships will even emerge. He also thinks it’s naive for Comcast to assert that it will create these partnerships within the next year.

“Building collaborative work takes time,” Stearns said.

Stearns also thinks the merger will have a negative impact on independent producers.

The merger will squeeze out already struggling independent, diverse voices,” Stearns said. “We’ve shown over and over that media consolidation decreases diversity in the media, hurts jobs and consumers and leads to more junk news, sensationalism and celebrity gossip — rather than real news and debate we need in our communities.”

Finally, Stearns said the merger relates to net neutrality and the future of the Internet. He said the FCC has little power to enforce net neutrality, calling last year’s regulations “toothless.”

Who controls the Internet is of vital importance,” Stearns said. “Comcast now has a huge reason to promote NBC content.”