FTC looks to ‘reinvent journalism’
Government wants to increase revenues to news organizations and address ‘emerging gaps in news coverage’
Original post June 10, 2010 | Modified June 11, 2010
Editor's Note: Scroll to the end of this story for reader comments.
The Federal Trade Commission staff will be holding a roundtable discussion on June 15 to discuss potential policy recommendations "to support the reinvention of journalism."
In May 2009, the Federal Trade Commission announced a project to consider the challenges faced by journalism in the Internet age. Aimed primarily at propping up newspapers, the FTC is considering possible actions, including direct or indirect government funding; to address ways in which to increase revenues to news organizations; ways to innovate so that journalism is accomplished at lower costs; address emerging gaps in news coverage, proposals to contribute to more and better journalism; address how susceptible proposals are to creating bias – in terms of news platforms or government interference.
The FTC will be discussing changes in laws and new taxes to create potential new revenue sources to generate money for the government to subsidize journalism-related projects. Ideas suggested include new taxes on consumers and businesses including a 5% sales tax on consumer electronics, a 2% sales tax on advertising, a spectrum tax on broadcast medium, and an ISP cell phone tax for internet users.
Another idea is to establish a "journalism" division of AmeriCorps to place young people with nonprofits to get training and do public service work and substantially reorienting public radio and television to provide significant local news reporting in every community served by public stations and their Web sites.
Click on this link for more information on the proposals the FTC will be considering: Federal Trade Commission (FCC) Discussion Draft (PDF)
Friday, June 11, 2010:
"I have been reading the FTC Staff Discussion Draft released today, I believe. This is only 47 pages and is really quite amazing. Go here: http://www.ftc.gov/opp/workshops/news/jun15/docs/new-staff-discussion.pdf
Journalism is my college educated field, having receiving a Journalism Degree in 1974. We were the "cause oriented journalists" at that time, always convinced their was a "cause" we could pursue related to doing our journalist's job. I must have lost my way becoming a conservative and businessperson.
I could not imagine how journalism has changed in the 36 years since! And the ease of access to a world of information through the internet is stunning. Through free enterprise, creativity, risk-taking--we have access to more information and ideas and news than we ever imagined.
That is, in part, what makes this FTC Staff Document so interesting, and frightening.
It is so clear it is a poorly disguised attempt to regulate and control the future of how information is delivered in this country.
• Through a series of policy guidelines, newspapers and other MSM could be restructured and receive a variety of tax "incentives" from the government to survive. The draft suggests different types of organizations could be created to provide more outlets--hybrid organizations, benefit and flexible purpose corporations, L3C's--a for-profit business entity established to advance a charitable or educational purpose, etc. to deliver media content, which would probably be licensed by the government.
• A "National Fund For Local News" would be created through many, many types of taxes to ensure local news content is being delivered to all us poor suckers who live in the hinter-lands of America.
• A Young Journalism Division could be created within Americorps to sent all those young journalists out to dig for news across America--funded by the taxpayers.
• A Citizenship News Voucher would be instituted so all of us happy comrades could designate an amount on our federal tax return that we wanted targeted into the "news" business. A guaranteed revenue stream into a government controlled/regulated/licensed news organization.
• Expand the Corporation For Public Broadcasting including National Public Radio. The document clearly states that a recent poll pegs NPR and CPB to be the most trusted news organization in America today. Guess they didnt' talk with me.
This is a very interesting Policy "Draft". In summary, legislation, regulation, licensing, taxes, control, perpetuate failed institutions controlled by unions with left-wing oriented management, stifle free enterprise, new ideas, creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit."