I was just reading this interesting Broadcasting & Cable interview with Steven Waldman, senior advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who is heading up the FCC’s new effort on “The Future of Media and the Information Needs of Communities in a Digital Age.” The FCC’s Future of Media website says that “The goal of this project: to help ensure that all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information that will enable them to enrich their families, communities and democracy.” In the interview with B&C, Waldman promises that “we are not in the business of providing bailouts or encouraging bailouts to particular companies or industries,”and that “we can absolutely, definitively say that we have no plans to take over the media, and we have no plans to reinstitute the fairness doctrine while I am at it.” I’m certainly glad to hear that. As I’ve pointed out here many times before (1, 2, 3, 4), the prospect of greater government involvement in the news business raises profoundly troubling implications for an independent press and the First Amendment.
Anyway, I’ll be debating these issues with Mr. Waldman and others next week at this Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy event on, “The Crisis in Journalism: What Should the Government Do?” It will be held on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:30am at the Newseum (Knight Conference Center) located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave here in Washington, DC. Breakfast will be served. (You can RSVP please by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org) Here’s the event description:
This round table discussion will bring together academics, government officials and industry leaders to consider the future of the journalism industry. Specifically, what does a future economic model for the journalism industry look like? What is the role of new media in modern journalism? How can news papers integrate web-based news into their business models? How can government entities, particularly the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, help to form a sustainable 21st century model for journalism in the United States.
Mark MacCarthy of Georgetown Univ. will moderate the panel, which includes me, Steve Waldman, Andy Schwartzman of the Media Access Project, and Susan DeSanti, Director of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. (The FTC has also been investigating whether journalism will survive the Internet age and what government should do about it.)