Advocating for media diversity, good jobs and the survival of quality journalism, TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer cautioned the FCC this week against lifting what's left of the ban on cross-ownership of a community's newspapers and broadcast media.
Merging newsrooms and sharing content among once-independent papers, radio and TV stations and now Internet sites does not serve the public, Lunzer said, testifying at an FCC hearing in Tampa, Fla. Similar to what's happening in many markets, one company already controls a third of Tampa's media and collectively four companies control 73 percent of it.
"Most consolidations are being done for efficiencies and that means less content, fewer journalists and less diversity in both content and staff," Lunzer said.
He said Guild members understand better than anyone that their industry and their jobs are changing, and have embraced high-tech training and efforts to find new ways to fund newspapers and news-gathering operations.
"Experimenting with mixtures of media, like those being discussed here today, is important," Lunzer said. "But if all the FCC does is lift the cross-ownership ban entirely, it will have done nothing to preserve or promote quality information. In fact, it will speed up the demise of journalism while preserving a cash flow for some."