FCC Hearing: Followup Story Assignments for Real World Journalists

Posted by Scott - October 15, 2007 (entry 576)

Dear reporters and editors -- near and far,

Basically, the major media were (was?) shamed into covering the Federal Communications Commission's public hearing on media ownership and diversity that was held in Chicago at Rainbow/PUSH headquarters on September 20th. But follow-up is everything folks! Media issues are not something you report on only if the entire FCC is in town at Operation PUSH. So we now ask you to please continue doing your jobs by looking into not just ownership diversity and those pesky Tribune ownership waivers, but also some of the more specific related concerns and possible solutions aired at the hearing:

ballot box (1) It was suggested by a panelist at the public hearing that most of the trustees on the boards of directors at broadcast stations should be publicly elected, like judges. Our airwaves, our boards.

(2) Employees of the Chicago Tribune company will become part owners of the company under new owner Sam Zell's plan to take the company private. It was pointed out to us at the hearing that Tribune employees therefore will deserve a representative voice on the Tribune company board of trustees.

(3) At personal risk, a local news employee revealed to us in her public comment her concerns about race discrimination and sexual harassment at her workplace.

(4) We were told that the local news departments at CBS and Telemundo in particular are shrinking and being stretched far too thin.

revolving door (5) Of the five Commissioners, four are white men and one is a white woman. Slightly less self-evident is the fact that the FCC has too often served as a gold-plated revolving career door for the industry.

The five orphaned stories above are looking for good homes. Any takers?

P.S. The Tribune Company should be required to sell its excess media holdings to minority controlled local concerns.

Complete hearing audio: here. Speech: Text and audio of my two-minute public comment speech to the FCC (windows media audio). Radio interview: I gave a recap of the hearing on Paul Riismandel's "Mediageek" radio program out of WEFT-FM in Champaign/Urban. Article: Part of my two-minute speech to the FCC was quoted in an article by Stephanie Gadlin in the Louisiana Weekly here.

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This entry was posted by Scott Sanders, a co-founder to date of seven Chicago area media and democracy activist groups.
Sanders has worked for long stretches in social science research, in the creation of video documentaries, as a librarian, and also in movie theater management.
You can link to Scott's combined curriculum vitae, timeline, and resume here.



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