FCC unveils agenda on noncommercial’s digital role


The date is 4/30/10, the time is 9AM-5PM, and the workshop session is entitled, “Public and Other Noncommercial Media in the Digital Era.” It’s all part of the FCC’s ongoing look at “The Future of Media and the Information Needs of Communities.” The workshop will convene in Washington DC at FCC headquarters.

The topics of discussion will include:

* Evolving business and organizational structures of public and other noncommercial media entities and the ways these are impacted by government policy;

* The ways in which public and other noncommercial media entities do and could contribute to the information needs of communities across multiple platforms, focusing in particular on journalism, cultural, and educational content;

* The possibilities for greater collaboration among noncommercial media entities such as public broadcasters, PEG channels, noncommercial web-based outlets, and other new media entities;

* The role of public and other noncommercial media in serving the information needs of the underserved, including minorities, children, the disabled, and the economically disadvantaged;

* The infrastructure needs and assets of public and other noncommercial media in delivering information to communities;

* Innovative uses of social media, gaming, Internet applications, citizen journalism, mobile technologies, and other technological and organizational innovations; and

* The possibilities for new kinds of noncommercial media networks and associated funding models.

RBR-TVBR observation: Non-profit news organizations are susceptible to the same conflicts as commercial news organizations. In each case, there is a clear and present danger that the reporting that sees the light of day will be tainted when the topic brushes too close to the source of the organization’s funding, whether it comes from public interest groups, underwriters, the government or commercial sponsors. Do non-coms have a place in the news universe? Absolutely. But it will mean nothing if there is not also a strong, financially viable free market news component with no ties whatsoever to the government.