FTC convening journalism workshop


The Federal Trade Commission is accepting comments until 11/6/09 which it will incorporate into its planning for a wide-ranging look at the plight of the journalism industry over the course of two days, 12/1-2/09.
Everybody has a stake in the news, and the FTC wants input from everybody. The December workshop – agenda to be determined – will include “journalists, editors, owners, and other representatives of news organizations, online advertisers, new media representatives (such as bloggers and local news Web sites), consumer advocates, academics, economists, and government officials.”

From a release, here are the questions FTC intends to consider:

* How is the Internet changing the way consumers access news and how   advertising dollars are spent?

* What economic challenges do news organizations face today?

* What cost-cutting measures have news organizations considered? Which have they adopted, and how have they affected the provision of news to consumers?

* What collaborations are news organizations undertaking or considering to deal with financial challenges brought about by the Internet?

* How is the Internet changing the way news organizations and others research, write, edit, produce, and distribute news?

* What innovative forms of journalism have emerged due to the Internet?

* What are the business models, including the revenue sources, for journalism on the Internet?

* How are news organizations likely to compete for audience and advertising in the future?

* Are new or changed government policies needed to support optimal amounts and types of journalism, including public affairs coverage?

* Should the tax code be modified to provide special status or tax breaks to all or certain types of news organizations?

* Do current U.S. copyright protections provide enough incentive to create news content?

* Should the federal government provide additional funding for news organizations?

RBR-TVBR observation: A convergence of events has shattered the business model for journalism – newfound and ubiquitous competition from the internet, the instantaneous availability of breaking news, the consumer expectation of free internet content and an absolutely miserable economy.

Some of these conditions with change over time, but others will not.

We suppose the more people we have looking into this problem and sharing ideas, the better. But we never thought of journalism as being part of FTC’s turf, and we will be mighty surprised indeed if on December 3rd we have a new plan for journalism going forward.