The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council noted its long-standing support for the cross-ownership rules as a means to provide diversity of viewpoint in the nation’s news media. But it said it is necessary to take into account changing technology, and restated that it’s time to look at letting the rules go.
For starters, MMTC has argued that existing television-newspaper combinations are almost entirely devoid on impact on minority ownership – the percentages of minority ownership are going to remain about the same regardless of whether the cross-ownership rules are tightened, loosened or kept the same.
MMTC does see a very important role for newspapers in the news media mix and recognizes the historic challenges facing that medium. In essence, anything that can help newspapers thrive or even just survive is worth a try.
In an article from Marcella Gadson and Kenneth Mallory, arguments put forth by the Newspaper Association of America were cited. NAA noted the FCC’s own study that cross-owned newspapers put out almost 50% local news than standalones, and cross-owned television stations have almost 30% more state and local political coverage than standalones.
They also are able to enrich their web presence by sharing print and video content.
Economies of scale enabled by combined operations are also seen as a gateway to the ability to invest in improved journalistic content.
MMTC concluded, “As the FCC looks to implement rules that reflect the realities of our new communications industry, it should consider all viable solutions to assist newspapers and ensure that newspaper journalism continues to serve democracy by providing diverse and locally tailored content and information to all communities.”