Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age   [open pdf - 4MB]

"This report is intended both to inform the broad public debate and help FCC [Federal Communications Commission] Commissioners assess current rules. It is divided into three sections. In Part One, we assess the 'media and information landscape,' ultimately providing diagnoses on which sectors are healthy and which are not. Part One is divided into four sections. The report looks first at commercial media sectors (TV, radio, Internet, newspapers, etc.) and how well each medium is currently ferreting out and presenting civically important information and news. It then examines nonprofit media, including public broadcasting, nonprofit websites, state public affairs networks (SPANs), low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations, and other nonprofit entities. Next, it looks at ways that consumers get information that are not reliant on journalistic intermediaries. We focus particularly on libraries, emergency alert systems, digital literacy efforts in schools, and the crucially important move by governments to become more transparent. In the final chapters of Part One, we step back from the platform-by-platform analysis and look at key cross-cutting, cross-platform trends. [...] In Part Two, we look at the current policy and regulatory landscape, considering some of the main laws and regulations--including those issued by the FCC - that directly and indirectly shape the news media. This should be understandable to the broad public, not just to a small group of communication law experts. In Part Three, we make recommendations. Some are directed to the FCC, some to the broader community of policymakers, philanthropists, and citizens."

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