On October 3, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission held a public hearing in Phoenix to explore the FCC report "Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age." The report describes tremendous innovation in the media landscape and also identifies critical gaps, including a shortage of local news reporting. Additionally, it offers recommendations for government, nonprofit players and entrepreneurs.
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University hosted the hearing in the studios of Eight, Arizona PBS. Eight produced the television component of the event and broadcast the hearing live on Eight World (8.3).
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Commissioner Michael Copps, Chief of FCC Media Bureau William Lake and report author Steve Waldman heard testimony from a panel of media experts on the future of American media. Journalists, academics, businesses, and the public discussed innovating and strengthening news and information-gathering and reporting to meet citizen needs. To read the report, visit fcc.gov/info-needs-communities.
FCC Hearing on the Future of Media
Christopher Callahan: Ladies and gentlemen, we'll be starting very shortly. If you have cell phones, please turn them off so they do not ring while we are on the air. We would appreciate that. We will be starting in just a moment. Please turn cell phones off. Thank you.
Narrator: FCC Hearing on the Future of Media: The Information Needs of
Communities. Support for this program has been provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Christopher Callahan: Good morning, and welcome. My name is Chris Callahan. I am Dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. It is an honor and a privilege to be hosting today's Federal Communications Commission hearing on the information needs of communities. This morning, the commission will be hearing from media experts from around the country, exploring the key findings and recommendations of an FCC report produced by Mr. Steven Waldman and his commission colleagues — the most comprehensive look at national media policy in a generation.
Today is the latest, but by no means the last, significant work surrounding this landmark study. In fact, I'm delighted to report that two major national
foundations are announcing a new initiative to continue the FCC's important work. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami and the Carnegie Corporation of New York are supporting 10 universities, including Arizona State University, to encourage debate and feedback around the report’s major findings and recommendations. The schools, part of the Carnegie Knight Journalism Initiative, will tackle key issues within the FCC report, convene national meetings on the topics on their campuses, produce research papers and make further findings and recommendations.
The Knight Foundation has been a leading figure in the critical area of community information needs in our digital age. We are very grateful to the Knight Foundation, and its leadership, Alberto Ibargüen, Eric Newton and the entire team in Miami as well as the Carnegie leadership, [inaudible] and Susan King. Our audience members will notice that today’s FCC hearing is being broadcast. That is also due to the generous support of the Knight Foundation. In addition to being live streamed on the FCC website, today's hearing can be seen live across Arizona on Eight World by our colleagues at Eight Arizona PBS, and TV stations around the country are able to broadcast the hearing live via satellite from here at the Cronkite School and Channel Eight Studios. We are delighted you are able to join us this morning. Now, please join me in welcoming two of the nation's leading figures on this important issue, Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps.
Julius Genachowski: Well thank you, Chris. Thank you for hosting us, thank you for your outstanding leadership of the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and thank you to the panelists who are here today. We see four up here; there are more who will be participating as well. Many of them traveled a great distance to be here as part of this discussion of these important issues. I am very pleased to see so many young people here who care about journalism and our democracy. When I was about the age of most of you here, I had the privilege of studying under and working for Fred Friendly. Some of you — many of you may not remember the name. Fred had been President of CBS News and before that, was a producer for Edward R. Morrow — and I hope you are learning about Edward R. Morrow in journalism school. He was also a producer for Walter Cronkite, and he used to talk about Walter Cronkite a lot.
Fred Friendly has been gone for too many years, but I know he would be proud and moved that students every day learn about journalism at an institution named for Walter Cronkite — a powerful symbol of journalism and its vital role in our democracy. I commend this school, and this is wonderfully consistent with the spirit of Walter Cronkite. And I commend Dean Callahan's leadership for being at the forefront of news innovation. The school has launched important programs such as its News 21 initiative, enabling students to report on critical issues facing the state and the nation and using innovative digital methods to distribute the news on multiple platforms.
Cronkite School students now comprise the largest bureau covering the Arizona State House and the only state bureau covering the Federal Government in Washington D.C. I would like to thank my colleague Commissioner Mike Copps for being here today and for his commitment to the issues we'll be discussing. Now, Mike and I don't always agree exactly on the most effective role for government and media in journalism policy, but there is no arguing over this: no one brings more passion, more persistence, more dedication to these important issues than Commissioner Mike Copps, and I thank you for that.
Almost two years ago, catalyzed by a report from the Knight Commission of Bipartisan Group that the Knight Commission assembled, I asked Steve Waldman to lead a cross agency team at the FCC to examine the information needs of communities in the digital age. The communications landscape had changed so dramatically with the entry and widespread use of broadband on computers, on smart phones, on tablets like these. What's the state of play? And are there recommendations on how to ensure that the communities in the 21st Century have the news and information they need and want? I'm pleased that thanks to Steve Waldman and a remarkable team at the FCC, the commission released an in-depth and thoughtful report this past June.
Dean Callahan, thank you for your kind words about the report. The report was on, of course, the information needs of communities in the Broadband Age. Especially on behalf of Steve and the team, I am pleased that the report has drawn praise from a wide range of sources — including a long list of journalism school deans. In addition, experts from across the spectrum of viewpoints, leaders from the academy, from business and from consumer and public interest groups, praised its thoughtful, fair minded and lucid analysis. And even better, the support has sparked discussion, and it's already spurred action amongst stakeholders throughout this eco-system, and I will speak more about that in a minute, but first I would like to briefly highlight three reasons why I think that the report is so important:
First, it describes how new technology is creating a new world of opportunity to empower journalists and citizens and to keep the public informed like never before. Much is going well when it comes to the internet and journalism: Digital innovations have made the gathering and distribution of news and information faster, less expensive, and more democratic. One example from Arizona: Digital innovations have opened up new opportunities for tribal communities to preserve share their culture and history in ways never before possible. Beyond that, in our nation's history, we have never had a greater opportunity to realize our founding vision of a vibrant democracy, bolstered by a strong, free press and informed citizens.
So the first contribution of the report is its focus on the opportunities of new technology. Now, the second is its focus on the challenges. Foremost is the disruptive impact the internet and economic pressures have had on local news gathering. The report describes compellingly the deficits in the media system, most especially an emerging gap in local news reporting that's not yet been fully filled by digital media. This matters tremendously. If citizens don't get local news and information, the health of our democracy suffers: the less quality local reporting we have, the less likely we are to learn about problems and misdeeds whether they are schools that fail children, hospitals that mistreat patients, factories that pollute water.
So, opportunities and challenges. But the report did not just stop at presenting the challenges; it suggests thoughtful and practical initiatives to help address the challenges it identifies. It does so recognizing the essential constraints of the First Amendment, particularly vital in this area of news and information. And, indeed many of the suggestions in the report offer non-governmental actors, a strength of the report. As Steve put it, “government is not the main player in this drama.” To be sure, there are important areas where government can make a positive difference, and Steve and his team developed a creative set of recommendations for government, the private sector and nonprofits that can help make success possible for journalists and entrepreneurs trying to seize the opportunities of the digital revolution.
At the FCC, we recently implemented one of the report’s recommendations: purging the fairness doctrine from our books. And in addition, I have asked the Media Bureau at the FCC to move ahead with the recommendation to give religious and other non-commercial broadcasters more flexibility to raise money for charities and their communities around the world. And I have asked the Media Bureau to develop and move forward on a plan to advance the report’s principles related to disclosure. In this internet age, of course the public information in the public file kept by broadcasters should be online, not in filing cabinets. And as we have heard from thoughtful leaders in both the broadcasting and public interest communities, there should be a streamlined and non-burdensome online mechanism for broadcasters to disclose key information about their service to their communities.
Now, as I mentioned, the report has stimulated action amongst people outside the commission as well, and I am delighted to hear Dean Callahan's announcement about the new initiative by many of the nation's top journalism schools funded by the Knight Foundation. This initiative will carry forward the issues raised in the report. Other groups are announcing constructive steps as well. The Council on Foundations is moving ahead with an effort to make detailed recommendations to the IRS about potential tax changes to remove obstacles to nonprofit media innovations. A significant group of newspapers, local broadcasters and web-based news providers have all endorsed the report’s suggestion that the Federal Government target a greater portion of its existing ad-spending towards local media. The Carolina Academic Press has decided to publish the report as a book to help it get wider circulation and to continue to spur action.
I'm looking forward to hearing from representatives of media companies, public interest groups, the academy, innovators, many others today.
While some of these groups may differ on some of the details, they have come to support the basic framework for broadcaster transparency as I have indicated. It's a significant development. I want to applaud both the leading broadcasters represented here and the public interests groups for your constructive and positive approach to this topic. I believe that this will benefit American communities and the broadcasters that serve them.
Finally, we continue to make strides at the FCC and around the country on a fundamental recommendation of the report: achieving universal broadband access for all Americans; the report has no more important recommendations. The principle of universal access to information, the recognition of the necessity of universality goes back to the early years of our republic; it has been a constant throughout our history. In 1832, newspapers accounted for 95% of the weight carried by the U.S. postal service, and those newspapers received a discount for postage. The primary news delivery mechanisms of the 20th century, newspapers, radio, TV, were all universal. The emerging news delivery mechanism of the 21st Century, broadband internet, of course, must be universal, too. Ubiquitous broadband, wired and wireless is an economic imperative for the United States. Our broadband economy is a bright spot in these challenging economic times. The broadband economy is growing, creating jobs. It's helping not only new businesses grow and compete and reach new markets but also empowering existing businesses to expand their markets on new platforms.
That's true of existing news and media businesses as well — more and more of which are innovating on new platforms, seeking to reach their audiences however their audiences are choosing to read, watch or interact when it comes to news or information. And the larger the online and mobile broadband markets, the more of a return on investment news companies can achieve, the more they can invest in local news reporting and gathering. Ubiquitous broadband is essential not only for a healthy economy but for a healthy democracy. As recent events overseas have powerfully confirmed, real-time, two-way interactive communications are essential in the 21st Century, to the fundamental rights of expression and assembly and essential to an informed citizenry.
There is much that we have to do to achieve universal and ubiquitous broadband: We must unleash more spectrum from mobile broadband, helping drive continued growth in this thriving part of our economy and helping avoid consumer frustration over dropped connections and higher prices. We must close the broadband deployment and adoption gaps in the U.S. Right now, about 20 million Americans live in areas without broadband infrastructure and 100 million Americans don't subscribe to broadband at home — it’s about a third of Americans. At the FCC were in the homestretch of our effort to modernize the universal service fund, the program that ensured affordable telephone access for every American in the 20th century, and that now needs to be transformed for a broadband world.
Improving broadband infrastructure and increasing broadband access will drive our overall economy and will help inform and educate everyone in our country. Increasing broadband access will provide specific benefits to news, entrepreneurs and news businesses seeking to make the math work in these challenging and changing times. Getting to 100% broadband adoption level from today's level would represent a 50% increase in the online audience in the United States. The larger the online market the greater the scale, the more likely a news and information business can succeed online. The bottom line, thanks to Steve Waldman and his team, the FCC has issued a thorough and thoughtful report that deepens our understanding of how technology is affecting the information needs of our communities. A road map and a set of practical First Amendment friendly recommendations that fill real gaps and improve the news and information landscape.
I also thank Bill Lake, who is up here with Steve, for his leadership of the Media Bureau and the excellent staff of the Media Bureau not only for the excellent assistance they provide in the development of the report but for the work that they are doing and will continue to do to move forward on its recommendations. So thank you all for being here. I'm pleased to be here. I'm looking forward to what I know will be an excellent discussion with such a terrific group of panelists. But before we start, the panelists—and turn it over to Bill and Steve to moderate. I wanted to ask my colleague Commissioner Copps, to come and share his thoughts and say a few words.
Michael J. Copps: Good morning. Thank you, Dean Callahan and the Cronkite School of Journalism for hosting us this morning. Thank you, Chairman Genachowski, for holding this forum and for the openness and transparency and level of expertise you brought to the commission and all the foundational work you have done on broadband. And thanks everybody for turning out so early for what might not always be a normal campus hour. I understand that. And a special thanks to my friend Steve Waldman for his work at the commission over the past two years. The study which he and his team put together shines bright lights into just about every corner of American media and clearly documents that all is not what it should be. And while it is rather common that my own set of policy recommendations to deal with these problems is somewhat more vigorous, Steve's report is a very valuable contribution to the national dialogue and the future of our media, and I join in thanking him for his work.
I had the good fortune to call the namesake of this fine school, Walter Cronkite, a friend. I met him early on in my first term with the commission. Whenever I told him the concerns that I had with our media, he told me that he shared many of the same worries. We visited several times, and I came out each time more and more appreciating his wisdom, his commitment to real journalism and his practical, good judgment. The last time I saw him was at a Media Ownership Forum at Columbia University, and I had asked him to join us there, but he had returned from Europe just the day before with a very serious eye problem, and they told me he was scheduled to go to the hospital for surgery the very same day of the forum, and I thought he would cancel, but he came, and he came because he cared. That's the way it was. We shared a vision, I believe, of how media should be serving our citizens and our democracy. We understood that an informed citizenry is the prerequisite of self-government, and we agreed that a deadly poison of financial speculation, bottom-line economics and government application of its public interest responsibilities have laid huge swaths of America's media low. And it only got worse.
Today, the media we depend upon to inform our democracy has one foot in the traditional newspaper and broadcast newsroom and one foot in the new media of the internet. The traditional media has been cut to the bone in order to deliver greater dividends to shareholders. Hundreds of newsrooms have been shuttered; thousands of reporters walked the streets in search of a job rather than walking the beats in search of a story. Investigative journalism is on life support. And every day, hundreds of reports and stories that Americans should be reading go unreported. Real news has been too often replaced by fluff, and democracy is not well served by fluff. New media, of course, holds tremendous potential whether it’s low barriers to entry, lack of printing costs and its ability to flash news from around the world in moments. But it has come nowhere near to filling the holes left in the wake of traditional media’s heels.
In spite of all of the innovation and creativity we see out there, much of it emanating right here, there is still no new media model to fund the kind of investigative journalism that your country and my country has to have. And in fact, scholars tell us that more than 90% of the news on the internet originates from those newspaper and broadcast news rooms. It's just that there is so much less of it. I have been pushing to ensure that every citizen in the land has available the news and information they need to be contributing participants in the affairs of the nation. To me, that means from time to time, saying no to the continued onslaught of mega-media mergers. That means insuring every licensing regime for broadcasters that would redeem the premise and promise of broadcasting: broadcasters serving the public interests in return for free use of the public airwaves.
Walter Cronkite told me what an important role the presence of the FCC, and the FCC that just might be checking on the station's performance, meant in encouraging the environment for the great generation of Edward R. Morrow. Journalism could do what it was capable of doing. Dan Rather, Marvin Cal, Tim Koppel and many others have told me the same thing. It actually means stepping up to the inexcusable shortfalls in minority and female ownership. It means a truly open internet. It means being really aggressive about safeguarding the public interests. It means providing this nation with the information infrastructure it needs if we are going to overcome the unprecedented challenges our country faces today. And we fool ourselves if we underestimate the extent of those challenges. They are deadly serious. They threaten the future of the country, and they will not be successfully resolved if our news and information diet is fluff alone.
One of the recommendations of the report that I do throw my full support behind is the need to teach news literacy. This can be a powerful antidote to the dumbing-down of our civic dialogue that has taken place. Our democracy requires a well informed news-literate society that can differentiate between fact and opinion and between reliable resources and bad. There are many innovative endeavors underway. Some here, some others around the country, but they are scattered and they are uncoordinated, and we need to focus on bringing all these together in the public sector and in the private sector to develop an online news literacy curriculum that can be made available across the nation.
The FCC is part of an interagency process looking at digital literacy. I would like to see that process focus on getting to the goal of a news literacy curriculum developed and online in the year 2012. It can be done. So, there is much to do—for the country to do, for the FCC to do and for all of us in this room to do. Change is always difficult, and when it comes to true reform, powerful forces can be counted upon to oppose it, but our history tells us that we can overcome. The FCC has, right now, an opportunity to make a real difference. Yes, by spearheading a true national dialogue about the future of the media all across the land, but also by using the authority we have right now to advance the public interest, and to repeat, we can do much of what I outlined right now. And I want us to remember this: windows of opportunity to act—windows of opportunity to reform like opened a couple of years ago—can close, and they can close a whole lot quicker than they were opened.
So, let's use our opportunity well, boldly, quickly and decisively. As our friend Walter said that day at Columbia, quote, "America is the most prosperous and powerful nation in perhaps the history of the world. We can certainly afford to sustain a media system of which we can be proud," end quote. And all I say to that is Amen. Thank you.
Chris Callahan: Mr. Chairman, Commissioner, thank you for those inspirational remarks and thank you again for being here. It is a true honor, and I think that nobody would be more excited about this than Walter. Thank you.
Please allow me to introduce today’s moderators: To your far left, William Lake is the chief of the FCC Media Bureau. Bill, welcome. Good to have you here. And Sitting next to Bill is Steven Waldman, who is Chairman of the FCC working group on the information needs of communities and the chief author of the report that we're going to be talking about today. Gentlemen, welcome.
Steven Waldman: Thank you very much, Dean Callahan. Thank you for the kind comments about the report. And a few housekeeping things: first of all, after each panel—after each presenter has had a chance to make a four minute statement—we will have a bit of a discussion including some questions from both the audience here and on the internet. So for the questions here, FCC staff will be handing out post cards; you can see folks waving those around. Just raise your hand, get one of those and then turn them in. We also have an email address called livequestions@FCC.gov. livequestions@FCC.gov. And the Twitter hash tag is #FCCLive which we’ll also be monitoring for questions, and if you want to read the report as we go along, that's at FCC.gov/infoneedsreport. So, why don't we dive right into the first panel, and we're going to start with Kevin Davis who is the CEO and Executive Director of the Investigative News Network.
Kevin Davis: Thank you very much, and thank you very much for letting me chat today. So, let me start by telling you what the Investigative News Network is. We are a growing consortium of 60 nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations producing investigative journalism in the public interest. Our mission is to help nonprofit news organizations produce and distribute stories with the highest impact possible, to achieve cost efficiencies through pooling of resources and services and to develop new revenue streams that will help the member organizations become sustainable businesses. To become a member of INN, an organization must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or have a fiscal agent and be in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status. Its members must be transparent about funding and produce nonpartisan investigative and public service reporting.
Each member of our organization has its own specific journalistic and market focus ranging from local, regional, national, international and. in some cases, vertically—i.e. product safety and education. As per our membership standards, every member must be transparent in funding, and, again, nonpartisan in their approach. Funding for these groups comes from foundations, philanthropists and consumers, and hopefully more earned revenue. So, what is working? INN member organizations are producing upwards of 100 pieces of public interest and investigative journalism every day—every week day, at least. INN members have received multiple Pulitzer Prizes, Emmys, Peabody Awards, DuPont Awards and Investigative Reporter’s and Editor Awards. Our member stories have had impact by causing laws to be reformed, corrupt officials to be exposed, public programs to be vastly improved and by alerting the public to environmental perils, financial scams and faulty products.
For example, the Iowa State legislature removed control of mental health services from county governments and gave them to the state after Iowa Watch, one of our members, exposed the dysfunctional mental health delivery system in Iowa. The state of Washington legislature changed marketplace standards after stories by Investigate West in Seattle disclosed serious chemical hazards for health care workers. A legislative investigation was launched after the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting revealed political shenanigans involving millions of dollars from a Federal stimulus grant.
So what are the challenges? The vast majority of INN member organizations remain predominantly dependent on foundation funding which is limited in both scope and time. The end revenues to subsidize the cost of this very expensive form of journalism is currently around 8% of operating budget and is projected to rise to between 13 to 20% of budget within the next four to five years. Commercial media partners who wish to collaborate—with whom we wish to collaborate also—are often unable or unwilling to pay substantively toward the cost of the reporting. 501(c)(3) rules and regulations are being interpreted by the IRS in a way that often contradicts with the goals of revenue diversification and sustainability encouraged by the foundations that currently support our nonprofit members. Increasing ongoing delays in the IRS review process for the new 501(c)(3) applications are, frankly, suppressing new start-up journalism nonprofits and endangering our movement.
Right now, for example, SF Public Press, filed in January of 2010: no response. Lend to New Orleans, filed in summer 2010: no response. I’m sorry, no response, not granted yet. INN, filed in July 2010, and we too do not have our 501(c)(3) status yet. So what has to happen to gain more traction? IRS 501(c)(3) rules and procedures must be clarified and simplified to allow for education of the public through nonprofit journalistic news rooms while maintaining long-held prohibition on political tampering. More government data must be made available more quickly and with greater transperancy. There needs to be an increase in media literacy at all levels of education, philanthropists in the general public, not just foundations, should be encouraged to give and the government should consider spending advertising dollars on the education goals. Thank you.
Steven Waldman: Thank you, Kevin. Next we'll hear from Retha Hill, a former reporter at the Washington Post, Vice President of V.P., and currently the Executive Director of the Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship Lab at the Cronkite School.
Retha Hill: Thank you so much. Commissioners, thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the future information needs of communities. Your report raises many important concerns that Americans need to be aware of. I think while anecdotally the public has noticed their daily newspaper has become lighter and the local news seems to be more filled with fluff, this report breaks down the potential long-term damage to our communities if the trends away from accountability journalism continue. For every news company—such as the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Arizona Republic—that’s doing accountability journalism, there are dozens of other companies that can no longer muster the forces to keep careful watch over school boards, planning commissions, city halls and police and sheriff’s offices the way that they once did.
Contained in the report are several recommendations that the Federal Government should take to heart. As the Executive Director of the Digital Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab here at the Cronkite School of Journalism, I want to direct my comments to just two of the recommendations. I applaud the suggestion that the Federal Government make as much data as possible available to the public so digital media can more easily parse that information and distribute it to the public so that it is useful and relevant. So much relevant information is locked up in PDFs and scanned images that it makes it harder for programmers to sort that information. Additionally, I agree with the report that we would very much like to see a single data standard for use by agencies within the Federal Government, but also with the Federal Government, can make that standard available to state municipalities and provide incentives for local governments to use that standard.
For example, here in Maricopa County, we have a situation where the sheriff has complied with the letter of the law in releasing campaign finance data, but has not really complied with the spirit of the law and provided scanned images. Reporters have to then manually reenter that data from thousands and thousands of pages of financial documents which can be prohibitive for news organizations with limited resources. My other comment is in the area of diversity and media. I don't want to get into broadband or spectrum licensing, but I would like to push the FCC to keep careful watch over diversity hiring and digital media. We are seeing, unfortunately, that new media and mainstream digital companies are not paying as much attention to diversity as legacy media once did.
Layoffs have hit reporters and editors who are of color especially hard: A recent report issued two weeks ago by the Maynard Institute found that too often portrayals of minorities on the home pages of online publications are not-existent. As digital media develops, we need to ensure that people of all—that all people in America are represented on the home pages and in the digital newsrooms. Lastly, the report did not seem to specifically look at the state of ethnic newspapers and news companies in the United States. Sadly, publications such as the Chicago Defender and the Michigan Chronicle and other African-American newspapers are struggling and near failure. As we look at remedies to support news media, let's also remember the important role played by these media companies in covering diverse communities. Thank you.
Steven Waldman: Thank you. Next we'll hear from Nicol Turner Lee who is Vice President and Director for Media and Technology at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and a Former Executive at—I'm blanking.
Nicol Turner Lee: One Economy.
Steven Waldman: One Economy. Thank you.
Nicol Turner Lee: Good morning, everyone. Chairman Genachowski, Honorable Commissioner Copps, Steven Waldman, Bill Lake and Dean Callahan. Thank you for the opportunity to come speak to you all today about this significant report. For those of you that are not aware, the Joint Center is a 41-year-old organization where a public policy institute located in D.C. focuses on issues concerning African-Americans and other people of color. And the media and technology institute established just three years ago is focused primarily on how people of color are progressing in the broadband and broadcast fields.
So, I want to jump right into the report and in my comments talk about the bad and the good news that have come from this report about the future of our media ecosystem. On the positive side, so I’ll start there, the expansion of digital platforms and the use of new media have definitely increased the consumption of online content—a trend that I think that we have heard will continue to grow. Our prior imaginations of real-time access to information and local content are now realities, and I think that that's something that broadband has greatly facilitated going forward. These trends are all good news for the media industry and consumers, but like A Tale of Two Cities, these trends have also brought challenges and instability to the environment, whereas the internet has broadened one's ability to find employment, connect with families and friends, diagnose a health problem. As the chairman has indicated, the lack of universal access to broadband leaves behind millions of citizens that are not yet connected.
Moreover, and I think Retha actually commented on it as well, the entrepreneurship and employment opportunities that are being enabled by broadband platforms are not necessarily benefiting historically underserved communities who are in dire need of economic development opportunities. And pertinent to today's discussion, many people in these communities who are not able to share the distinct voices because they lack access to the new digital media platform is actually creating. And I want to credit Steve Waldman and his team for actually acknowledging those inequities. It was very easy to find them in the report, and I think a discussion that's worthwhile having—particularly as we migrate more information online.
The focus of my comments will just be primarily in two areas: how do we promote universal broadband as an option for communities of color if they are connected to the media landscape, and what do we need to do, as Retha mentioned, to encourage minority media ownership. So let's start with universal broadband adoption. First and foremost, it has to be a priority. According to the 2010 FCC working paper for broadband adoption use, 59% of African-Americans have a broadband connection at home. In our research, that was very promising. Unfortunately, the people that have the most to gain in breaking the trajectory of social isolation, poverty and illiteracy are poor. They’re seniors. They are people with disabilities; they are less educated, and they’re not online. Only 24% of people with less than a high school education and 40% of households with incomes under 20 are likely to adopt Broadband in this country.
Moreover, those without a residential Broadband connection at home are more likely to go to the internet to find jobs. More than 90% of African-Americans who make less than 20,000 regularly search the internet for jobs—compared to about 70% of Latino Americans. And as it is mentioned in the report, these folks are highly dependent on public institutions as a major anchor for access. The good news on the other side of minority consumption, however, is that we're over-indexing on mobile Broadband use which, I think is mentioned in the report, actually creates promise as more African-Americans, more than 40%, are actually going to smart phones and cell phones to access local news and information that improve quality of life.
But we have challenges there: what you can do on the cell phone is very restrictive when it comes to actually integrating into mainstream society. As the chairman also mentioned, ubiquitous deployment of Broadband is a priority of the FCC, but we're still challenged. Millions of people who live in rural America do not have a connection. If you are over the age of 65, you live in a rural community or the rural south, you are less likely to have Broadband—under 10%. We did a study earlier this year that found that in the state of South Carolina, for example, while there was ubiquitous access, in those areas that were very poor, high minority, they were less likely to have access. That's a problem if we are actually migrating our media to the internet.
Clearly, more work needs to be done to expand services to rural areas, and right now, the FCC has been very aggressive in the reform of the universal service fund to actually ensure that these committees do not become national liabilities as we migrate services online as well as public safety. And I believe many of the policy recommendations in the report. And as we have seen in current conversations of the debates around reallocating spectrum, the voluntary auctions without galvanizing local broadcasters and minority station owners is key to creating those conditions that will benefit those consumers who are heavier relying on spectrum.
Finally, in the broadband area, adoption has to be critical. As the Commissioner has mentioned, it's not just about digital literacy; it's about media literacy, and I was actually surprised to see in the report that African-Americans, when compared to other populations—just 48% when compared to the 61% of the whites, 67% of Latinos—were less likely to access the internet for news. That was actually surprising to us at the joint center as we try to get more people online. The second piece, and I will close with these remarks: minority and media ownership is the key driver for diversity and inclusion. It's been a problem. Historically we’ve all struggled. The FCC has a longitudinal record on struggling on how to get more diversity in media. As Commissioner Copps has mentioned, we need to do more; he actually said that last week that at a Town Hall meeting at Carnegie—that we have to do more to increase minority ownership.
This dates back, my friends, to 1967 during the race riots in the issuance of the Curner report on how do we actually improve more minority representation, and I just want to read you a few stats of where we are today. I think they just mentioned the recent report dating back to, you know, 1980s, we had very little representation of minorities that owned stations, that were behind the scenes, in front of the camera, etc., and we continue to see that drop in representation. While we’ve seen the legal precedence that have placed strict scrutiny like Adoran vs. Piña, we need to do more. We need more ownership; we need more empirical data that allows us to see what we need do to now tailor the policies that promote media ownership. To be fair, I think that the FCC in recent years under the chairman's tenure has actually tried to address many of these issues. Most notably looking at license renewal applications, trying to understand what goes into different policies, collecting new data to ensure updating reports to ensure that we're actually moving in the right direction.
Stephen Waldman: Dr. Lee, we're almost out of time.
Nicol Turner Lee: Just to close—oh, we're out of time? Ok, I'll stop here.
Stephen Waldman: I apologize. We can come back to that during the questions. I’m sorry. Susan Crawford is Professor at Cardozo Law School in New York and is the Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology and Innovation and co-led the FCC transition team between the Bush and Obama Administrations.
Susan Crawford: So terrific. So, Chairman Genachowski, Commissioner Copps, Steve, Bill, thank you—and all of you—thank you so much for having me talk to you today. Congress has charged the FCC with making available to all of us a rapid, efficient communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges. And today, the relevant communication service for all Americans is high speed access to the internet. And the chairman understands this; he talks about it at every possible opportunity. We have heard about it a lot today, and the report we're discussing today makes clear that facilitating low cost, ubiquitous high-speed internet access is essential to the future of news.
So just two brief points that I want to focus on today: First, high speed access to the internet via unlicensed spectrum, Wi-Fi, will be a platform for innovation that will enable low cost ways to provide the people of America with information—including particularly the civic information and news on which Mr. Waldman's fine report is focused. And second, the commission could be doing much more to prioritize, protect and encourage rapid developments in the unlicensed arena so as to unleash billions of dollars in private investment and innovation, job creation and economic growth. We all know that today—even the limited unlicensed spectrum you guys all use in class—Wi-Fi is driving an enormous part of our country's information economy. There is much more that could be done. Technology available today makes interference much more of a political argument than a technical reality. And so, President Barack Obama, back in June of 2010, directed the agencies to—with the help of the FCC—to look for more spectrum, to make available for high speed access to the internet but said that this should be both licensed and unlicensed—both licensed and shared spectrum. And he did not prioritize licensed spectrum over unlicensed. This isn’t news; the commission’s been talking about the importance of unlicensed spectrum for a very long time. Chairman Powell kicked off a big report in 2002 that said that said we should have a balance between licensed and unlicensed.
Chairman Genachowski's own broadcast plan said we should set aside a nation-wide, contiguous band of frequencies for unlicensed access to the internet. Over and over again, we’ve talked about the importance of unlicensed people's airwaves. And the report today, Mr. Waldman's report, says a healthy mix of licensed and unlicensed spectrum will promote innovation without permission, a competitive marketplace and affordable access—all preconditions of a robust wireless sector and all conducive to effectuating the recommendations of this report. I'm here to say that it's time to step up the commission's efforts in this area. In a political environment marked by so much turmoil, we need the commission to revitalize the social compact that Congress imposed on it. It's the commission's job to ensure that all the people of the United States have high-speed internet access at reasonable charges. It is not the commission's job to optimize revenue either for the existing duopoly wireless carriers or for the treasury, and right now, several bills are being discussed on Capitol Hill that would effectively eliminate the promise of unlicensed access to the people's airwaves. We all want the FCC to have the incentive auction authority they seek so that the chairman can carry out the goals of the national broadband plan, but one of those goals was to ensure widespread, unlicensed access across America.
In effect, the unbalanced plans now in discussion on Capitol Hill would auction all possible airwaves and amount to a multi-billion dollar super-tax on super Wi-Fi. It would reverse the successful pro-growth, pro-innovation policies that made the U.S. the global Wi-Fi leader. So the commission needs to make clear both publicly and in the offices of legislators—publicly and privately—that unlicensed access to the people's airwaves is a top-priority that must not be squeezed in favor of short-term deficit reduction and based on sheer lack of knowledge on Capitol Hill.
So, I'm not saying that all spectrums should be unlicensed, but our policy must be balanced, and here's why: had it not been for the FCC's leadership in the ‘30s and ‘40s, we wouldn't have had public television. Incumbents hate the idea of set-asides of the public air waves for the public. I'm a big fan of this report, and I think that it would be a good rule of thumb to set aside a quarter of the people's airwaves that we make available for high-speed internet access for unlicensed use. I am here to push you to do more where it’s clearly within your power and to remind your better angels that your job—your top priority is to ensure fast and reliable high speed internet access at reasonable prices for all the people of America. Thank you very much.
Steven Waldman: Thank you so much for your outstanding presentations. We have some questions coming in. I think maybe Bill and I will start. Why don't we just—while we're on the topic of unlicensed spectrum, for those who might not be familiar with the actual role of unlicensed versus licensed spectrum and maybe think that unlicensed is about getting better Wi-Fi at your Starbucks or something like that, why is unlicensed spectrum actually important in terms of the information needs of local communities and dues in journalism?
Susan Crawford: Well actually it has been the savior of the wireless carriers who dump a lot of their traffic—up to 30% of it—onto Wi-Fi before it reaches you but also in Texas, 75% of the land mass is reached by wireless ISPs. Same thing a bunch of states that have a bunch of internet access coming through unlicensed access: Oregon, Illinois, Colorado, Nebraska. 59% of the land mass is served only by wireless ISPs, and as data-usage climbs, we know that all the page views on your I-Phones are going to need opportunistic, unlicensed access to this spectrum. It could increase capacity for information flow by—exponentially; capacity could be increased. And we unleashed billions of dollars of investment in all the devices and jobs needed to create the devices that would make that possible.
Steven Waldman: Thank you. Bill, you had a question?
William Lake: Yes, a question for Nicol. You spoke very eloquently about the importance of universal access to and adoption of broadband. I wonder whether as we worry about the availability of business plans to support journalism, whether that universal adoption, should we achieve it, will also help to improve the business plans for those who want to do internet journalism by knowing that they can reach 100% of the audience rather than today only 60-some percent.
Nicol Turner Lee: No, I think clearly, Bill, to your question around whether they go hand in hand, I think so. I think that as we develop a media landscape that partners with this new eco-system around broadband, we have got to find ways to actually make both sustainable, and I think Retha’s earlier point, for example, with African-American newspapers, you know., Many cannot go online because they don't have the resources or the journalists to understand the uses of their media tools, and with that being the primary force in communities of color for how they get local news, it’s going to be imperative, so I would say that as the journalism field experiences the ebbs and flows, the more that we can do to promote universal broadband adoption, we’ll have a fuller and more robust economy of scale for these new ideas.
Steven Waldman: Professor Hill, I wonder if you could talk just a little bit about some of the innovations that you've been working on in your lab—any of the particular mobile applications or anything that you think holds some promise for how new technologies can improve information needs.
Retha Hill: Sure. A couple of the projects that we’ve worked on in the lab has to do with getting information to people around their elected official—to inform them who their elected officials are, so that they can better participate in our democracy. We did a mobile application for a local start-up company here in Arizona, The Arizona Guardian, that uses geo-location services to tell you who your elected officials are from the County Level up to the Federal level. And while it's a mobile app—it's available on the I-Phone—and while it's not, you know, accountability journalism in the way that we traditionally think of it, it’s an improvement over citizens wanting to contact their elected officials having to go to the Yellow Pages or having to scrounge around for that information; they can pick up their phone, they can touch a button and find out who they need to contact, how they need to get involved, and then they can touch to dial, touch to Twitter and touch to email. That's one example.
Another project that we've been working on over the past few months is called They Work for Arizona which is a website and a web application that will also tell you who your elected officials are, give you the bills that they are working with, the social network down at the state capitol so that they know—so that you know as a citizen who your elected officials tend to hang with and sponsor bills with, so you can get a better sense of what goes on in the state capitol. One of the problems that we found in trying to get some of the data is that much of the census data is not as accurate as some of the private data in terms of the shape files for precincts and counties, so we’ve had to take that data and spend a lot of time trying to, you know, maneuver it so that we're getting people accurate information on the precincts in which they belong. So getting back to the whole data structure issue, we find as programmers is teaching our young people how to create these mobile apps that I think will be interesting to the public. We're having to manipulate—we’ve spent so much time manipulating data when it would be easier if the Federal Government, State and County Governments would provide this data in a way that we can use it more easily.
Steven Waldman: Thank you. Mr. Davis, I wanted to go back to what you were saying about the IRS and tax rules. That sounded like this is a rather large problem that's emerging. Could you elaborate a little bit on—
Kevin Davis Sure.
Steven Waldman: —what the significance of this is?
Kevin Davis: Yeah, I mean our members right now of the 60 organizations—over 35 have their 501(c)(3)s, but many do not or are in the process. What appears to be happening at the IRS is that all the recent applicants have been upping bundles and have been referred to the general counsel. Unfortunately that's slowing things down. What the indications are is that the IRS feels like the nonprofit news movement is now precedential in some way and that they may very well be coming forward with some policy, but it's just not clear to us. What's happening as a result is grants are being lost, and we are unable to collect money and give, you know, the tax-free benefits that we are striving to have. And given the fact that INN, for example, has very stringent membership standards, we, you know, we review members make sure they’re nonpartisan. We are very much advocates for transparency in funding. We find it troubling that it's taking so long. Again, in some cases, upwards of 18 months so far when it used to be three to five months.
Steven Waldman: Why does that matter?
Kevin Davis: Without the ability to actually begin a nonprofit organization, we cannot conduct the journalism that we need to do. Our journalism is very expensive. We are filling that gap that we talked about so much in the report, and the only way that we can do that on an effective basis is to take money from foundations and from informed citizens that want to support nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest journalism.
Steven Waldman: Some of the organizations are also taking advertising and sponsorship. Is that causing any problems?
Kevin Davis: Well, certainly, as your report points out, there is an ambiguity about what is UBIT or Unrelated Business Intaxable Activity. We are being told right now from the IRS, for example, that they don't want to see any non-501(c)(3)s conduct any nonrelated business activities. So they are preemptively prohibited from conducting what essentially is earned revenue that other organizations that are c3s are allowed to do, but they must pay tax on. So, we’re getting tremendous mixed messages from the IRS
Steven Waldman: So they’re not just saying that if you get advertising money, you will be taxed on it; they are saying you shouldn't get advertising money at all?
Kevin Davis: Correct. They have told us they do not want to see any non-501(c)(3)s in process conducting any unrelated business.
Steven Waldman: Thank you. Actually, that is the end of this first panel. I know that went very fast, but we have a—do you have a brief question?
Michael J. Copps: Yeah. I want to take a minute just so we can step back and absorb what we heard here because it was a lot of good news about innovation and technology and the potential of spectrum and all of that. I think the bad news kind of outweighed the good news on what we heard with the IRS. The difficult time for philanthropies and new media not paying attention to diversity and maybe traveling down the same kind of road of consolidation as maybe the ethnic publications going out of business, lack of access to the new media, all this potential of unlicensed spectrum at the same time that Congress is looking to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. So it leads you to ask, you know, “Where are we, and what we can do, and what's the solution?”
And yes, the FCC can and should step up to the plate on some of these things, but in the final analysis, you know, it's such a universality of problems; it touches so many different places that you guys and this audience need to think about, and I know your Dean has been very much involved in, but how do you get the J-schools across the country, the communication schools, involved in understanding these issues and bringing their force to bear in Washington or the state capitols or wherever that may needs to be. How do you get these students who are going into the world of journalism—and there is so much potential there. And I think that the only way you do that is really by coming together in grassroots organizations; it seems to me the only way that we ever get reform in this country is through grassroots movements—whether it's abolitionists or women's rights advocates or labor unionists or consumer advocates. It's not so much that you have leaders that come to town and all of a suddenly say, “Let’s do all of these good things.” It’s that the leaders come to town, and they are pressed by grassroots groups. Even my hero Franklin Delano Roosevelt who, you know, who I idolized. He was pushed and prodded to do a lot of things he did, and that's what we'll have to do in each and every one of these people in this audience will have to be make a commitment to that kind of action, that kind of organization and coming together if you are really going to safeguard this absolutely essential occupation, then we have to do a better job of in the years ahead, so that's kind of the message I would take away from this first panel.
Steven Waldman: Thank you, Commissioner Copps. Thank you very much, first panel. Thank you so much for coming, and we’re cutting it a little bit short. We’re going to move now to the second panel as we’re changing the guard here, a reminder that questions can be sent in to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The Twitter hash tag is #FCClive. And the report that has been referenced can be viewed at fcc.gov/infoneedsreport fcc.gov/infoneedsreport. For members of the audience, if you have questions, write it out on an index card that people are holding up and turn them in, and then, we will ask them as we go along. So we'll now turn to the second panel which is focusing on broadcast issues, and we will be starting with Jonathan Blake who is the Senior Counsel at Covington and Burling, and he is going to be speaking on behalf of Barrington Media Company, Belo Dispatch, Gannett, Hurst, Post, Newsweek and Raycom, and Jonathan is also just one of the most respected attorneys in the country on communication issues. Jonathan.
Jonathan D. Blake: Like many other broadcasters, the list of companies whom Steve just rattled off are committed to serving the information needs of their communities. They are also willing to provide reasonable and meaningful information about how they meet these responsibilities. First, a few general comments, and then I will try to address three recommendations with respect to television stations that are made in the report. First the report furthers the cause of good journalism and good local television service. It recognized that before recommending changes for the future, it had to understand the present. In that respect alone, our view is that the report makes a valuable—and perhaps unprecedented—contribution.
Second, the report, like the American viewing public, also recognizes that local television stations are a vitally important ingredient in the coverage of local news. Poll after poll and analysis after analysis reach the same conclusion about the public's news habits and preferences. They show that local television stations are the principal source of local journalism that the public relies on. The recent series of natural disasters once again dramatically demonstrated the importance of local broadcast coverage.
Three, there is a growing realization reflected in the report and reflected somewhat in the first panel that the internet and the new media while providing valuable, new competitive, complimentary and innovative news services, are not—by and large not playing the same core journalism role as the local broadcast stations and may not do so in the foreseeable future. It's also worth noting that the leading local news sites often on the internet are produced by the local television stations and local newspapers participating in the innovative news service.
Four, the report is faithful to the imperative that the government avoid content regulation; it prefers public disclosure to inflexible, across-the-board programming requirements. In addition, the report understands that different broadcast stations operate in different market circumstances with different resources. Like newspapers, they serve the public in different ways and should not be subjected to a one-size-fits-all regulatory regime.
And finally, the report sees an even stronger, more important and even more innovative role for local journalism. In the future broadcast journalism. The broadcasters I represent today embrace that conclusion. The report makes recommendations in three specific areas: The first is online disclosure. Those disclosure requirements should make meaningful information accessible to the public. They should be based on simple, clear metrics. They should avoid undo complexity and undue burden. They should take into account the realities of broadcast station operations—particularly station news and recordkeeping practices. Toward that end, our broadcasters who make available if the commission is interested in the newsroom and recordkeeping staff of their stations. The record-keeping by and large is done by news people, and that ought to be factored into moving forward with those disclosure requirements.
Second, subject to an effective rule-making proceeding conducted by the commission, we think the reports—the recommendations generally meet the require—the criteria I just listed. It recommends that the disclosure requirement focus on program segments about the local community. Focusing on this single program category is desirable in order to limit the burden and keep things simple and meaningful. Use of the single program category runs the risk of blotting out recognition of other services provided by broadcast television, broadcast stations. Accordingly and properly, the report recommends the stations be given the opportunity to go beyond this program category to describe other benefits that they provide to the communities they serve. But requiring the stations catalog programming in accordance with additional categories would multiply station burdens, lead to potential confusion among those categories and expand the government's intrusion into licensees’ programming discretion.
Heavy record preparation obligations could also divert substantial station resources from programming services. The burden would be greatest on those stations who provide the most benefits, who have the most programming to report of the counting by the commission to be desirable. And requiring that disclosure reports be posted on an internet site would be part of a shift of stations’ local, public files to the internet, and that makes sense to us. Another set of recommendations addresses pay-for-play practices, video news releases and the FCC's existing sponsorship identification requirements. Broadcasting third party content, especially video news releases, can serve a public interest purpose. But it is desirable, we agree, for the public to know when particular broadcast content has been provided by a third party. And lastly, we support the recommendation from the report that the Federal Government use local media for more of its ad-buys in the future—not just national media. This will help support investments by stations and other local media, internet and newspapers in quality programming. Most importantly though, local media advertising offers federal agencies greater flexibility and greater [inaudible]. There is no sense in a coast guard spot going on national television when obviously the audience is on the coast. National businesses, national nonprofit organizations, state governments take advantage of these sufficiencies; the Federal Government should do so as well. Thanks for letting me participate today and letting these broadcasters participate. I have learned a lot already.
Steven Waldman: Thank you, Mr. Blake. Next we have Coriell Wright who is the Policy Counsel for Free Press, a large public industry group.
Coriell Wright: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here this morning to discuss the role of local broadcasters in serving the information needs of our communities. As Commissioner Copps laid out this morning, broadcasters have the privilege of exclusive use of the public's airwaves. In return, they have a very special obligation to provide programming for and about their local communities. Some broadcasters take this obligation very seriously. Others don't. According to the FCC's report, one-third of local TV stations air no local news. Among those that do, some don't provide the kind of information that people need to participate effectively in the democratic process. Increasingly people are getting more information about their local candidates from campaign ads than they are from local broadcast news. Political advertising on local TV has steadily increased over the last decade, yet TV stations don't always invest these profits in more coverage of local elections. For example, in 2006, local stations pulled in about $2 billion in political advertising, yet a study looking at the 2006 mid-term elections, found that during the typical local TV newscast, stations aired four minutes of partisan political ads but gave less than half of that time to actual objective reporting on local elections. Some broadcasters allow their news coverage to be shaped or even manufactured by Advertisers. The Los Angeles Times has exposed a number of instances of ads masquerading as news. In one example, a station featured a story on promising new cancer treatments at a local hospital, only it wasn't a news story; it was a segment paid for by the hospital itself.
To help the public journalists and watchdog groups uncover these lapses in service, the FCC report recommends making transparency a pillar of FCC media policy and reforming the existing disclosure obligations of broadcasters—something which Jonathan and I generally agree on. Currently, broadcasters must disclose information and maintain public files that theoretically should help the public ensure that they do their job. Unfortunately, the information disclosed is not always useful or even accessible to your average person. Free Press, my organization, is one of many public interest groups that support modernizing the disclosure regime to provide the public with searchable and online access to information on multiple types of programming that stations provide to their communities. But I want to be clear that improved disclosure won't magically convert a delinquent broadcaster into the model public servant, nor is it a substitute for better FCC enforcement of the broadcast public interest bargain and meaningful license for renewal processes which have sadly atrophied over time.
But though it's though not a silver bullet, better disclosure can help in a number of ways: First, better information can empower communities to make their broadcasters more responsive even when the FCC can't or when the FCC won't. The FCC invites communities to participate in the licensing process, but it rarely acts on those complaints. But if the FCC won't hold broadcasters to their obligations, they can arm communities with the disclosure that they need to do so themselves. To that end, better information can mean a better dialogue between communities and broadcasters which can also help the station to better assess the local information—excuse me—information needs. Of course, not every conversation is going to be productive from the public's perspective. But here too, I think that a better disclosure coupled with public pressure can go a long way to holding media accountable. Watchdog groups and journalists can say shed light on and publicize whether broadcasters are serving the public or just wasting precious airwaves. Local groups can highlight the best and worst broadcasters, covering the community, and reporters can publish lists of stations that engage in payola.
Finally, we need to modernize the disclosure system because it's 2011. In an age where there is an app for nearly everything, no one should have to take off work and drive dozens of miles to a broadcast station just to figure out what that station is doing to serve their community. To conclude, I focused on one recommendation in a large report, but Free Press is enthusiastic about many of the proposals related to community and public media. Those organizations are increasingly filling the gaps left by commercial media, and I think that better disclosure rules will help identify those gaps so we can better meet our nation's diverse information needs. Thank you.
Steven Waldman: Thank you.
Next, we’re going to hear from Laura Walker who is President and CEO of New York Public Radio.
Laura Walker: Thank you, Steve and Bill and Chairman Genachowski and Commissioner Copps. New York Public Radio is the largest public radio station group in the country, and we reach about million people every month— including On the Media which is one of the only regularly scheduled programs about the media, and it's available on Comcast, too. The information needs of communities is a critically important statement about the role of local news in their democracy. This morning, I would like to build on a few of the key points from this report and make three recommendations. The report states that nonprofit media hold, quote, "great potential to fill the gap in news, information and journalism left by the depleted commercial sector," unquote. I agree the potential is there.
For example, just about a month ago, when hurricane Irene—we all remember that—was roaring up the east coast, New York was bracing for potential disaster. Our scores of journalists at New York Public Radio and WNYC were reporting the news; we were doing that 24/7 on the radio, and that became a critical lifeline for the many who lost electrical power because radio actually is, you know, can be battery operated. We also put together, though, an interactive map of New York City illustrating all the evacuation zones because people were saying, “well, if you live in zone A, you have to evacuate,” but nobody knew if they live in Zone A. So our map: you could plug in the address and see who would need to evacuate. So at any moment, there were 45,000 to 50,000 people viewing the map on our website. We served a critical role in keeping them informed and safe on both the radio and the internet. There are thousands of public radio journalists across the country performing the same service for their listeners: covering stories in their local communities, providing the highest quality journalism, holding governments accountable.
For example, right here in Phoenix, K-Jazz, which is a great public radio station, has a multi-station collaboration called Fronteros, and they’re working on a series called Post-construction Southwest which really looks at the implications of the construction boom that fueled the southwest for years and will probably never return. WFPL in Louisville reported recently on coal ash and its devastating impacts on the health and environment of its community. And with digital technology, there is now an extraordinary opportunity to join and drive the so-called open data movement—to take the vast amounts of data from local governments and to interpret them in a way that helps local citizens. The first step, as the FCC report states, is that government has to make the data available, but the real work is in making those data understandable and relevant. For example, the New York City and state governments released troves of data about education, but the information comes in massive, unparsed data bases that are barely intelligible. So WNYC has partnered with the "New York Times" on a project called Schoolbook which takes the data, makes it accessible, adds journalism and engages the online community. Indeed, public radio and its unique national-local model is in the position to fill the gap for quality journalism in local communities, and it must. But to do so we need three things: The first two are pretty straightforward—at least to say. First, stronger financial support for content creation from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, individuals and philanthropic sectors. This will enable us to build local newsrooms that are radio and online. Second, I fully the support the increased need for transparency, but I would like the FCC to be mindful of the cost of imposing additional data collection and reporting requirements on public broadcasters.
Third, I would call on the FCC to think about whether it can create some kind of space set-aside in the digital space for people—nonprofit media that is serving the public interest. Let me explain: The special place that public media occupies in our society actually dates back, as Susan said, to 1934 with the passage of the communications act. It was then in the early days of radio that Congress and the FCC had the commitment and the clarity of vision to set about providing nonprofit broadcasters with the secure, unrestricted and no cost preps on the broadcast spectrum. This act was full of foresight; it was a recognition that left them to fend for themselves and the marketplace, media dedicated to public service might not survive. By setting aside broadcast spectrum for education and public service, the FCC ensured that public media would not only survive but thrive.
Public media now serves 70 million Americans each month. But today, public media runs the risk, I believe, of being consigned to second-tier status. As we face unprecedented demand for quality local service—especially during these tough economic times, we and our audience are facing increasing costs. When users access public media content on their computers and mobile devices, it costs money for both the public media provider and the users if they know where to find it. This threatens Americans’ historic right to unrestricted free access to information—information that is important to our democracy and essential to our safety. In 1934, the issue was capacity, cost and visibility on the public airwaves. In 2011, the issue is capacity, cost and visibility on the internet. As Commissioner Copps said, this is a window of opportunity. As the FCC wrestles with the tangled policy issues of the digital era, as it addresses the information needs of local communities, I’d like to suggest that we recall the principles that have protected and supported public service media from the earliest days of the communications industry. Those principles are at least as relevant today as they were then. Thank you.
Steven Waldman: Next we'll hear from Greg Dawson who is the Vice President of News at NBC 7 in San Diego.
Greg Dawson: Thank you, Steve. Thank you, Commissioner. Your report, Steve, highlights a lot of the difficulties we’ve faced in both our coverage and our revenue over the last several years, and in San Diego, we’ve had one small effort to address those on a local level: Several years ago, we entered into an informal partnership with a new online nonprofit organization, Voice of San Diego. And they were folks who were experienced journalists, they were smart and passionate and they were—had a mission to cover local government with a laser-focus. It was an important area of coverage for our newsroom as well, but we know that in television news we get pulled in many directions. So we hope that Voice of San Diego could contribute to our on-air programming, enabling us to better serve our audience with more in-depth reporting of local Governments and the people who serve in them. For its part, Voice of San Diego is looking to establish itself and its credibility. Working with a local news station—with a respected operation—is a good way to accomplish that.
Over the years, our relationship has grown based on trust and a shared set of values concerning transparency and accountability in government and journalistic integrity and news-gathering and reporting. We’ve experimented with a wide variety of projects and formats—always with the shared goals of improving our coverage of local issues, holding our public officials accountable and creating better news consumers. We now have several established projects in which we jointly produce stories that improve our coverage of important local issues. It allows us to explore topics in greater depth, such as the city's financial challenges or complex ballot propositions, and it helps our audience better understand those issues when they read or hear updates in daily local news.
We also had the goal of developing a sustainable business model for this kind of partnership, and to that end, we've been able to find sponsorships for our projects, therefore creating a new, if small, revenue stream to support these joint undertakings. Our partnership with Voice of San Diego has received a lot of attention—hence why I'm here today—locally and beyond. And as part of the Comcast NBC Universal Transaction, NBC Universal is committed to try to expand these efforts in some of our other major markets served by NBC-owned stations.
In May of this year, we launched an expansive outreach program in our other nine markets, encouraging interested organizations to submit applications, to participate in cooperative news partnerships with our own stations. Our application form emphasized that we were looking for, among other qualifications, local news gathering capabilities, strong journalistic standards and the ability to both report on and reflect the incredible diversity of the communities served by our stations. We spread the word on air, online and through a direct communication with key organizations such as Pointer, The Knight Foundation, the Investigative News Network and a number of journalism organizations serving diverse constituents.
We also issued a press release which was widely disseminated that described the initiative and contained links to our websites and the sections where they could find more information and the web-based application form could be obtained. Our stations aired over 1,800 promotional announcements encouraging interested organizations to visit the website and submit an application, and promotion on our station's websites garnered more than 3.8 million impressions. In response to our broad outreach, we’ve received more than 30 applications from a wide variety of organizations. We then undertook a detailed evaluation process that involved a multi-disciplinary team to identify the top applicants, and we are now in the final stages of evaluating the best opportunities in each market. We're on track for meeting the commitment of establishing four new partnerships within the first year of our new corporate ownership. I am proud to be a part of that process, and thank you for inviting me here today.
Steven Waldman: Thank you very much. We'll turn to some discussion and questions now. One thing that I wanted to make sure was clear in the comments from Coriell Wright and Jonathan Blake who obviously represent constituencies that often disagree with each other, and even today there were some areas of disagreement, but as I am hearing you, it sounds like that you both are agreeing on the basic framework that broadcasters should have disclosure of local community information and that the paper files should be put online.
This strikes me as a fairly significant development given in the past the difficulty in coming to that kind of a common framework. Obviously, we're pleased about that, but let me play devil's advocate on one point. Miss Wright, you mentioned pay for play which in our report, we thought was a very serious problem. Why do you think disclosure can help eliminate or reduce pay for play?
Coriell Wright: So, this is an area where I think that disclosure is probably going to be most effective. So, there is an inordinate and unfortunate amount of pay for play news that happens in local broadcasting. My own organization has filed dozens of complaints, but it's critical to recognize that the FCC doesn't prohibit payola; it prohibits undisclosed payola. So by disclosing payola, you are actually complying with the FCC regulations, though I assume a lot of people in this room who are studying to become journalists would actually find that to be in some ways somewhat reprehensible to actually let an advertiser influence your news coverage. In the FCC's report they recommend that any time that a broadcaster discloses payola on air, it also should file online a disclosure that they have engaged in payola, and I think that this is an instance that the sort of bad publicity of letting an advertiser decide what you may or may not put on the air will have a sort of, you know, deterrent effect even though technically airing payola is not a violation of the FCC rules.
Steven Waldman: Thank you. Bill.
William Lake: Yes, the report discusses the fact that there are many organizations across the country and local communities that do news gathering of one kind or another. What they lack is the airwaves to reach a broader public. And Greg, you’ve described your success with one experiment in San Diego and what NBC is doing to broaden that, and Laura, you mentioned the partnership with the "New York Times." I wonder whether this kind of partnership that can link up other organizations that are doing news gathering with the broadcasters, both commercial and non-commercial, who can help to reach the public. Do you think that is broadly replicable and something that can make a real contribution to broadcast journalism going forward? And I’ll ask any of the panelists.
Greg Dawson: I think so. We decided a long time ago we cannot serve everybody in all capacities. As broadcasters—and the word broadcasting is try to be all things to all people, and we can't be. And I'm not sure that we could, and certainly in recent years, we cannot do that. We decided that we have to focus our attention in certain areas of content, government being one of them, education being another, and go a little more deeply into those. There are organizations out there that specialize in those, Voice of San Diego came along, six, seven, eight years ago, doing just that at the right time. So, if they can help us to be a little bit better, and we serve our audience better, then they come to turn to us, and just because it isn’t our reporter out there, I don't think that that matters any more as long as we can trust that their work is good, and we have safeguards in place to make sure that there are checks and balances in anything that we share.
Steven Waldman: Can you see a moment where the broadcasters will be paying the nonprofit groups in a meaningful amount?
Greg Dawson: You know, and I want to explain a little bit of our arrangement because it has gotten a lot of attention: The fact that some money is going from us to Voice of San Diego. I mentioned we found sponsorships, and really, it's just their share of that sponsorship. I don't look at it as us paying for content; we are jointly producing content; we both spend money to do that, and the idea was to go out and maybe find those civic leaders or corporations—kind of the PBS model that they just want to sponsor good work. And if we can tap into that in a non-traditional advertising way, it can help to sustain this kind of project and hopefully to even expand it.
Laura Walker: I would say I think it's an important piece of the puzzle, but it's not going to solve, by any means, the whole issue. One of the things that we’re doing, in addition to the School Book thing, with "The New York Times" was we recently entered into an agreement with the state of New Jersey to purchase four of the public radio stations there, and we did that not just because it gives us more reach, but more importantly because we felt that New Jersey, in particular, was really suffering from a diminution of news coverage. And so, we are partnering with New Jersey Spotlight, which is a wonderful online news gathering organization, and a few other online and newspapers to be able to provide stronger New Jersey coverage to everyone there. And so, I think that's a model. Although we all — and I do think it will help us to all raise more money philanthropically and from sponsorships.
Coriell Wright: I just wanted to raise one quick point, and I think that these types of partnerships can be extremely beneficial in helping broadcasters fill in the gaps and also getting further distribution to new start-ups. The one thing that I would caution is that if at some point broadcasters completely outsource their news production to these startups—they lay off reporters in their own team and are relying on these new nonprofits because they think one of the beautiful things about these new emerging companies is that they can fill in the gaps of broadcasters but also challenge them and offer some competition and make them do better. So that's the one note of caution that I would add about those sort of arrangements.
Jonathon Blake: I just wanted to add that I think that there is a sort of a spectrum of efforts, the San Diego one being the most formal, most— perhaps the most—the best developed. But I just talked to a few of the clients whom I represent today and found out that one who is in a border town in Texas is working across the border to the Spanish language community on the other side, and there is business flowing back and forth; there is reporting flowing back and forth. I'm not sure that would incidentally get picked up in the disclosure reports that you are looking for. I also talked to another who is just starting a Hispanic newscast in Kirksville, Missouri, and one of the challenges with a lot these things is in smaller markets, they have smaller resources. They can't do the same things as done in others, and if there is a sort of one-size-fits-all judgment, it is going to shortchange a lot of stations in smaller markets who are really doing good things.
Steven Waldman: The— it sounds like one of the premises of these public-private partnerships that involve nonprofits is that the nonprofits have their own sources of revenue since it’s not going to be 100% covered by the commercial. Laura, would you say that the current—the current spending in the philanthropic sector, the foundations, the individuals, is it enough to support what we’re talking about in local news?
Laura Walker: No. And we need to all do a better job, I think, of going out there and raising more money because we're not serving them—we're doing the best we can, but we're not serving the needs enough. And I think that, you know, there is a tremendous need for more boots on the ground, more reporters, graduates of programs like all of you in this room. And, you know, we're all facing huge economic challenges. So, I would call on the philanthropic community to really step up to fund not just the study but the doing of the journalism.
Steven Waldman: Now of course, both foundations and individuals already make careful decisions about who they give their money to, and they are already giving them the money to causes that they consider very, very worthwhile. Why should they start thinking of journalism as something that they should shift money to when they are obviously already supporting some very worthwhile causes already?
Laura Walker: Well I think that journalism is at the root of informing our citizens and our democracy, and if we don't have that information or if there is a local community that just does not have the resources to investigate because we have to hold our Governments accountable. We have to be—it's expensive, also, to have the kind of expertise to look at the data, to sift through it, to add the journalism. And I think also philanthropists who are interested in issues are interested and should be interested and many of them are—people like Ford and people like Knight and people like the Revson Foundation who is supporting our local efforts in New York are interested in getting the story out, and they will also get recognition.
Steven Waldman: I think we have some questions from the audience and internet.
William Lake: We do. “What steps,” the question is, “what steps is the FCC taking to permit underwriting rules to expand to provide noncommercial stations with at least some opportunity to improve their financial viability?” There is one recommendation which we mentioned that in the report that the third party fundraising rules be changed with respect to some non commercial stations, but I'll turn the question into one for the panelists: “are there reforms or changes that you would recommend in our underwriting rules that would be consistent with the noncommercial nature of, noncommercial stations yet might improve their financial liability?”
Laura Walker: I think underwriting is an essential part of the revenue mix for all of public media, and I guess that I would encourage the FCC to look at those guidelines to see A: How they can be clarified. Because sometimes we're really kind of confused about what it really means and also to see if there are some ways that we can together within our nonprofit status, both on air and on the internet, to really be able to raise more money from—from sponsors.
Jonathan Blake: Well, we have public station clients—one of them Arizona State I'm proud to say. And one of the confusing things that we have found is that among the public broadcasting community we represent, different, stations want different things. And it's hard to reconcile the desire to not be too commercial for which many believe is a very high priority with those who want to liberalize. So, I really can't comment on what the outcome ought to be, but I can say that there is a lot of diverse opinion about what the outcome ought to be.
William Lake: And any other —
Steven Waldman: The—Mr. Blake, I wanted to return to the idea of the broadcaster obligations. During the testimony that we took for this report, we had—some argued—some broadcasters argued that there is no public interest obligation—that the obligation is to provide interesting programming, and the market would determine based on viewership patterns whether or not it’s worthwhile or not.
Steven Waldman: That is not, as I gather, the position that you are taking.
Jonathan Blake: Right.
Steven Waldman: Why are you making the argument that there is a public interest obligation for broadcasters?
Jonathan Blake: Well, the clients that I represent, and they speak for many broadcasters, not all, feel that is their obligation—that that's part of the licensing process. I don't think that we have much disagreement. The other challenge in my seat is that with respect to smaller stations that have less resources that are not affiliated, that don't have the support of a national network, they can make a real contribution; they do make a real contribution. One of our clients, Alan Frank from Post-Newsweek, made the point that their little newspapers around the country that don't have the kind of coverage that many other newspapers do, but they serve a very valuable purpose. Now I’ve got kids in central Maine; they read that local newspaper religiously. And yet, you can't find out anything about very many issues that you would look for in a big city paper—a big bargain paper.
Michael J. Copps: I would just emphasize that one reason people have—broadcasters have a public interest responsibility is because the term "public interest,” “convenience” and “necessity" appears 112 times in the Telecommunications Act, so I think that it makes it pretty clear Congress expects us to—to do that, and best way to do that is to have some guidelines that people understand. I want to make two quick points on the disclosure. I was glad to hear Jonathan say what he said on the Chairman, and the Chairman that we're moving ahead on a streamlined disclosure thing but I want to underline what Coriell said also: that disclosure for the sake of disclosure doesn't get you too far down the road if you are going to incentivize people once this record is up on the internet to go look at it, they have to be confident that if they find the station that's not doing its public interest job, that there is some avenue of address or some way to fix that, and that's what goes back to the commission, and that goes back to having some kind of guidelines.
The second point on disclosure is that I would like to see it expanded, beyond where it is now. It’s very interesting: when we came up here a few minutes ago, there were bottles of water here, and somebody came up and said, “we don't want those on the TV screen; that would be product placement,” so we all have clear glasses of water now, which is fine, but you know when we get to, to what's on television, think of some of the political ads that you all have been exposed to in the last couple of years, $3 billion last year, a lot of these things, you will see this—this beautiful ad come to you that's sponsored by Citizens for Beautiful Skies and Amber Waves of Grain. You have no way of knowing that maybe that's a chemical company that's refusing to clean up a toxic dome or somebody that's dumping something into the Great Lakes or whatever.
So, why don't we just extend that disclosure? I mean if it’s important enough that we don't have a bottle of water or we don’t have a bottle of coke up here, isn't it just as important that people know who is trying to buy elections and who are running these ads so we can dig down a couple of levels below that Committee for Beautiful Skies and Amber Waves of Grain and maybe pick out a percentage if you give—you have contributed 20% or something like that. That name should be up there on the line so we the people and you the voters can see it. And finally, I’m taking too long here, but I appreciate the talk, and we have to find new ways for—to entertain a more philanthropic support, we have to find new mechanisms for nonprofits and all. But at some point this country has to have a rational reason, calm discussion about public media. We spend per annum, per capita $1.35 supporting public media, and right now, all of the talk on Capitol Hill is, “that's too much; let's get rid of that.” That was in Stockholm, Sweden last year where every household gets a bill for $300 to $400 to support public media, and media, Great Britain, lots of other countries—admittedly, their systems are different than ours and not exactly analogous, but we're doing so little in that regard, and if you bring it up here, just accused of all sorts of moral sins by the talking heads and raging cable and everything else but we do need to have that discussion at some point if we are going to have the kind of news and bureaus and coverage around the world and right here at home in Phoenix and in the local statehouse.
Steven Waldman: Laura, I wanted to ask you about the final point that you made related to the modern compact for public media because I'm not sure I understood exactly the full implications of what you were saying. What are the dangers that you see for public radio, public broadcasting in terms of the way that spectrum is used, and what are you suggesting be done about it?
Laura Walker: Well I think that the dangers right now are clearly that we don't have the kind of resources to do what we—what our mission challenges us to do. But my third point was really about the costs and the access that people have to public interest media. So, I am—I am fearful that the cost both on the provider side—we pay for every time somebody gets a podcast or a stream or whatever—and on the user side, we are using public media as part of your plan, your monthly plan, plus the visibility and the ability to get to public interest media when we're fighting more, you know, the large corporations and providers who are basically pointing us and will be pointing the public to certain kinds of information, and public media is just not going to be able necessarily to have the kind of visibility. So, I'm, I'm proposing that we discuss how and what. I don't know what the answer exactly is, and better people with better technical and other knowledge and many people in this room can contribute to this discussion, but the fact that the Communications Act really did help public media survive and thrive because it’s said it's important. We have to have free access; we have to have highly visible access for educational services and for media that’s in the public interest. What can we do in the mobile space? What can we do in the wireless—in the wireless space and the internet space to be able to protect that because it is who we are; it says something about who we are as a nation and what kind of information we need to support our democracy.
Steven Waldman: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Julius Genachowski: One thing: one quick note on that and then, a more general thought about what we're hearing from the panels: The quick thought is that there were some creative suggestions in the National Broadband Plan—I think some of which were in the I think were in the ink report about how to think about the issues, the important issues that you are raising going forward. And how to think about the spectrum that multiple public broadcasters have and particular markets have and whether there is a way to convert that into a long-term endowment for multi-platform public media, and those are discussions that I think are still worth having. But one of the things that's coming through these panels, I think, is the importance of innovation. We're at a funny time, just a couple of weeks ago, Apple, for the first time, became the highest valued company in the world. This was a company that in the 1990s everyone thought was done; it was a mess; it wasn't working. And at the time, when Steve Jobs finally came back, he gave an interview where he basically said, “we're going to out-innovate; we’re going to innovate our way out of these challenges.” And I think what we're hearing from these panels is saying something really important about the way the different stakeholders are taking on the very real challenges that we're also hearing about today. Whether it's innovative partnerships that we heard about in San Diego and New York and innovative uses of new technologies in platforms. I thought that the app that you did in New York for the hurricane is exactly the kind of thing that broadcasters should do and that more and more are doing—thinking about what really are the information needs of communities and how can we leverage our resources in multiple distribution platforms to get them what we need.
I think that your larger point about—during this time of transition thinking about what we want the communications landscape to look at in the future. This is made in one of the earlier panels too: thinking about how spectrum can be best utilized for these purposes. You know, yes, we need to think very carefully about our history and think very clearly about the opportunities of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum which could be part of your answers, and I'm proud of what we've been doing together on unlicensed: we did the first—the largest release of unlicensed spectrum, white spaces , in over 15 years. We just recently set up a white space database administrator to really get it going, and of course, we're advocating that the legislation that Congress will eventually adopt gives the FCC the flexibility it needs to make sure we have a spectrum infrastructure for the future that serves all of these different needs. And then finally, on innovation, I want to acknowledge the innovative approach that free press and John Blake and the broadcasters he represents have taken to just working through these policy challenges—both the willingness to work together into thinking whether their areas of common ground and also to have that focus on opportunities of new technologies to help inform through electronic-based disclosure.
We heard that, I think one of the earlier panels as well, one of the things that government can do is make sure that the vast amounts of information that it collects for very good reason that's public information, so not proprietary information, is available online in machine-readable, searchable formats that are accessible to third parties, and it's a great example of the ways in which sunshine is the best disinfectant, and I want to acknowledge and applaud your efforts to say, “you know, this makes sense for the country; let's see if we can work together on an approach that can be implemented so I thank you for that.
Steven Waldman: Thank you very much to this wonderful panel. Thank you. So as the third panel is coming up, we'll remind you that questions can be sent in by email to email@example.com. The hash tag on twitter is #FCClive. The URL for the report itself is fcc.gov/infoneedsreport. And again, the index cards are available for people in the audience who have questions. FCC staff, will you wave your hands and show the index cards. And if you have any questions, please pass them to the FCC staff, and they will pass them forward. Okay. Thank you very much. We're going to start right away on the third panel. We are going to start the third panel, please, with Leonard Downie, who is the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School and is the former Executive Editor of the Washington Post, and one of the most respected newspapers of our—editors of our generation.
Leonard Downie Jr.: Thanks, Steve. Two years ago, I co-authored an earlier report published by the Columbia University Journalism School, entitled “The Reconstruction of American Journalism,” about all the changes going on in the media, and since then, a growing number of newspapers and television stations have been working to transform themselves into multimedia news operations, to become increasingly interactive with their audiences and to find new sources of revenue. But their primary basis of advertising revenue have continued to erode as you have heard references to all morning, and so they are still cutting costs—including the reporting staffs and other resources that they need to cover local news aggressively. And one way in which some of these news organizations, as you’ve heard this morning, were trying to make up for some of that shortfall is increasing collaborations both with other for-profit news organizations and, as you have heard, with nonprofit startups. For example, the eight largest newspapers in the state of Ohio share all of their coverage of that state every day. And just down the street from here, the Arizona Republic, its AZ Central website and the NBC affiliated television station all owned by Gannett have completely merged their news operations into a single, multi-media news operation.
As you heard earlier from Greg Dawson, the Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit start-up, is collaborating on aggressive coverage of local public affairs with NBC 7 in that city. Another significant nonprofit start up, California Watch, distributes its award-winning investigative reporting to dozens of newspapers and broadcast stations throughout the state who each pay a small fee to California Watch for that content. Two of the largest nonprofit digital news sites, ProPublica based in New York and the Center for Public Integrity based in Washington, collaborate on investigate reporting with numerous national and local news outlets throughout the country. With relatively recent funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, groups of public radio stations in seven regions of the country are now collaborating with each other and National Public Radio on in-depth coverage of locally important subjects ranging from education and the environment to economic development and border issues. Among the most promising news coverage collaborations are those initiated by a still small but growing number of university journalism schools, and there are many examples of that right here at Cronkite. Cronkite students work at intern reporters covering Phoenix and its suburbs for The Arizona Republic and AZ Central. At the Cronkite News Service, as you have heard, students working under seasoned professional journalists in the Cronkite faculty. In CNS, newsrooms here and in Washington D.C., provide local, state, and national news to about 30 newspapers and broadcast stations throughout Arizona. Just down the hall from here, in their own state of the art television newsroom and studios, other Cronkite student journalists produce Cronkite News Watch, a half-hour local news program broadcast four evenings away—four evenings a week on this television station.
Cronkite also is the home of National News 21 student reporting project funded with grants from the Knight and Carnegie Foundations. Each year, students at Cronkite and at journalism schools, from around the country participate in a teleconference spring seminar here to prepare them to carry out an in-depth, multi-media investigative reporting project on a timely subject during the summer here at a newsroom at Cronkite. Stories in this year's project, a national investigation of American food safety, are being published this week by the Washington Post, MSNBC.com and the I-Watch website for the Center of Public Integrity in Washington with wider distribution to begin next week. Other journalism schools, from Columbia, New York to the University of California at Berkeley, carry out regional News 21 reporting projects each year. And they and some other journalism schools also produce daily local and state news coverage used by local newspapers and television stations. The University of Maryland, for example, operates news bureaus of student reporters in the Maryland capital of Annapolis and in Washington. The Medill School at Northwestern has bureaus in Washington and Chicago. And Florida International University collaborates with the Palm Beach Post and Florida Sun Sentinel in the South Florida News Service. The Columbia Journalism School, New York University in the city of New York and City University of New York each operates students-staff, news bureaus and neighborhood news blogs in several bureaus of New York City—several boroughs of New York City. There are also investigative reporting projects involving student journalism schools like Columbia, Northeastern, Boston, American and Wisconsin universities, among others, which partner with local print and broadcast outlets. These schools are producing journalism in addition to teaching it. And many more could and should be doing so.
One next step recommended by the Waldman report would be philanthropic funding for residencies, like those at university teaching hospitals, for recent journalism graduates to help staff local news and investigative reporting operations run by journalism schools in collaboration with media. Philanthropic foundations, led by the Knight Foundation, have played an important role in this in addition to their support of other nonprofit neighborhood cities and regional digital news sites around the country, as you’ve have heard this morning. Although foundations have not always engaged in long-term funding, their continued support, especially from the hundreds of community foundations around the country, could be crucial in helping the most viable of these financially fragile startups to achieve mixed income sustainability. The possibility of some new kind of government assistance for local news coverage, which was recommended in our Columbia Journalism School report, remains quite controversial. But there are possible models obviously for such assistance in the national endowments, the National Science Foundation and the FCC's own Universal Service Fund.
And more could be done with current funding of public broadcasting. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which channels tax dollars to public radio and television, has begun to encourage more news coverage by public media with new targeted grants. But only a small percentage of public radio stations and very few public television stations currently offer their communities meaningful local news coverage.
Unlike WNYC or KJZZ, too many stations give their local news low priority for their limited resources and are moving too slowly to—towards resource sharing collaborations with other local media. As the Waldman report recommends, the CPB needs more flexibility to help more public stations to cover more local news. But, perhaps it's also time for the CPB to add some stick to its carrots. As Kevin Davis said earlier this morning, the Federal Government should also clear up the tax rules to make it easier to start, convert to and sustain nonprofit news organizations in the same way it already does for so many other kinds of charitable groups that benefit local communities. Two years after publication of the Reconstruction of American Journalism, I find, as does the Waldman report, encouragement and innovation, entrepreneurial initiative and philanthropic support that could bolster local news coverage in a digital age. But they are also wearing signs of creation sometimes lagging too far behind destruction. The duplication in the Waldman report in so many of the so far unfulfilled recommendations in our report shows that much still remains to be done. Thanks.
Steven Waldman: Next we’ll hear from Jason Klein, who is the President and CEO of the National—of the National Newspaper Network.
Jason Klein: Good morning. I would like to thank the commission for its efforts to examine the information needs of communities and today's media landscape. I appreciate the opportunity to be with you today. The Newspaper National Network, also known as NNN, is a national sales and marketing arm for more than 9,000 print and online publications. We offer a one stop point of contact for national advertisers to make local ad buys across print and digital publications. My remarks today will focus on the working groups’ recommendation that a greater portion of federal spending, federal advertising spending, should be redirected to local news media. This change would help local news media gain traction and make taxpayers spending more cost-effective. As outlined in the report, the U.S. Government spends roughly $1 billion per year on advertising, but its spending disproportionately goes to national ad buys. In fact, only 15% of the U.S. Government's ad spending goes to local media. And some U.S. Government agencies devote as little as 4 or 5% to local media purchases. In contrast, commercial advertisers spend twice as much or, on average, 30% on local media ad buys. The Federal Government's ads-spending decisions reflect a bias towards national media, particularly network television. Why?
Historically, network TV has been an easy way for national advertisers to reach a broad range of consumers. However, what may not be widely known is that organizations have emerged, including NNN, that specialize in making it easy and cost-efficient for national advertisers to develop and execute a local media ad strategy. A local ad strategy enables advertisers to take advantage of the unique geographic skew that all products and services have. Consider, for example, an ad campaign relating to diabetes. The incidence of diabetes varies tremendously across the U.S. The CDC has actually identified a diabetes belt of 644 counties in 15 states. Last year, Insulin was prescribed about 210 times per 1,000 persons in Charleston, West Virginia but only about 70 times per thousand persons in San Francisco, California. That's a three-fold difference. An ad budget based on purely national media would overspend in San Francisco and under-deliver in Charleston. The U.S. military spends 90% of its advertising dollars on national media and just 10% on local media. The Federal Office of National Drug Control Policy spends 95% on national media. Instead of over saturating national media, a better balance of local and national media would target the communities and audiences most interested in a campaign. This would allow the U.S. Government to realize significant cost savings and be more effective. Of course, any shift in government ad spending to local media should be driven by principles of sound media planning and content neutrality and not subject to political manipulation. The working group has cautioned that Government purchase decisions must be implemented in a way that is nonpolitical.
We agree with this principle. As a practical matter, the government’s ad spending decisions are shaped by professional advertising agencies that base these decisions on analysis of audiences and media effectiveness rather than media content. This can and should continue. Federal officials need not make granular decisions on specific media placements. We believe that it is entirely appropriate for top government ad spenders to direct their ad agencies to simply review their budget allocation and explore whether there are cost efficiencies and other benefits of increasing ad spending across the local media—including newspapers, TV, and local websites. As the working group report noted, increases in local ad spending are important to sustaining the news operations of local media outlets. The U.S. Government has a $1 billion ad budget and spends only 15% on local media. If the Government increases ads spent from 15% to 30%, the same level of the commercial counterparts, it could provide approximately 150 million dollars per year in additional revenue for local news organizations. This additional revenue to local media could provide a public benefit by greatly increasing opportunities for investment in local journalism and community newsrooms. Thank you for this opportunity, and I look forward to your questions.
Steven Waldman: The next presentation will be from Paul Giguere; he’s the President of the National Association of Public Affairs Networks. CSPANS
Paul Giguere: Thank you, Steve. And thank you. It's a privilege to be here today. I’d like to take a step back and bring us back to a fundamental level. We live in a democratic society whereby the rules that we all agree to live by are crafted by us the citizenry. We select the people from our neighbors to represent us and serve in the public interest to develop, implement and enforce those rules. But in order for this system to work effectively, we all need a reliable, nonpartisan and nonpoliticized way to monitor, understand, and interact with the Government we elect. That's what is missing today. As the FCC report clearly indicates, we are experiencing a crisis in state house reporting. Capital press rooms have emptied out, and many of the sources that have stepped in to fill the void have blurred those lines between reliable news and partisan opinion. This is the area that my colleagues and I have worked to address. Against considerable odds, nonprofit corporations in several states have established independent, nonpartisan, state public affairs networks or spans which provides C-span style coverage of all three branches of state Government on multiple distribution platforms. House and Senate sessions, executive and legislative hearings and meetings, Supreme Court oral arguments, press conferences, election coverage, forums and other public policy events happening all around the state are part of the daily life of a span. And when state Government is faced with a crisis, these networks move into overdrive. For example, Wisconsin-I provided over 300 hours of coverage during the political upheaval this spring in Madison, including gavel to gavel coverage of the historic 69-hour legislative floor session and mass demonstrations inside and outside the capitol.
And during a political crisis in Connecticut several years ago when the Governor was forced to resign, it was the Connecticut network that chronicled every step of the process. But it is the everyday monitoring function of these networks which is critical, with most providing more than 2,000 hours of primary source coverage per year. Networks like Gavel to Gavel Alaska supply a vital daily link when distances separate many citizens from their state capitol. And this summer, on top of everything else they were doing, the Florida channel took its cameras to 26 cities around the state to provide live coverage of the legislature's redistricting hearings. The Ohio Channel is a pioneer in making digital archives of Government embeddable and searchable by using the text from their closed captioning. Washington State’s TVW will handle over 2 million individual views of their live and archive streaming video—a 350% increase since 2008. Many of these networks supplement their gavel to gavel coverage with produced programming—programs to report on the daily activities at the capitol and to provide context to a very complicated governmental process. Spans also provide unparalleled view into the state electoral process.
In the last election cycle, CTN provided direct access to almost 100 events around the state, including live coverage of the state nominating conventions, debates, forums, editorial board interviews, discussions with candidates and live election night coverage. It's important to note that although these networks operate in a highly partisan environment, they are universally viewed as nonpartisan and highly trusted resources. The road to get here has not been easy. And in many states, the path to a fully realized span is still unattainable. There are currently four state networks modeled after C-Span but the traditional funding and carriage model provided by cable. The rest of us rely on funding by state governments, operating at arm’s length from the state Government but must negotiate for carriage in a regulatory environment which up to the printing of this report, did not contemplate our existence. In Connecticut, CTN was only achieved after multiple protected battles with the industry. In Wisconsin, only one of the major carriers has stepped up to carry and Fund WIS-I, leaving a major gap in citizen access. Ironically, people in far-flung countries could watch the WIS-I’s coverage of the events in Madison on Al-Jazeera, but half the people of Wisconsin could not. For all of us carriage on Dish or Direct TV remain a nonstarter. With no effective way of applying political pressure at the state level, it's been difficult to bring them to the table at all. So the continuing destination of the State Capital Press Corps point to a failure in some ways of the nonprofit model and performing this critical government accountability function. The time for a profound and historic change in citizen engagement is now. We believe that with the participation of the telecommunications industry, the continued support of the FCC, coupled with the best practices and years of experience from existing public affairs networks, that historic change is within our reach. Thank you.
Steven Waldman: Finally, Craig Parshall is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Religious Broadcasters.
Craig Parshall: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioner Copps, Steve Waldman and Mr. Lake as well. It's a privilege being here. My organization, National Religious Broadcasters, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that really is the preeminent group that represents the interest of Christian communicators; that would include Christian radio stations, television stations and networks, webcasters, publishers and a whole allied army of support organizations as well as nonprofit charities, relief groups and churches with major media ministries. And I was here today to make a pitch for a concept that our organization has believed in for some time, and we're not alone in this; there are other organizations that believe in this as well. We share the idea that that there should be a technical but highly substantial FCC rule change allowing noncommercial radio stations and television stations to actually spend some time on air substantially altering their programming date to bring on 501(c)(3) groups, worthy groups that provide a host of services to communities, and then let them do fundraising.
But that’s prohibited, perhaps in the specific waiver, and that has become a problem. I was prepared to make that pitch, and then Chairman Genachowski made his opening remarks and basically supported that idea, and so he stole my thunder, and Mr. Chairman, you can steal my thunder that way, any way that you would like, in the future with similar propositions. But let me—I do know better than simply to recite what Mr. Waldman's report said—how they described this particular rule change. We still have yet to see what the permutations of that would be. But here's what his report indicated. National religious broadcasters and others have argued that the FCC should allow noncommercial stations to devote a small amount of airtime, up to 1% per-annum, to help fundraise for charities and other nonprofits. And in some cases, local charities in the air can be useful in informing residents about problems in their communities; allowing such efforts can help stations achieve their public service or religious commissions.
We recommend that the FCC consider allowing stations and programmers that are not grantors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, such as most religious broadcasters, to spend up to 1% of their airtime, that’s per year, for charities and other nonprofit third party nonprofit groups. The broadcasters should disclose how this time is being used, including how much is actually helping the charities in local communities so the FCC can be make an assessment about the efficacy of this experiment. We are honored by Mr. Waldman's recommendations as well as his working group and the kind words that Chairman Genachowski indicated about the concept in general. Now that having been said, let me venture off my prepared remarks to hit a few other areas that I think pertain to nonprofit media, and, of course, our interests as a group is nonprofit religious or faith-based media, but really these remarks, I think, go to the nonprofit media world in general. For suggestions, number one: let's take a look at the FCC rules on noncommercial sponsorship and underwriting. And in fact, that was touched on by one of the other panels. I was glad to hear that because the current rules about what you can do as a noncommercial station—i.e., you can identify your sponsor, but you can’t promote your sponsor. And when you look a little bit more microscopically what the differences between an avocation and promotion, the lines get very blurry and very difficult, so I think it's time to really take a hard look at either changing the rules or clarifying them or both.
Second of all, Congress and the White House: I think—and this is not particularly an FCC mandate, but Congress and the White House should really consider increasing and not decreasing the charitable deduction on tax returns. I think it's time to help nonprofit media and religious outlets that are nonprofit as well as secular nonprofit organizations, and in an environment of economic downturn that seems to be interminable, they need help. I think this is one practical way to do it. So please increase, don't decrease, the tax deductibility for charity giving straight across the board. Thirdly, consider the plight of noncommercial, low-powered television stations in the proposed spectrum reallocation. Full disclosure: some of these are Christian stations, but many are not. I think they all, however, have one thing in common: they all share the essence of local broadcasting, so let's not place them in jeopardy during the implementation of this national broadband plan and the spectrum reallocation. And number four, and this is—this is more abstract; this is not regulatory, but I'm in the School of Journalism so let's be somewhat philosophical about the idea of journalism. Let's start a dialogue about whether faith-based journalism is actually an oxymoron. Make no mistake, I don't believe it is an oxymoron; I think the idea of faith based journalism can exist, but I have a suggestion. We people in faith-based journalism will agree to make full disclosure about our religious presuppositions, about the influence of the Christian gospel and how we report news, if you, the secular media, will make full disclosure about all the presuppositions, social, philosophical and, yes, even religious, that might have some bearing on the accuracy or objectivity of your news reporting. I would love that dialogue and think it would probably be a pretty athletic discussion, so with that thank you again for the opportunity to address this panel.
Steven Waldman: I would like to talk first about the advertising component. First, I wanted to point out that in addition to the testimony from Jason Klein, a submission was made today, a letter to Chairman Genachowski signed by 34 different nonprofit news websites—actually, nonprofit and for profit, independent news websites, basically, endorsing the idea that the local broadcasters and the newspapers today have said which is to have, have a greater portion of the Federal ads go locally. And now, one of the points you made was that you thought that it would be perfectly possible to do this in a nonpolitical way. I want to probe that a little bit because I think that that's a really crucial point. As you know there have been times in American history where that was not the case, where advertising dollars and printing contracts were, in fact, used by government to help manipulate the press, so why are you so confident that this can be done in a way that would be really nonpartisan?
Jason Klein: Sure. There is a well established media community within the ad agency world, and in fact, the creative agencies these days and media agencies that really specialize in media placement and media planning they are apolitical and they can certainly look at an objective and implement it in a very apolitical way. The Government is a client, you know, and in the ad business, you have clients, and you’ve got agencies that help spend and advertise. The government is client to $1 billion in ad spending, and as client, it is perfectly able to establish certain objectives, and the media agencies are professionals; they can analyze all the data about regionality of brands ,about media effective, and come back a way to implement those objectives that is very apolitical.
William Lake: To follow-up on that recommendation in the report, I have one observation and a question from the audience. The observation is that in the last months of the digital television transition, under the leadership of then acting Chairman Copps, our principle preoccupation was making sure that as many people in the public as possible knew that the transition was coming and knew what they needed to do to be prepared for it. We had a substantial, but not a billion dollars, budget for that operation, and we did choose to place it in local media principally because we had information that the degree of unpreparedness differed greatly amongst the markets in the country and that it would be more efficient to place the advertising in the places where it was most needed. We think that was very successful; we did manage in the last six months to reduce to 1/6 the number of people who were unprepared for the DTV transition, so I think that that's an example of how that kind of activity can be very successful. The question from the audience is, “how much of the federal ad spending is directed today to radio, television, newspapers and new media?” Do we know that? The proportions, and is that information publicly available?
Jason Klein: It’s recorded; you have to go through a media reporting service. I don't have the—those figures at my fingertips, but basically the 85-15 split that I gave, the 15% includes local television and local newspapers and probably local internet as part of that, so it's really 85% focused on national media, and that is going to be predominantly network television.
Steven Waldman: Paul, on the state spans, just so everyone is familiar, the most commonly known model for a span is C-Span, and what is the financial model for C-Span? Why is C-Span able to sustain itself and grow?
Paul Giguere: C-Span is funded by the cable industry at a per subscriber rate. Their governance structure is set up so that the executives of each of the cable companies also sit on their Board of Directors. So, their success is really tied to, to cable itself, and they have also been successful in branching that into satellite as well, and so the challenge for all of us that—as I said, there are a few states that are reliant on cable for funding, and I would say that if you look back over years to when these networks started, for example, even in Connecticut or Washington state, when the networks first started, it wasn't their—their initial choice, their business plan, to be funded by the state; it really grew out of a necessity when over the years, there were the first few networks that were established were created just like C-Span, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, most recently, Wisconsin. But after that time period, there was not a strong willingness on the part of the, of the carriers to continue funding those. So, that was our first choice, but, it didn't turn out that way. So really, the networks that have grown since that time have grown through a variety of just tenacity and understanding that it's so important that we need to find a way of doing that. So, the grassroots movements were established in each of the states, and funding was established however we could get it.
Steven Waldman: Okay. And just full disclosure: we did ask the cable industry to participate in this session, and they declined.
Paul Giguere: I wanted to add to that that, you know, even in some of my testimony, it may seem as though we have an adversarial relationship with the telecommunications industry. We actually don't. The relationships have been very positive, but we have an opportunity here to engage the telecommunications try, and if you are out there watching, I would invite to you participate in this dialogue that we want to have to find a win-win here for the industry, for the people and for all of us that are in the trenches trying to get these networks started in all 50 states.
Steven Waldman: When your report—which was I think, what? More than two years?
Leonard Downie Jr.: Exactly two years.
Steven Waldman: Two years ago, which was a very significant report and influential to us, describe some of the same issues, including the deterioration of local reporting, but two years ago what’s changed since then? Has it gotten better or worse?
Leonard Downie Jr.: Both. As I said earlier, at individual newspaper and television stations, shrinkage continues to occur, and that's particularly affecting local news reporting in the way that you cite in your report because there are not the same number of reporters to cover education and local environment and so on as there were before. And that's what's gotten worse. On the other hand, the notion of accountability journalism investigative reporting, as Commissioner Copps is talking about earlier, remains a high priority for a lot of the remaining newspapers and television stations, and they are torquing their staff to continue to do that reporting the best that they can, so the motivation is there even when the resources aren't. But the most important development, I think, are these collaborations, and I agree with the witness earlier who said you don't want that to substitute for professional reporting. You know, one job to substitute for a lost job if you can avoid it, but the fact is those jobs are being lost, and therefore, the introduction of collaborations with nonprofits is really important, and I think universities are particularly important as sources of the nonprofits, nonprofit journalism, because they have a lot of the overhead, they have the facilities like the building that we're in now, they have the, the professional journalists and their faculty to guide the student reporters, so I think there is a real opportunity there for growth of that kind of local reporting.
Steven Waldman: I think we have a question from the audience.
William Lake: Yes. The proposal for public service media to use their airwaves to raise funds for other nonprofits is interesting. Can one of the panelists explain what this might mean for corporations, for public broadcasting qualified stations? The recommendation in the report is to do this for non CPB stations, and I welcome the views of any of the panelists as to whether it might be broadened.
Craig Parshall: Let me start off the response. When I read from the page from Steve Waldman's report, it did specifically say those that are not grantees of the corporation of public broadcasting. They are nonprofit, they are public, but they have a different dynamic and different mechanism in terms of funding and some different rules. So, I think that from a practical standpoint, we were addressing noncommercial stations other than the CPB supported ones simply from a practical standpoint in terms of how those regulations would play out. We’d welcome them to be considered for a similar rule change. It may have a different impact obviously.
William Lake: Another question, Craig, directed at you—I'm sure you have had this question before. The consistency with the First Amendment of any rule that would favor religious Christian broadcasting stations.
Craig Parshall: Yeah. There is no question about the fact that we have a First Amendment, and there are a variety of different interpretations. I spent a lot of my law career as a litigator, having judges disagree with me on what that is. But I will say this: that I think that the proposal is an example that we made is a proposal for all noncommercial stations, not just Christian ones. Our interest group, obviously, as the Christian broadcasters and communicators, but the rule that we proposed, specifically talking about here, would benefit all noncommercial stations, including secular ones. But, one of my small mission statements, or in participating in this panel, and it goes back to when I was first invited by Mr. Waldman to testify, at the original panel, was opening a dialogue about religious media because there are some preconceptions about what we do or do not do and what we're able or not able to do in terms of objective reporting, and some of the problems frankly have been those that we have created ourselves. So, I think that having the FCC recognize, as it did in the Waldman report, the contributions that religious media makes to communities, and I will just segway for a second by saying, you know, we make no bones about the fact that our Christian stations are not just news and information sources, which they are, but they are mission oriented, so they may not only report on homelessness, but they may then want to spotlight what you can do to change the homeless situation and some of the ministries that might meet those needs. Drug addiction and so forth. So while we're mission oriented, the FCC I think has maintained a benign neutrality which the Supreme Court requires them to do, and I am sure that they will continue to do that.
Steven Waldman: On that same question, one of the points of skepticism that we heard when we were considering this particular idea Is, “well, the religious stations will use that time to end up just helping other ministries rather than the soup kitchen or the international hunger charity.” What assurances — or why wouldn't that happen?
Craig Parshall: In preparing my remarks, and actually way before that time, I did some anecdotal research among our members, and I asked a number of our healthy functioning networks and stations, “what kind of ministries and social service agencies and causes would you like to support and have you had on for news and information purposes, but you've been prohibited from fundraising?” Things like Habitat for Humanity, drug rehab centers. homeless shelters, rescue missions, literacy programs, anti-crime programs. They cut across the wide breadth of all of the social needs that obviously we all have a concern in. The Christian ministries that would be supportive would obviously have a mission in addition to the needs that need to be met, but again, this rule would allow any nonprofit, noncommercial station to support any 501(c)(3) group that they chose—religious or otherwise.
William Lake: Question for Leonard Downie: You described the many innovations that Cronkite and other journalism schools are making, including getting the students into doing the news and not just studying about doing the news. I am sure funds are limited. Is there an innovation that would be next on your list if funds allowed? What's on the wish list that hasn't happened yet?
Leonard Downie Jr. I am not the digital innovator; Retha Hill is, so she may have a different answer to that question. I am interested in expanding the reach of the journalism that is being produced. So the Cronkite News half-hour, for instance, is on four days a week when students are in session, when school is in session. It would be better if that was year around. It would build a larger audience. It approaches the news differently than the commercial stations do without any criticism of them. It's more focused on public affairs than they are. So it would be good to have that resource available year-round. The residency idea which was in the report and which is being discussed by a lot of school deans to make schools of journalism more like teaching hospitals where you can have the resources to be able pay graduate students for work for a while in your news organization after journalism school as a transition to professional jobs elsewhere would not only benefit the school, but it would benefit the students and news organizations by giving them that weigh station on their way out—the same as doctors have in teaching hospitals.
Steven Waldman: Well I think we are, unfortunately, out of time. Thank you so much, members of this third panel. A—A few final notes: First, again thank you to the Cronkite School for inviting us here, hosting, allowing us to use these state of the art facilities. Thank you to the extraordinary panelists, many of whom traveled from across the country to come here. Thank you to the FCC staff and the Cronkite school staff that worked behind the scenes for quite a long time to get this. A final bit of disclosure for myself: this is actually my last week at the FCC. It's been—I'm going to be going to be going off to be a Visiting Senior Media Scholar at the Columbia Journalism School funded by the Knight Foundation to continue working on these issues.
And it has been a great honor to work at the FCC, and I know government does not always held in the highest regard these days, but my experience working as a government official, having been a cynical journalist poking at the eyes of government for most of my career, was really very enlightening, and the level of quality and dedication amongst the civil servants and the people at the FCC is really inspiring, and I, on more than one occasion, wished that the rest of the American public could see the dedication that the FCC staff shows. I am very also grateful to Chairman Genachowski for allowing me to work on this project. As I have said in the past, I think the country is very fortunate to have him as the Chairman during this very convulsive period of change where we really need to keep our eye on both the dislocations that are occurring in the old systems and the opportunities that present themselves. The final note in the report was that if we are able to preserve the positives that are coming about as a result of the technological changes while at the same time filling the gaps that people have spoken very eloquently about, we will end up, actually, with the best media system we have ever had—which I think is really true and a very worthwhile goal. So thank you very much for coming. Bye-bye. Oh, I’m sorry.
Michael J. Copps: I would like to say a last word, and thank Steve and thank Bill and everybody from the FCC—the staff who put this together plus all the people here at the school. You know, some of these issues strike us as very new issues, and in one context, they are, but at their heart, a lot of these issues are not really so new; a lot of these issues are a recurring theme through American history, and they all revolve around the democratic challenge that we’ve had since the very beginning of how you keep the people informed, how you sustain democracy and how you have a news literacy people—news literate people who can live up to their responsibilities and exercise responsible citizenship in our country. You go back and find George Washington and James Madison and Thomas Jefferson writing about this to one another and not only writing about it but acting upon it. And one of the first things that they did—and remember these are the authors of the First Amendment. One of the first things that they legislated was provisions to build post-roads, postal roads, the primary purpose of which was to be there to distribute newspapers throughout the country so that their fledgling young democracy, which was expanding by leaps and bounds, could somehow keep its citizens informed.
And they managed to do that. I think that was the same kind of thinking that went into when broadcast radio and television came along to making a pact with the broadcasters to make sure the information gets out in such a way as to serve the public interests, convenience and necessity. And so now, we have some of these issues with new media and the internet so that the tools change and the technology changes, but the democratic challenge remains the same. So, you all are part of a parcel of participating in that, and that's kind of this generation's summons to how do we get this infrastructure out here, and that includes broadband, and it includes broadband deployment and broadband adoption. It includes trying to see how we can nourish new avenues of support for new media, and for old media, so their old questions are fundamental to our democracy; we never get them 100% resolved, but we need to do a better job of getting them resolved right now just because of the urgency of the problems that we face, so I think this panel made a—an excellent contribution to the public dialogue, and I want to thank each of the members of the panel on behalf of the Chairman and on my behalf. And thanks to everybody for coming this morning.
Steven Waldman: Thank you very much.