Blog

  • Philly Papers Show That Media Policy Matters

    February 23, 2012

    February has been a heartbreaker of a month for people in Philadelphia who care about quality news, journalistic integrity and the future of our city’s daily papers.

    To start, the newsrooms of the two jointly owned dailies — the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News — will lose another 37 staff by the end of March to buyouts or layoffs, as announced last week. That will leave the Inquirer’s newsroom with 60 percent fewer staff members than it had in the late 1990s. And it shows. As a daily reader of the paper, I see how it's become a shell of its former self.

  • Senators to FCC: We Need Transparency Now

    February 23, 2012

    Primary season is in full swing and voters are being inundated with political advertising. Finding out who actually paid for all these ads is no easy task. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling ushered in a new era of deep-pocketed donors and gave them cover under innocuously named third-party groups and Super PACs.

    But yesterday eight senators sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski in response to the agency’s effort to increase transparency for television viewers in an election year. The group expressed full support for the agency’s proposal to require TV stations to place their public and political files online.

  • Mutant Broadband Bills Are Infecting Our Communities

    February 22, 2012

    Should communities have a right to decide how residents get online? It sounds like a simple question. It isn’t.

    The notion of self-determination is fundamental to our self-identify, our politics and the way we construct our communities. And while we all have different interpretations of what “the right to self-determination” means, most of us can agree that it’s a bad thing when governments try to take it away.

  • The Payroll Tax and the Public Airwaves: What's It All About?

    February 17, 2012

    Congress just voted on a bill that extends the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits. A significant provision will determine the future of a large portion of the public airwaves, or spectrum. That the New York Times gave this issue — ordinarily covered only in tech journals — front-page treatment speaks volumes.

  • Mike D: Fighting for Your Right to Get Online

    February 15, 2012

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offered no bonbons and forget-me-nots for AT&T this Valentine’s Day. On Tuesday, the SEC told AT&T and other telecoms that they must include a resolution supporting wireless Net Neutrality in annual shareholder ballots. The SEC found no merit in AT&T’s claim that such a resolution would “interfere with its network management practices and seriously impair its ability to provide wireless broadband service to its customers.”

  • Could the Latest News Corp. Arrests Lead to a U.S. Investigation?

    February 14, 2012

    The new year is not off to the rosiest of starts for News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. On Saturday five senior journalists at his London tabloid the Sun were arrested and charged with bribing public officials for information. This spate of arrests is the latest development in Scotland Yard’s ongoing investigation into News Corp.’s ever-expanding corruption scandal, which led to last summer’s closing of the tabloid News of the World, home to phone hacking and other underhanded approaches to sleuthing the news.

  • It's Up to Us to Protect the First Amendment

    February 9, 2012

    What happens when a journalist is arrested? How do we account for the stories that don’t get told, or the issues that don’t get covered because the press was restricted or behind bars? How do we measure the intimidation journalists feel, and the chill that police intervention places on freedom of the press? One gauge might be the U.S.’s recent drop in global press freedom rankings, down to number 47 worldwide.

  • Obama Joins the Democracy Fire Sale

    February 7, 2012

    President Obama succumbed late Monday to the dark logic of the Super PACs, instructing top West Wing staffers to help raise money for the so-called "independent" groups that have been successful in picking winners and losers thus far in 2012.

  • The SOPA/PIPA Money Trail

    February 7, 2012

    Before the Web blacked out to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — the Internet-censorship bills that faced massive opposition online — there was another SOPA blackout. This one came courtesy of the TV news networks, which almost uniformly ignored SOPA and PIPA until it was impossible not to.

    A Media Matters report showed that in the run-up to Jan. 18, when Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and other big sites joined millions of Internet users in one of the biggest online protests to date, only CNN mentioned SOPA and/or PIPA in its nightly news coverage.

  • The Onslaught Is Coming to a TV Near You

    February 6, 2012

    If Minnesotans flip on their TVs right now, they're likely to see at least one — a political ad slinging mud at a presidential candidate.

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good