Blog

Welcome to the Free Press blog! We post several times a week on everything from Internet access to free speech to media mergers, so check back often to see what we’re up to.

  • Broken Records

    December 9, 2011

    Media conglomerates continue to squeeze the life out of radio, and the Federal Communications Commission continues to facilitate the slow death.

    The New York Times recently reported that media giants Clear Channel and Cumulus Media are forming a “daily deal” alliance to compete with sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Clear Channel will run ads for Sweetjack, Cumulus’ daily-deals program, meaning radio personalities from both companies will endorse the business discounts in corresponding markets. In exchange, Clear Channel gets to add Cumulus’ radio stations to its iHeartRadio online listening service.

  • Seacrest In? What Happened to Comcast's Commitment to the News?

    December 9, 2011

    Yesterday I was as close to Ryan Seacrest as I'll probably ever get. I was quoted in a story in the New York Times about rumors Seacrest might succeed Matt Lauer as host of Today on NBC. The celebrity beat is not my normal bailiwick, but the Seacrest story raises some serious questions about Comcast's commitment to news.

    A year ago, when Comcast was pushing through its multibillion-dollar mega-merger with NBC (with an assist from future in-house lobbyist Meredith Attwell Baker), the company promised that it wouldn't interfere with the news operations. It didn't say anything about possibly abandoning them altogether.

  • Call Your Mayor: Stop the Journalist Arrests

    December 9, 2011

    After 10 journalists were arrested during the Nov. 15 NYPD raid on Occupy Wall Street, there was a flood of attention focused on press freedom issues. Articles were written, meetings were held and about a week later the NYPD issued a formal order telling its officers to stop interfering with the press. It felt like real momentum.

  • Verizon's Broadband Bunk

    December 8, 2011

    A letter to the editor of the New York Times from Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg had us scratching our heads at Free Press today.

    Seidenberg wrote to rebut an Op-Ed written by former White House technology adviser Susan Crawford, in which she states that the United States high-speed Internet marketplace suffers from a lack of competition, a problem that drives up broadband prices for American Internet users.

  • Congress to the FCC: Protect the Public Interest

    December 8, 2011

    The Federal Communications Commission is still mulling proposed changes to the rules that protect the public from media monopolies. But reports that the agency is considering handouts to broadcasters have compelled dozens of organizations to remind the FCC that its policies must benefit the public.

  • Verizon's App-Blocking Action

    December 6, 2011

    Verizon Wireless is at it again. Just months after it got busted blocking applications in the Android Market, the carrier confirmed it is restricting consumers' ability to download and use Google Wallet — the search giant's new mobile payment app — on the new flagship Galaxy Nexus phone.

  • Mobile Phones and the New Digital Divide

    December 6, 2011

    Colorlines' Jamilah King has been on the Net Neutrality and mobile beats for a while. But her new, important piece really ties things together. Its title, "How Big Telecom Used Smartphones to Create a New Digital Divide," pretty much says it all. 

  • Letter to the FCC: Make Diversity a Priority

    December 5, 2011

    The media have enormous power to shape our culture. Unfortunately, our mainstream media often perpetuate negative and harmful representations of people, especially women and people of color. So it’s not a coincidence that the people who own our country’s broadcast outlets are overwhelmingly white and male.

  • Nonprofit Journalism and the Need for Policy Solutions

    December 5, 2011

    For decades, some of the best journalism in America has been produced by nonprofit news organizations. Consider, for example, National Public Radio, National Geographic, the Associated Press, Consumer Reports, the American Spectator, Mother Jones and the Center for Public Integrity.

    But now, thanks to a strange intersection of tax law and media policy, nonprofit news has hit a roadblock.

  • Carriers Admit to Installing Hidden App

    December 2, 2011

    The cellphone spying saga is heating up.

    On Friday, Rep. Ed Markey joined Sen. Al Franken in demanding answers from Carrier IQ, the company that has worked with mobile carriers to install a hidden application that has the ability to secretly track nearly everything users do — including the keys they press, the numbers they dial and the websites they visit — on more than 140 million cellphones. Researcher Trevor Eckhart uncovered the secret app.

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good