Fighting Media Consolidation

Who owns the media has a huge impact on the stories that get covered in our communities.

Today absentee corporations own more and more of our media. Focused only on the bottom line, they are cutting journalists, gutting newsrooms and replacing meaningful debate with celebrity gossip and junk news. And many of these corporations are dodging the Federal Communications Commission’s ownership rules to snap up more outlets and create media monopolies in markets throughout the country.

The more independent outlets a community has, the more different viewpoints will be presented on the air. But what happens when there’s no one left to compete? When one company owns everything in your town, it can cut staff and not worry about getting scooped by a competitor. The fewer reporters there are on the streets, the less journalism there is on the news. The fewer DJs there are at your local radio station, the more automated computers and pre-programmed playlists take over.

The FCC is supposed to preserve a competitive media landscape and ensure that broadcasters are good stewards of the public airwaves. The agency sets limits on how much of your local media one company can own. These limits are supposed to encourage stations to compete with one another to provide quality journalism. But powerful media companies have the FCC's ear, and over the years it has become easier for these companies to snatch up more of our local airwaves.

Our ownership chart reveals exactly who owns what. It’s time to change what’s wrong with this picture. We need the FCC to serve communities, not corporations.

Blog Posts

  • Creating a Constituency for the News

    September 2, 2015
    There’s often a real distance between journalists and the communities they’re supposed to serve. To make local reporting more viable and vibrant, it needs to consider perspectives from outside the news industry.
  • You, Me and the News Media in New Brunswick

    August 28, 2015
    One of the best parts about the News Voices: New Jersey project is getting to meet with and listen to our members in the Garden State. And many of those members have told us that their communities aren’t getting close to enough local news coverage.
  • Proof That No News Is Not Good News

    August 20, 2015
    We asked our New Jersey members to tell us how they consume news, what issues they care about, and how well they feel local media reflect their communities. More than 300 people responded — and their answers were telling.
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Press Releases

  • AT&T-DIRECTV Merger Still Doesn't Serve the Public Interest

    July 21, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FCC is poised to grant AT&T's proposed acquisition of DIRECTV. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler subsequently issued a statement confirming that he would circulate for a full Commission vote an order proposing approval of the deal.
  • Planned Charter Mega-Merger Does Nothing to Benefit Customers or Boost Competition

    May 26, 2015
    WASHINGTON — Charter Communications on Tuesday announced plans to acquire Time Warner Cable in a deal valued at $56.7 billion. Charter also confirmed that it would acquire Bright House Networks, a smaller cable company, for $10.4 billion.
  • Verizon-AOL Merger Makes No Sense

    May 12, 2015
    WASHINGTON — Verizon Communications plans to buy AOL for $4.4 billion, according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. The deal is the telecom giant's latest bid to expand its business to include mobile video and advertising services. If finalized, Verizon would also take control of AOL's online news sites, including Engadget, The Huffington Post and TechCrunch.
More »

Resources

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News from Around the Web

  • Free Press Launches Program to Engage New Jersey Residents and Local Newsrooms

    Newspaper Association of America
    August 6, 2015

    A new initiative in New Jersey aims to change the way local residents engage with newsrooms throughout their communities. Free Press is the organization behind News Voices: New Jersey, an 18-month project designed to create relationships among local media outlets and concerned residents for the sake of sustainable, quality journalism.

  • Lobbyists for Big Media Offer Lawmakers Free Television Advertisements

    The Intercept
    August 6, 2015

    Do you support the troops? So does your local congressman! And he'd like to tell you all about it using a “public service announcement” aired for free on your local television station.

  • The FCC Is About to Approve the AT&T-DIRECTV Deal

    Washington Post
    July 24, 2015

    Federal regulators are preparing to approve AT&T's $49 billion bid to purchase DirecTV, a mega deal that joins the country's largest satellite TV firm with the second-biggest provider of cellular service.

Learn More

  • Covert Consolidation

    When you turn on the nightly news, you expect to find competing viewpoints and different perspectives from one station to the next. But in communities across the country, stations that were once fierce competitors have cut staff and merged their newsrooms, in many cases airing the same content on multiple stations in the same market. You can try to change the channel, but all you'll see is the exact same newscast.

  • Rupert Murdoch Scandal

    There are many reasons the scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has riveted public attention around the world. It's a story that features all of the classic elements: crimes, betrayal, abuse of power and even a cover-up.

  • Money, Media and Elections

    The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision launched a new era of big-money politics. The wealthiest 1 percent now has even more power to pick and choose our nation’s leaders. And they’re spending the bulk of this money on televised political ads designed to mislead voters. (Click here to see Free Press' infographic depicting this dysfunctional dynamic.)

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good