Too many cutbacks, too much consolidation

Posted by Todd O'Boyle on March 18, 2013

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Today the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism released its State of the Media 2013 report. The findings are staggering:

"Estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30% since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978."

Fewer reporters mean less accountability. Consider the abysmal state of statehouse journalism. Waves of consolidation have brutalized our statehouse news corps. Small wonder that the abuses of ALEC flew under the radar for so long -- there weren't enough reporters covering the legislative beat to catch the Kochs foisting an anti-consumer, anti-voter, and anti-environment agenda on the public.

But as sobering as these data points are, this report confirms what we already know. As consolidation has increased, the craft of journalism has declined.

Why, then, is the FCC poised to allow even more consolidation? We know more consolidation means more layoffs. In fact, even the Newspaper Association of America admits this. In a filing at the FCC supporting more consolidation it wrote that the "true value" of more consolidation "comes from the economies of scale of sharing news gathering resources."

We need a better media. Consolidation won't get us there.

Follow Media and Democracy team members @coppsm and @ttoboyle for updates.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Media and Democracy

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