The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is organizing a two-day symposium on the future and sustainbility of journalism. This is a visionary effort by what is normally a regulatory agency to help get ahead of the curve on the needs of a critical element of participatory democracy.
The FTC is taking comments for the record to inform the discussion at the Dec. 2-3 symposium and for ongoing analysis and ideas.
One of the critical new journalism constituencies are the owners/operators of emerging local online news communities (LONCs). From West Seattle to New Haven, and Minneapolis to Paulding County, Georgia, these operators are plowing new ground in participatory media, use of video, advertising forms and running a news organization on a shoestring. How can we help them?
Federal Trade Commission Chairman John Liebowitz gave this answer to Jeff Jarvis on the Media Talk USA podcast released Sept. 7, 2009:
"We do two things at the FTC: Competition and consumer protection. Both of those issues touch on the future of journalism, particular news in the era we live in. Right now, the news industry is in some form of crisis or turmoil and we want to ensure, because news is so important and journalism is so important to the functioning of a democracy, that it continues and we think that by holding a series of workshops and bringing together stakeholders -- bloggers, journalists, economists, university faculty -- who have thought about this issue, we might be able to come up with some ideas about what policy makers or lawmakers might think about doing, or refraining from doing, going forward."
What would you tell the FTC about advertising, privacy, antitrust and other forms of regulation?
Tracy Record, who co-owns the West Seattle Blog with her husband, has offered to draft a consensus statement. Please take a moment and send her your thoughts/URLs. If you contribute, she'll circulate a draft to you for comment and, if you like it, you can ask that your name be added to it.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
FTC and the Future of Journalism
From Bill Densmore: