FCC report finds major shortage of in-depth local journalism

New York Times | "The Information Needs of Communities" | Poynter.org

The Federal Communications Commission study says "the independent watchdog function that the Founding Fathers envisioned for journalism — going so far as to call it crucial to a healthy democracy — is in some cases at risk at the local level.” Written by former Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report journalist Steven Waldman, the report recommends making actual in-the-field reporting a part of the curriculum at journalism schools, steering more government advertising money toward local instead of national media, and changing the tax code to encourage donations to nonprofit media organizations. || Al Tompkins: National radio is covering news quite well, says the report, but the story on the local level is grim.

From the Associated Press story on the FCC study:

Responding to the findings, Ken Paulson, president of the American Society of News Editors, said that "while there are probably fewer reporters sitting in city council and municipal board meetings ... America's newspapers have not abandoned investigative journalism."

He said newspapers can do unprecedented investigative work using sophisticated high-tech tools. He cited database analysis and sophisticated online mapping programs, which can provide readers with detailed information about their individual neighborhoods.

> The case for collaboration in local investigative reporting

> Open letter to FCC about media policy for the digital age

> Can nonprofit local news sites survive?

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.

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