Our Union Calls on the FCC to Protect Quality Journalism and Good Jobs
Mar 19, 2012
The Communications Workers of America and its media sectors are urging the Federal Communications Commission to reject changes to broadcast media ownership rules unless the outcome will encourage greater diversity and competition in news coverage and other local programming.
"CWA members know firsthand how consolidation has harmed the local news and information market for citizens," CWA, The Newspaper Guild-CWA and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians said in commentssubmitted to the FCC this week.
CWA and the media sectors represent more than 45,000 journalists, technicians, printers, producer, customer service and sales representatives and other workers in the media industry. Tens of thousands of other media workers haven't survived the industry's massive job cuts over the past decade.
During that time, consolidation of newsgathering has "run rampant" and newscasts on stations with shared newsrooms have become indistinguishable from each other, NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce said. "This makes a mockery of the FCC's longstanding media goals to promote diversity, competition and localism in exchange for a broadcaster's right to use the public airwaves," Joyce said.
Any further erosion of rules governing joint ownership of TV stations and local newspapers also must be rejected, CWA said. "Most consolidations are being done for efficiencies and that means less content, fewer journalists and less diversity in both content and staff," TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said.
The solution is to reward content creators, leading to more jobs and more original information being produced, be it for TV, newspapers or online. "CWA wants to save news organizations and encourage the growth of new ones," CWA said in its comments to the FCC.
Among specific recommendations to prevent further consolidation and the damage it causes, CWA said the FCC:
- should prohibit shared service agreements (SSAs) that allow stations to share crews to cover news events.
- should bar SSAs that allow one station to eliminate most or all of its news employees and run news produced by a competing station.
- should not consider any relaxation of rules until the Commission properly addresses the lack of ownership opportunities for people of color and women.
"CWA firmly believes allowing more consolidation or concentration of media ownership would irreparably harm ownership opportunities for women and people of color," CWA said.
The Signal: March 16, 2012