Newspaper Association of America calls on FCC to repeal ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, says rule suppresses newspaper investment, co-ownership produces more breaking news, investigative reporting
March 5, 2012
– The Newspaper Association of America called today for a full repeal of the 37-year-old ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership in comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
“Technology and market forces have moved light-years ahead of this outdated rule,” said Caroline Little, NAA president and CEO. “Consumers have more choices among media voices than ever. It makes absolutely no sense to keep a rule on the books that has shackled newspapers and broadcasters since 1975.
“In these times of challenge for the news industry, it is irrational and unwise to keep a rule that suppresses investment in newspaper companies,” Little added.
NAA submitted comments as part of the FCC’s 2010 Quadrennial Review of the broadcast ownership rule. NAA’s comments are supported by the FCC’s “Information Needs of Communities” report from July 2011, which documented the historic changes in the news industry and analyzed the effects of these changes on U.S. communities.
Over the past decade, the FCC’s own studies have consistently found that broadcast stations that are co-owned with newspapers produce more breaking news and investigative reporting compared to other broadcast stations in the same markets.
“This is not surprising, given that news reporting is in newspapers’ DNA,” Little said. “A repeal of this ban will generate investments in newspapers and broadcast stations, which will help sustain more local news and public affairs content across both mediums that greatly benefits local communities.”
In addition, NAA noted that the FCC’s goal of increased editorial and viewpoint diversity has been met now that 21st-century audiences have such a wide range of media and content choices. The Internet – including hyperlocal news websites, nonprofit journalism websites and news blogs – along with mobile platforms, and cable and satellite channels, together create a rich diversity of media sources and original content. The FCC’s cross-ownership ban is simply unsuited for today’s media marketplace.
“The government and Congress have been investigating for years how to ensure the future of journalism,” Little said. “Fully repealing this relic from a bygone era is an important step government can take to preserve high-quality journalism for the benefit of local communities.”
NAA is a nonprofit organization representing nearly 2,000 newspapers and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and Canada. NAA members include daily newspapers, as well as nondailies, other print publications and online products. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on the major issues that affect today's newspaper industry: public policy/legal matters, advertising revenue growth and audience development across the medium's broad portfolio of products and digital platforms. Information about NAA and the industry also may be found at www.naa.org.