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Media Unions Say Consolidation Threatens Media Quality

Media Unions Say Consolidation Threatens Media Quality

Unions representing half a million media workers joined with Reps. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., Reps. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Jay Inslee, D-Wash., and Diane Watson, D-Calif., along with FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, to call for public hearings as the commission rethinks its media ownership rules.
In a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, the Unions say the recent appeals court decision “compels the FCC to re-examine its rule-making,” and has an opportunity “seek
broad-based public input where the impact of such regulatory changes will be felt the most – local media markets.”
According to the results of a poll of 400 workers from print and broadcast news, commissioned by four media unions, front-line media employees believe that industry
consolidation has compromised the quality of news reporting and that further media concentration would continue the trend. The unions that paid for the research were: The
Newspaper Guild, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians – both affiliates of the Communications Workers of America – the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Writers Guild of America, East.
Among the poll’s findings:
Nearly eight out of ten participants said there has been a lowering of journalism standards, with the most serious problem facing the industry being too much emphasis on the bottom line, in the view of 83 % of the participants.
Other top concerns include the influence of ratings or circulation on coverage and programming (82 %); a loss of credibility with the public (79 %); a declining quality of community coverage (74 %); incomplete reporting and errors (73 %), and too little focus on complex issues (72 %).
Many of the survey participants cited understaffing (73 %) and lack of time and resources to do a professional job (68 %) as trends that are threatening quality news reporting today.