Today’s Special

FCC Launches Initiative to Examine Future of Media

WASHINGTON — Today, the Federal Communications Commission launched an initiative on the future of media and the information needs of communities in the digital age. This initiative will examine the changes underway in the media marketplace, analyze the full range of future technologies and services that will provide communities with news and information in the digital age, and, as appropriate, make policy recommendations to the FCC, other government entities, and other parties.

“We are at a critical juncture in the evolution of American media,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “Rapid technological change in the media marketplace has created opportunities for tremendous innovation. It has also caused financial turmoil for traditional media, calling into question whether these media outlets will continue to play their historic role in providing local communities with essential news and civic information. With this crucial initiative, the FCC commits to fully understanding the fundamental changes underway in the media marketplace and examining what impact such changes may have for Commission policies, while vigorously protecting the First Amendment.”

The Commission issued a Public Notice posing preliminary questions that the FCC will consider as it prepares a report on the future of media in the digital age later in 2010. Initial topics under consideration include: the state of TV, radio, newspaper, and Internet news and information services; the effectiveness and nature of public interest obligations in a digital era; the role of public media and private sector foundations; and many others. The initiative will not include any effort to control the editorial content of any type of media.

The FCC also launched a preliminary Web site that will serve as an arena for public discussion on the future of media and any public policy recommendations. At launch, the Web site includes a forum for citizens and experts to weigh in on key questions, and an area for consumers to describe the health of, or problems with, media in their communities.

The public can participate in the proceeding via the traditional comment filing system, as well as the Future of Media Web site, All comments will be deemed part of the official record. The Commission will conduct interviews, review existing studies and hearing records, and may hold public workshops or hearings to elicit feedback and participation.

The effort is being led by former journalist and Internet entrepreneur Steven Waldman, who recently joined the FCC as senior advisor to Chairman Genachowski, and a working group of experts from throughout the FCC.