The Newspaper Association of America disagrees with the sentiments shared by Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, regarding proposed regulatory changes that the Federal Communications Commission is considering for broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership in local markets (“Bad rule, bad tactics from FCC,” Op-ed, Jan. 5). The current cross-ownership ban, adopted nearly 40 years ago, is outdated in a media marketplace that has seen explosive growth and diversity of voices in this digital age.
Congress gave the FCC a mandate to review media ownership rules, and update them if necessary, every four years. More than a year ago, the FCC released a public notice for comment that described modest changes to the cross-ownership ban and identified the urgent need for new investments in local news operations.
No other medium replicates the original reporting and professional journalism produced at great expense by newspapers for the purpose of serving their local communities. This brand of vetted journalism is expensive. Newspapers are not asking the government for financial assistance. We are simply asking for regulatory relief by ending a four-decade ban that is preventing investments in local broadcast stations and newspapers at a time when community journalism needs support.
It is imperative for the FCC to take action and recalibrate this antiquated rule.