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The Internet Is Killing Local News, Says the FCC 271

Posted by timothy
from the locality-locality-locality dept.
Art3x writes "The rise of the Internet has led to a 'shortage of local, professional, accountability reporting' (Here's the AP's version) says a 475-page report by the FCC, and the consequences could be 'more government waste, more local corruption,' 'less effective schools' and other problems. Even though there are more media choices today than ever, newspapers have been laying off reporters, leaving a gap that is yet to be filled."
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The Internet Is Killing Local News, Says the FCC

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  • Yeah, that's it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:27AM (#36416728) Homepage Journal

    It's not that the majority of local businesses are multinational franchises with no need for local advertising.

    • Re:Yeah, that's it (Score:5, Informative)

      by poetmatt (793785) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:38AM (#36416784) Journal

      Lets see, if I make a trip outside my local area, working for a multinational. Am I going to want to go to the local news company's website (so the internet is promoting local news), or am I going to go to another news website, although both obviously don't mean reading the local news or watching tv news.

      Is that really a surprise in this day and age?

      Meanwhile, shitty/shoddy reporting has killed news in general, not shortages of staff. Considering that they wont' even cover tough topics pretty much sealed the deal for any form of regular news website being considered legitimate or worth a glance. I'd sooner read fark than new york times, since at least I can get more info from fark, such as when they actually covered iran protests and NYT/CNN/Fox news/ABC/NBC/AP were nowhere to be found. Only Al Jazeera has been stepping up as a news org.

      • Re:Yeah, that's it (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:24AM (#36416958)

        Meanwhile, shitty/shoddy reporting has killed news in general, not shortages of staff. Considering that they wont' even cover tough topics pretty much sealed the deal for any form of regular news website being considered legitimate or worth a glance. I'd sooner read fark than new york times, since at least I can get more info from fark, such as when they actually covered iran protests and NYT/CNN/Fox news/ABC/NBC/AP were nowhere to be found. Only Al Jazeera has been stepping up as a news org.

        Personally, I have long since ignored local news media outlets because of the level of bias they all seem to carry. There are more choices for national and international news, you can find more sources online and sources based overseas, but here in America most of the media is pushing the same agenda - why would I waste my time watching what are essentially 20 minute news-based political cartoons?

        The internet didn't kill local news or newspapers, they killed themselves by deciding to stop reporting news and start shaping and creating news.

        • Re:Yeah, that's it (Score:4, Informative)

          by butalearner (1235200) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @12:21PM (#36418482)

          Personally, I have long since ignored local news media outlets because of the level of bias they all seem to carry. There are more choices for national and international news, you can find more sources online and sources based overseas, but here in America most of the media is pushing the same agenda - why would I waste my time watching what are essentially 20 minute news-based political cartoons?

          The internet didn't kill local news or newspapers, they killed themselves by deciding to stop reporting news and start shaping and creating news.

          My local internet-only news is actually quite good, but the TV news is exactly as you say. There's usually brief segments of news, weather, and sports, followed by the lengthy feature story about how likely I am to be murdered if I sell something on Craigslist or how terrorists can make my computer explode if I share too much personal information on Facebook.

  • Seems to me the FCC doing a 475 page report on something that was pretty obvious is Government waste.
    • Re:475 Page (Score:5, Informative)

      by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:50AM (#36416820) Journal

      It's not a waste, since that's not the results of the report. Let me help out.

      How the Internet Has Improved Journalism
      ---
      Greater Depth
      Improved Quality of Commentary and Analysis
      Enabling Citizen Engagement
      Speed and Ease
      Expanding Hyperlocal Coverage
      Serving Highly Specific Interests
      Cheaper Content Distribution
      Cheaper Content Creation
      Direct Access to Community and Civic News

      Sound different from TFS?

      Yep. Same report. Time to fork slashdot to make it less inflammatory. They took the only concern, "lack of clarity how well trained bloggers are" and made it into a siren favoring Big Media.

      • Re:475 Page (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:47AM (#36417064) Homepage

        It's not a waste, since that's not the results of the report. Let me help out.

        How the Internet Has Improved Journalism --- Greater Depth Improved Quality of Commentary and Analysis Enabling Citizen Engagement Speed and Ease Expanding Hyperlocal Coverage Serving Highly Specific Interests Cheaper Content Distribution Cheaper Content Creation Direct Access to Community and Civic News

        Sound different from TFS?

        Yep. Same report. Time to fork slashdot to make it less inflammatory. They took the only concern, "lack of clarity how well trained bloggers are" and made it into a siren favoring Big Media.

        Time to insert a Bill Hicks quote - I'll leave it to those with brains to work out the relevance to TFA:-

        By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Thank you, thank you. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. "There's gonna be a joke coming..." There's no fucking joke coming, you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show.

        "You know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar, that's a big dollar, a lot of people are feeling that indignation, we've done research, huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scumbags, quit putting a godamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

        • Any Hicks reference needs to be modded up. +1 insightful

        • Best slashdot post I've read in a long while. The full name of advertising is, "Psychological manipulation and exploitation of insecurities to make a buck" (I'm not bothering to make an acronym outta that)

          TFA may have a (very) small point in that the Internet, by bringing news from all around the world faster, has a large scale homogenous effect tending towards more global type stories with less localized focus; but much more significant, I think, is that the net also gives a voice to everyone, whether
      • by Idbar (1034346)
        "serving highly specific interests" sounds like one to be really worried about, like a double edged sword.
      • by sootman (158191)

        > Cheaper Content Distribution *
        > Direct Access to Community and Civic News *

        * Might not apply in Alaska.

  • it is a shame too. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:30AM (#36416736)

    Well, the problem with citizen journalism is that unless you've got enough eyes peering onto your site to somehow support some sort of revenue stream, you're going to be spending half your day at work, the other half doing reporting and you're going to be pretty burnt out from all of it.

    This is the advantage of professional journalists, they get to eat because of their work.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:00AM (#36416868)

      Well, the problem with citizen journalism is that unless you've got enough eyes peering onto your site to somehow support some sort of revenue stream, you're going to be spending half your day at work, the other half doing reporting and you're going to be pretty burnt out from all of it.

      This is the advantage of professional journalists, they get to eat because of their work.

      They gave up a long time ago, and now they're paying the price. Rather that doing journalism like a profession, they went for the lazy option and reduced news to celebrity gossip, and even using forum posts and twitter as items within their pointless articles. Tough titties, these "journalist" are getting exactly what the deserve.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        They gave up a long time ago, and now they're paying the price

        So if there was a quality newspaper in your jurisdiction doing hard reporting and research, employing professionals earning a good salary, you'd subscribe to it? You'd pay, I dunno, $300 per year for this newspaper? And all your friends would too?

        • by fyngyrz (762201) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @10:45AM (#36417714) Homepage Journal


          So if there was a quality newspaper in your jurisdiction doing hard reporting and research

          I'm 55. I'm also a voracious reader. I've read many, many US newspapers, certainly all the really big ones -- and I've never seen such a thing. What I see are papers that won't address the real issues, papers that kowtow to the superstitious, papers that throw up "the other side" even when there's absolutely no facts on the ground supporting the other side, etc.

          Newspapers have a conflict of interest: They have to make money; and in order to make money, they have to leave a very large number of readers content with what they've read. So they can't honestly address political corruption, unjust wars, affronts to liberty, superstition, the fact that the legal system has devolved to corporate and moneyed-group serving process, and no longer even pretends to implement justice for the citizens at any level... I could go on, but the point is made: newspapers are pap-filled rags written for the lowest common denominator in their audience.

          A blogger doesn't have to be dependent upon how many people read. zero, one or a thousand, it's all the same. So they can -- and do -- say whatever they think. Then we, as netizens, simply find the ones that are thinking clearly. The difference is that there are actually things worth reading on the net. In newspapers... not so much. I can point you to quite a few blogs where the reading is interesting, informative, pertinent, and well thought out, and few, if any, subjects are "off the table." I can't point you to even one newspaper where the same is true.

          • by Raenex (947668)

            So they can't honestly address political corruption

            Nonsense. Political corruption is the bread and butter of media because it sells. As noted in the first linked article, the LA Times investigated and broke the Bell corruption story.

            the fact that the legal system has devolved to corporate and moneyed-group serving process, and no longer even pretends to implement justice for the citizens at any level

            Bullshit. While there's corporate influence and corruption, it's not like ordinary citizens don't benefit from the justice system every day. It's not all doom and gloom as you make it out to be. Get some perspective and cut back on the screechy rants if you want to take the high road of honesty and justice.

            • by gambino21 (809810) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @11:44AM (#36418236)

              Nonsense. Political corruption is the bread and butter of media because it sells. As noted in the first linked article, the LA Times investigated and broke the Bell corruption story.

              Nonsense right back at you. Stories about the tweets and love lives of politicians are the bread and butter of media because it sells, and it creates distractions from the real issues. Actual political corruption, such as Obama secretly negotiating [huffingtonpost.com] with Health care companies, running a covert war in Yemen [reuters.com], and then lying [telegraph.co.uk] about it, and of course I shouldn't even have to mention all stuff that went on under Bush. Actual corruption gets very little, if any, coverage.

          • " papers that won't address the real issues,"

            Correct. I grew up during the Viet Nam war. I graduated the year our soldiers came home. Every day, reports of body counts, in towns, villages, and provinces with unpronouncable names - but NEVER a question about "WTF are we even doing in some insignificant jungle country?"

            Again, correct. We've been reading all our lives about the evil of drugs. The papers parrot the government's stance on drugs, report arrests, report numbers of deaths, report convictions a

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by avgjoe62 (558860)

        Somehow, everyone these days have become lazy. Reporters are now lazy. Teachers are lazy, working only until 4 PM and getting half the year off. Firemen are lazy and overpaid, just sitting around the firehouse playing cards. Politicians are lazy, just interested in expensive trips and chasing women. Illegal immigrants are lazy, walking across the border here so they can live the high life with food stamps and free medical care at the expense of hard-working legal citizens. Policeman are lazy, because

      • by Fnkmaster (89084)

        I don't think anybody got lazy. The local beat reporters got laid off because the local newspapers were hemorrhaging money. If they got a job covering the celebrity beat, they would consider themselves lucky to be able to put food on the table.

        This story has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with market forces. Craiglist and eBay killed the market for local classifieds, Monster et. al. killed the local job postings, and Google ate up the advertising dollars that used to go to print.

        The onl

    • by paiute (550198) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:02AM (#36416876)

      Well, the problem with citizen journalism is that unless you've got enough eyes peering onto your site to somehow support some sort of revenue stream, you're going to be spending half your day at work, the other half doing reporting and you're going to be pretty burnt out from all of it.

      This is the advantage of professional journalists, they get to eat because of their work.

      On the other hand, a citizen journalist is going to be less careful about sources and fact checking. The citizen journalist is going to blog their suspicions and air unfounded allegations. A low signal-to-noise compared to a legit newpaper, but a lot of tip of the iceberg stuff which might appear earlier.

      Remember that the two-newpaper town is only the news paradigm we can remember. Until about the time Hearst figured out how to make money out of buying up papers, there were hundreds of small run papers, many full of partisan vitriol. It was the internet without a net.

      • by garcia (6573) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:12AM (#36416914) Homepage

        Depends on the source and it depends on how they present it.

        I take great time to fact check, ensure human sources are valid and have proof of their whistleblowing, and provide all documentation procured from the agencies as evidence.

        Just because some bloggers don't, doesn't mean that signal to noise ratio is high, it just means you aren't paying attention to the right sources.

        ----

        As for making money and burning out. Yeah, it sucks. My site makes some money (and rarely any from political posts) but I don't do it for that. I do it because I enjoy the topic, I enjoy doing data analysis, and I like having a hobby.

        YMMV.

        • by DeadDecoy (877617)
          I believe that's partially correct. While selecting the correct source can lead to a wealth of information, it can also result in a biased selection. For instance, if the Fox news website happens to get some of their information correct, or at least the circumstantial facts, they might be labeled as a good source. However, if the dialogue around those facts are tightly controlled they can provide information in a way that is not entirely honest. A good example is the early drafts of the healthcare bill had
      • by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:29AM (#36416984) Homepage Journal

        a citizen journalist is going to be less careful about sources and fact checking

        Often stated, rarely proven. "Proper" news organizations aren't exactly paragons of virtue here, as anyone with detailed knowledge of a complicated story will tell you. Sometimes, they'll just publish anything at all - this [wikipedia.org] example by CBS is just one of the most egregious.

        • a citizen journalist is going to be less careful about sources and fact checking

          Often stated, rarely proven.

          Here's a recent story [npr.org] that might support your view, where the international got all excited over dozens of bodies supposedly discovered in a house in Texas, even though the only evidence was a psychic who called in a police tip.

          On the other hand, from what I've read in the aftermath of this story, what caused this story to spread initially was lax standards about who could post to a Twitter feed at a local news organization; Reuters read the Twitter feed, and the rest is history. By the time the local ne

          • I'll coin the term "Monte Carlo News".

            If I get 100 "OMG 6.8 Earthquake in CA" blips, chances are... there's an earthquake! For news stories like that, "the news is in the title". That's why MicroPosting is becoming a killer app. Because it's a *parallel* phenomenon, it's faster than a news writer trying to find an Angle. Those come later, in the followups.

            Sometimes yes, the flashfire effect burns the wrong way on a bad post, but when it burns right, it becomes the news that Big Media loses the scoop on and

        • by downhole (831621)

          Oh, it's even worse than that - that sloppiness is fueled by blatant political bias. I don't think they even really care about the issues anymore, as long as the current Democrat party gets and keeps power. Anything that slams a Republican gets published with little to no fact-checking, as long as it has nothing to do with any actual issue. And anything that slams a Democrat gets ignored no matter what the facts are until there's so much attention on it that they'd look like complete idiots not covering it,

      • by arkenian (1560563)
        See, but I remember being a five news paper town. The two local-local papers: The Mariner and The Journal for my town. Then you had the Ledger, a regional paper for my town and the others in the area, and then the Globe and Herald. Between them there really wasn't anything that's covered on the 'net today with any real degree of reliability that wasn't in the paper.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        On the other hand, a citizen journalist is going to be less careful about sources and fact checking. The citizen journalist is going to blog their suspicions and air unfounded allegations. A low signal-to-noise compared to a legit newpaper, but a lot of tip of the iceberg stuff which might appear earlier.

        Maybe on some of their own stories, the ones they decide when to publish. But the general news is all about pumping it out on the web ASAP, they want you to hear it on their site first. Where before maybe you'd spend an few hours researching an article for tomorrow's paper, it's now about getting the headline out there in less than 2 minutes. Apart from on the surface being more neutral in the commentary the rest isn't much better than the blogs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        On the other hand, a citizen journalist is going to be less careful about sources and fact checking. The citizen journalist is going to blog their suspicions and air unfounded allegations.

        Perhaps you missed all the "mainstream" media coverage of Palin last week. She said something about Paul Revere, which was easy enough to look up, and they all blasted her for being an idiot and getting the story wrong (This includes the "perfect" NPR as well). Once they began their follow ups the next day with experts to corroborate how stupid Palin is the experts all told the media Palin was right.

        You seem to think professional journalists fact check when they can't be bothered when smearing women in po

    • by Nikker (749551)
      The vast majority of blogs or "news sites" don't even make enough to cover their domain registration. If you are one of the few that get enough to consider which way to go then we have progress. Out of the few (which in internet terms is still in the hundreds/thousands) that are passionate enough about producing news content then I think that is amazing and beneficial for us all, provided you take the leap and devote your self to it rather than just moon lighting.
  • Old news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:30AM (#36416738)

    Flat Earth News [amazon.co.uk] published in 2008 goes into this in great detail from a British point of view. Interestingly, it's not the internet that started the rot but massive cost cutting - which for ten years created huge profits - started in the mid-80s. By the mid to late 90s serious journalism and local news were already dieing. The internet merely savaged the corpse.

  • by dlcarrol (712729) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:32AM (#36416750)
    I'm sure there's an objective, non-sensationalist, just-the-facts reporter working somewhere, but to pretend that the internet is the reason these jobs are going away is silly. They're going away because the local reporting is, in the main, just as vacuous as national reporting and probably less well-edited. Factor in that with local reporting we're still getting more government waste, more local corruption, and less effective schools with these programs been cheered on by most of those in journalism, and this seems to boil down to "if that fox stops guarding the henhouse ..."

    I agree that the Fourth Estate (right?) is important, but its value is historically overstated, and it is easily co-opted for outright propaganda.
    • by dlcarrol (712729)

      with these programs been cheered on by most of those in journalism

      ... and please hold the snarky comments about editing; I thought I reviewed it ... :) --> " ... with these programs being cheered on ..."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Three names.

      Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge, Markos M... well, no, Kos is pretty critical regardless of party uh... Arianna Huffington? Yeah, the site promotes alt-med quackery that those on my side of the isle quite love for some bizarre reason, so that's the ticket.

      You get the point. It doesn't matter if you're pro or not, you can still be an empty shill who stumps endlessly for whatever brain dead point of view you want.

      The question of quality in media isn't a matter of whether or not they're professiona

    • by houghi (78078)

      For me the same as non-local news. I just stopped watching it altogether. I feel much happier. I don't avoid is, so sometimes I still hear some bad things that happened.

      In general I can say "ignorance is bliss." when I hear how people are worried about stuff they have no influence over.

    • I'm sure there's an objective, non-sensationalist, just-the-facts reporter working somewhere

      Where?? And, more importantly, when??

      Look back over the history of newspapers. There has never been a time in history when media has been "objective, non-sensationalist, just-the-facts." Why? Because it's boring as hell to most of the population. People want to read about dramatic events, tragedies, horrors, tales of deception, even the occasional outrageous muckraking article. That's what sells media today, and that's what sold them a century ago, or two centuries ago. Ben Franklin and other publi

    • by thomst (1640045)

      I'm sure there's an objective, non-sensationalist, just-the-facts reporter working somewhere, but to pretend that the internet is the reason these jobs are going away is silly. They're going away because the local reporting is, in the main, just as vacuous as national reporting and probably less well-edited.

      The fact is that small-town newspapers are doing pretty well, compared to the big boys - but it's not because they're paragons of journalistic virtue. In fact, by and large, they stink at journalism. What keeps them afloat is local ad revenue - advertising mom-and-pop businesses and coupon specials for grocery chains and the like.

      Meanwhile, the reasons their reportage sucks wind and blows air are:

      • 1. their publishers (mostly chains, like Gannett) fear the revenue impacts of investigative reporting on busine
  • Poor newspapers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:36AM (#36416770) Homepage
    Gosh, I'd almost feel sorry for newspapers, if they hadn't ruthlessly used their mainstream media status to advance personal and political agendas, both through their choice of stories to report as well as deliberate omissions ("that's not a story"). Bizarrely, journalists still cling to the "we are heroes and white knights" self-narrative, and still in the year 2011 have not had a heel realization.
  • by garcia (6573) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:37AM (#36416776) Homepage

    Where I live the local news has rarely ever exposed anything. In fact, they gloss over the details, fail to provide links to documentation for the reader to learn for themselves, and use so many quotes from the elected officials or city staff members that no true analysis can be done.

    One professional reporter suggested to me privately that the public, "read between the lines," in order to see what's really being said. While that's great for someone in the know, it doesn't work for 99.9% of the population.

    What has helped are local, non-professional sources who take the time to do what reporters used to do. Researching documents, providing them to the public and going back to school to have an even better understanding of how local government is supposed to work.

    While I don't want to toot my own horn or even step on the toes of the pros, the work I do actually does expose the issues in local government and shows their general incompetence when compared to how they are supposed to act.

    I am going to school for Public Administration, I use my skills as a data analyst to provide crime dashboards to aggregate data, and I post public documents requested and researched for MONTHS so that the public can ignore my own analysis and do their own if they so choose.

    The rise of the Internet has done nothing to change the business model of the print papers. They're still pushing out 500 word blurbs of city council meetings instead of 1000+ word analyses. They are the ones at fault here, not the Internet and shame on the FCC for stating anything else.

    • Atlanta's paper while very far to the left has done a good job riding the Atlanta school board's ass over the cheating scandal. At first when our Republican governor pushed even more investigation we had the regular race warlords trot out but they seemed to have taken to the sidelines after the press focused more on the schools than what party the governor was.

      Local TV stations do a good job of going after local companies for their misdeeds. Most every city has multiple stations all with their own Consumer

  • by andy1307 (656570) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:38AM (#36416780)
    FCC approved media consolidation had nothing to do with this?
    • by Trepidity (597)

      I'm not sure if it's the main cause, but it surely doesn't seem to have helped. In the last two medium-sized cities I've lived, the "local" paper was owned by MediaNews Group, and was sort of a superficially localized version of their larger regional papers. As Wikipedia explains, the company's founder was:

      a pioneer in "clustering"—developing groups of newspapers that centralized a variety of functions, including production, ad sales, business operations and, in some cases, editorial. An example of th

  • Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:44AM (#36416794)

    I stopped watching the news many years ago and never did get a paper. It wasn't because of the Internet. It was because I got tired of hearing nothing but trivial, shallow, or sensationalistic crap. I don't care who slept with whom and soundbites don't do anything any good. Plus, since I live in an area with many connected cities, invariably the remaining content usually didn't apply to my locality, anyway.

    Quite frankly, the national news isn't much better in many ways. To me, the fact that there was some conflict in the Middle East is simply not news, it is life. Yes, gas prices are high. Republicans did X and Democrats did Y. Some other bill just passed that either raises taxes, takes away state's rights, stomps on the Constitution, or takes away citizens' personal liberty.

    I hope that doesn't make me irresponsible. I do try to stay informed. And usually the things that do matter somehow reach me. I am just burned out from negativity, information overload, and feeling completely apathetic about government in general.

  • Right?! Because it is not news if I choose to subscribe directly to things like the county school board news letter instead of watching/reading commercial laden media hype.

    Trying to imply that the Internet is to blame for the downfall of investigative journalism is ridiculous, I have seen more expose's as a result of rapid information spread on the Internet than I ever saw from some local yokel reporters drek on how bob's bakery was vandalized last night.

    If anything this means that the FCC should be pushin

  • This could be newsworthy.

  • "traditional news" outlets stopped being news a long time ago.
  • The local newspapers depended heavily on revenue from classifieds. When that was taken by Craigslist, local newspapers went into the red.
  • I get "local news" from aggregator's such as Reddit [reddit.com]. And you know what? Reddit: Politics [reddit.com] makes me truly sad every day. The reason I find aggregators so effective is that of all the local news stories across the nation: they find the ones that stick out enough that people, actual people who could be your neighbor, vote them up.

    The source is given for every item, I never click on ones that go to blogs. Someday, perhaps, blogs will be effective just not yet.
  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:13AM (#36416926) Homepage

    Statements like this by gigantic Federal bureaucracies always leads to some move against freedom.

    They will look to either restrict the ability of the internet to report news (which the government would love, the ruling democrat establishment would love nothing more than to shut down Andrew Britebart and Matt Drudge amongst others). Or they will be after confiscatory taxes on the internet, on news sites, on bloggers, to subsidize "local" news.

    As others have said in this story, the lack of support for local news couldn't have anything to do with the fact that businesses aren't local anymore like they were 50 years ago... 50 years ago every town had more than one newspaper. Every radio station had a full airstaff AND a news department. Why? Because local advertisers PAID for this.

    The FCC realizes that it's reason for existence (over the air radio and TV) is coming to an end because it's being overtaken by internet broadcasting. They also realize that the chink in the 1st Amendment that was created for them in 1934, the fact that radio spectrum has limits, ie, there is scarcity, which paved the way for the Feds to decide who could broadcast and who couldn't, is mooted by the fact that the Internet has NO LIMIT of channels.

    So they have to invent some other form of "scarcity" to give them some toehold on the Internet.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      I thought something similar as well when I saw they did this report. Most likely it will start with government funding for the poor down trodden news companies and then move onto something more drastic.
      • Too big to fail. Or, rather, too important to fail, after all we'll need that emergency broadcasting system when the commu... erh, sorry, old habits... when those terrorists attack!

        Imagine it's terror and you're not properly scared!

    • "the ruling democrat establishment would love nothing more than to shut down Andrew Britebart and Matt Drudge amongst others"

      Yep, the Republicans shut down legitimate enterprises like ACORN because of a con job by the likes of Britebart and you do the usual projection: blaim the democrats for wanting to do the same thing. Look in the mirror asshat to see who is doing this now.

  • by Moe Taxes (304424) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:20AM (#36416938)

    Before the Internet local schools were all awesome, local politicians were honest and dutiful, and the zoning board members could never be bought off, because everyone was cowed into sincerity by the local newspaper.

    Or am I delusional.

    This not a loss of local control, we haven't had that since the 1860's, it is loss of central control by big media companies who are pulling desperately on the strings they still have.

  • If you live in small and medium-sized communities, local news is often filled with fluff and oddball stories.

    Weather reporting is the big draw for local TV news, and sites like weather.com usually tell you what you want to know when you want to know it. Local TV news put the weather segment at the end of their broadcasts and tease you about it throughout their show ("will it be warm and sunny this weekend? stay tuned to find out!")

  • A while ago I pitched a web-based regional news system to cover small and medium markets. The idea was to use new DSLR technology and pay one-person investigators to build up coverage of under-served areas. Shoot the stories to large market standards and make the material available to major market stations for free. A lot of big stations have digital news channels and small to medium markets in the shadows of big cities could use those to improve their coverage of local events. I thought it was a good p

  • Explanation #1: Car is invented. Buggy whip manufacturers go out of business. Internet is invented. Traditional news goes out of business.

    Explanation #2: A free market dictates that the consumer will pay for the level of quality that they want. A trend away from traditional journalism indicates that the consumer is getting sufficient quality from the internet. The consumer is a lot more honest about what the consumer wants than the FCC is.

    Explanation #3: Nothing to see here. Move along. Move al
  • The media has gone from regarding its job as holding power to account to helping power avoid anything it doesn't want to face up to.
    And people have abandoned the media in a steady stream ever since.
    Quelle surprise?
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:52AM (#36417076) Homepage

    Local newspapers rarely have the stones or interest to actually go after local corruption. For example, in the case of Ryan Frederick [google.com], the local news was basically regurgitating the local police reports until Radley Balko dug into it and found that it was full of corruption. Much of that corruption, I might add, was just barely concealed beneath the surface.

    The fact is that the local media outlets have been compromised for a long time. It's not because of "teh corporashunz" it's because they're both too lazy and too afraid of risking local relationships with key officials who might shut them out of future scoops.

    • Not to mention ads. You'd be surprised how many ads are taken out just to silence certain stories. I'd call it hush-money, but then again, what do I know about marketing...

  • I read several news articles a day online, from major websites (CNN, Reuters, ESPN, etc.) One thing I have noticed is that, invariably, there is a major editing mistake in just about every article. I'm talking about cases where structure or tense will change mid sentence, or a preposition or adverb will be leading to a verb but they add a whole different clause or noun.
  • that there is nobody left that can take the news seriously. I can be better informed watching sponge Bob Square Pants for .5 hours that I can watching the local news. The one shining light in the sea of trash journalism is the PBS TV News. Not the Radio, the radio program is just as biased and uninformative as Fox or CNN.

    Actually the PBS TV programs are a real breath of fresh air. No fancy graphics. Just professionals talking about the news. It is kind of like the rest of the news outlets used to be 20

    • I wouldn't say LCD. I'd simply say it's a matter of price. If well researched, unbiased and founded news that took a few reporters some weeks to dig up sells the same amount of copies than a copy/paste AP story, why bother with the research?

      Sure, in one way the customer is to blame, if fast food hamburger meat is the same to him as prime sirloin, what will you serve him? OTOH, it seems they overdid it. They crossed the threshold where the people who actually bought newspapers reconsidered and saw that the "

  • Instead of news being well written and thought out, we get our news in sounds bites that are coldly calculated by producers to be slanted and biased towards a particular point of view in harmony with its respective corporation. What is in print is of such poor quality it is no wonder there are such concerns expressed. It seems like the internet has condoned "internet speak" and I see it appear in what should be formal communication. I would never use abbreviations such as ppl, lol, or thx in formal commu
  • No, It's Not (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DakotaSmith (937647)

    What's killing all press (from local to world) isn't the Internet -- the Internet is just what's replacing the press.

    What's killing the press is that the industry is laced from top to bottom with ignorant Statists capable of neither investigating nor reporting accurately on the events of the day. Almost every news story in existence originates with some Google search by a flunky desperately seeking something for the talking head to say so as to keep butts in the seats and hands off the remotes.

    Amazingly, t

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @09:20AM (#36417186) Homepage Journal

    Local news was killed in suicide decades ago when they stopped reporting actual facts and switched to 'commentary'.

    Internet is just helping clean the mess up.

  • by redkingca (610398) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @09:21AM (#36417192)
    When "local" news stops being a recap of AP wire stories, and when "commentary" stops being a mix of advertising and thinly veiled slander maybe I'll watch a "local" newscast. Most "local stations" or owned and operated by media conglomerates for the sole purpose of selling advertising space. Actual local news in TV always seems to open with a violent crime, followed by a car chase, followed by pre-weather then a commercial. Then it's part of the weather, sports, cute story, and then the weather recap. There is no "reporting" there is political spin, reporting the news stopped years ago and the public has finally caught on. Now the "local" stations are complaining that the "regional" stations are unfair competition. Well the "local" stations help create the short attention span of the public now they have to live with it.

    Yeah, lets force the government to $upport "local news" that will fix the economy and everything.
    • In a nutshell, what kills local media is that they're nothing but a repetition of press agency material, and that's simply available for free. Why bother buying a newspaper?

  • That pretty much sums up local TV news. If it bleeds, it leads. That being said, local news isn't really local once you live 25-50 miles from the broadcaster. I grew up less than 25 miles from Manhattan and it seemed like anything that was on the local news might as well have been happening in a foreign country. These days, Internet media and local talk radio will have local stories plus, with the Internet, you can search for a story rather than being forced to accept what the anchor is saying, when the

  • Seriously, outside of just being paid advertisements and shills for the syndicated programming, there's not a lot of reporting going on for local news. The product is just terrible to watch, at least in our area.

    I'm sure at some point they're going to say that the Internet is killing CNN. On that, I can fully agree: Reading comments from Twitter, voting on stories via Twitter, and showing cat videos from Youtube will definitely kill CNN dead.

  • Most of the posts above seem to be individual extrapolations based on the short summary of an LA Times article. The word internet appears exactly once in the LA Times article, "the government regulatory agency, which has oversight over television and radio as well as certain aspects of the Internet." but since the post headline claims "The Internet is Killing Local News, Says the FCC" that must be what the FCC says right.

    I'd suggest glancing through the actual r

  • Local coverage was abdicated as a business decision of station owners, most of whom are corporations that own multiple stations in different markets. They are not interested in local communities. The economy has dried up revenue for advertising as well, and local news coverage is labor intensive. Policy decisions by the FCC, removing rules such as limitations of station ownership and requirements for news programming content, have gone away along with the Fairness Doctrine, because of ideologies leading
  • Video killed the Radio Star...

    The Internet killed the Weatherman...
  • I have to laugh, living in "Crook" county near Chicago. The local government has been utterly corrupt for decades, the newspapers and radio nothing but shills for the system.
  • Are they sure it's the internet, and not just a lack of "professional, accountable" reporters? I mean, have they ever -watched- a modern news show. The era of professional reporters was dying when I was a kid in the 80's. Have we had any truly great, honest, accountable reporting done in this past decade at all?

  • Don't blame newspapers being simply not interested in what used to be "good journalism". Ya know, digging up a story, researching it, sending out reporters to interview people, take pictures, the works.

    If you browse through your local paper, you'll notice that nearly all stories are either taken from some press agency (most of the time even verbatim copy/paste journalism), pointless drivel about someone's prize poodle having puppies (i.e. crap that some people who take themselves too serious sent them) , so

  • "The Internet Is Killing Local News"

    Good. Let's brainstorm other ways we can do it as well. I'll help twist the knife.

    Of course the FCC is dead wrong, since the "local news" died out 20 years ago and has been replaced by shambling undead horrors spouting off about puppies and weather, but if the internet can help put them back in the ground a little faster I'm all for it.

  • You might think that specializing in local news would be a way for local media to survive (as opposed to trying to compete with heavyweights on national/world news or something), but it seems they're doing a really hamfisted job of it. Details of that have already been thoroughly mentioned in previous comments.

    The local free alternative newspaper sure seems to do a better job focusing on local issues

  • Thanks FCC. Thanks for allowing media companies to consolidate, thus forcing many local stations out of business. Maybe you can fuck up the internet next by making it a tiered system.
  • the reporting is as if the stories were outsourced and 10 year olds were asked to read the reports. Not only that, I've seen stock footage shown as representing what was happening instead of footage of the actual event. I find that more and more people are just watching "the news" for the weather or traffic and not the reports. And what is up with local news showing stories of what happened in Timbucktoo when it has no effect or relationship to local events, news, or even culture?

    FCC, it's not the internet
  • by hackus (159037)

    There are tons of local accountability broadcasts on a variety of media.

    The problem that the FCC is pointing out, is that corporate media is dying.

    Nobody wants to listen to canned spoonfed BS news anymore when you get crap like, "Oh listen up!! Unemployment is getting better, a bunch of little people who bought homes caused the world wide banking crisis and if you don't pay your carbon taxes, the earth will over heat and kill us all."

    FoxNews and CNN can suck it.

    -Hack

  • by taxman_10m (41083) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @12:26PM (#36418506)

    From Ted Koppel on the death of news.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111202857.html [washingtonpost.com]

    To the degree that broadcast news was a more virtuous operation 40 years ago, it was a function of both fear and innocence. Network executives were afraid that a failure to work in the "public interest, convenience and necessity," as set forth in the Radio Act of 1927, might cause the Federal Communications Commission to suspend or even revoke their licenses. The three major broadcast networks pointed to their news divisions (which operated at a loss or barely broke even) as evidence that they were fulfilling the FCC's mandate. News was, in a manner of speaking, the loss leader that permitted NBC, CBS and ABC to justify the enormous profits made by their entertainment divisions.

    On the innocence side of the ledger, meanwhile, it never occurred to the network brass that news programming could be profitable.

    Until, that is, CBS News unveiled its "60 Minutes" news magazine in 1968. When, after three years or so, "60 Minutes" turned a profit (something no television news program had previously achieved), a light went on, and the news divisions of all three networks came to be seen as profit centers, with all the expectations that entailed.

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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