Jeff Jarvis ably deconstructs a NYT op-ed in which:
A herd of journalism-school deans wrote a predictable but also naive and possibly dangerous — and certainly not strategically forward-thinking — attack on media cross-ownership and the FCC’s loosening of its rules in today’s Times op-ed page.
They do mean well, and they are not off base on the idea that broadcasting’s former public service component has been tossed overboard in recent times.
Of course, the public service mission they wish for was never all that real in the first place. Perversely, the deans appear to be aiming to “save” local news coverage at organizations whose primary contributions to local journalism — in an era when network affiliates had to be run poorly to make less than 50 percent profit margins — is best summed up in the famous aphorism, “If it bleeds it leads.” Where were they when local new disintegrated into pap in the first place?
Even with that, their op-ed is misguided, as Jeff notes. And their brief dismissal of the Internet is just bizarre.
The rise of digital media means, barring a policy disaster, that we will clearly have enough outlets. The big issues are a) how to create new revenue models to support journalism in this medium, which has no scarcity the way old-time broadcasting did; and b) how to prevent new oligopolists from taking over.
We in the journalism education field need to focus on those topics, not whether future governments will force broadcasters to meet licensing terms written for an era of airwave scarcity.
I’m pleased to see that my new boss at Arizona State University is not on the list of deans who signed this piece.