Steven Waldman, senior advisor to FCC Chariman Julius Genachowski, talked with Broadcasting & Cable's John Eggerton last week about his view on the future of media and the government's role in it.
Waldman is charged with creating a report on the current state of the media and the information needs of communities.' The report will include recommendations for FCC and government policies.
Journalism is one part of it, but it is broader than that. We have been using the phrase "information needs of communities," which is borrowed from the Knight Commission [which produced a report on the future of journalism]. The reason we did that is because when you are looking at the future of media now, you need to look not only at traditional journalistic enterprises, but things like whether the government is providing information in ways that make it easier for journalists doing accountability journalism or make it easier for citizens to hold institutions accountable. That is why we are using lingo that is a little bit broader than just local news.
Waldman is quick to point out that the FCC will not be offering a bailout for either traditional or new media, but that it has a responsibility to figure out what the government should do to preserve the public-service and democratic functions that the media provides.
The FCC has launched a website for The Future of Media and the Information Needs of Communities in a Digital Age at http://reboot.fcc.gov/futureofmedia. Americans are encouraged to offer their comments and opinions on the site.