In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has issued a public notice today seeking comment on the ‘future of media and information needs of communities in a digital age’.
The objective of this review is to assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information that will enable them to enrich their lives, their communities and our democracy.
The Future of Media project will produce a report providing a clear, precise assessment of the current media landscape, analyze policy options and, as appropriate, make policy recommendations to the FCC, other government entities, and other parties.
It sets out its reasons for the undertaking – talking about worrying trends in the industry and quoting research from Pew and Columbia:
These trends could have dire consequences for our democracy and the health of communities, hindering citizens’ ability to hold their leaders and institutions accountable.
It says that while it is a time of difficulty for the industry there is also opportunity to be found and points to the benefits the digital age creates for newsgathering and the choice it offers consumers.
The FCC asks 42 questions under a number of headings including:
Newspapers and Magazines
Information Needs of Communities & Citizens
Business Models and Financial Trends
Commercial Broadcast TV and Radio Cable and Satellite
Noncommercial and Public Media
Internet and Mobile
Along with paper submissions, comments can be made to the FCC through a special website, which they are launching for the project: www.fcc.gov/futureofmedia
Even if you don’t intend to submit anything the questions are worth a read.