NAA Senior VP/Public Policy Paul Boyle provided oral testimony at the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing on”Broadcast Ownership in the 21st Century” on September 25, 2015. NAA also submitted written testimony. The Executive Summary from the testimony appears below, with a link to view a pdf of the full testimony.
The Newspaper Association of America commends this subcommittee for focusing on issues of broadcast ownership in the 21st Century. We believe that one of the most important aspects of media ownership today is ensuring that ownership is not restricted by outdated regulations that do not reflect today’s 21st century media marketplace. Specifically, my comments focus on the newspaper-broadcast cross ownership ban, a regulation that does not reflect the diversity of today’s media.
The newspaper-broadcast cross ownership ban was enacted in 1975, when the Federal Communications Commission feared that if an owner had both a newspaper and a TV or radio station in the same market, that owner could control all of the news in the community. That is simply not true today. The growth of media across all platforms has created a much broader range of news sources for consumers than anyone could have contemplated forty years ago, including digital-only sites for national, regional and local news. Newspapers are adapting to well-documented challenges in the marketplace by investing in their print, online and mobile platforms—providing consumers with news and information how, when and where they want it.
The federal government should not prohibit a company from investing in newspapers just because they also have broadcast interests—especially when broadcast companies may share the same core journalistic values as newspapers. Indeed, such investments have been shown to improve journalism. Nor does the cross-ownership ban help promote diversity in the industry, which is better addressed through specific and tailored efforts that NAA supports. The Commission can provide newspapers with regulatory relief while at the same time encouraging diversity of broadcast ownership.
To view the full testimony, click here.
For more information, please contact Danielle Coffey, vice president of public policy.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.