Josh Silver is the executive editor and cofounder of Free Press, an organization that advocates for diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications.
The decline of U.S. commercial journalism, combined with new technology and digital innovations, presents an unprecedented opportunity for public media to be reinvented as go-to sources for journalism, education, arts, culture, and local programming.
We’ve all seen the headlines. Newspapers are rapidly losing print circulation and advertising dollars while laying off employees en masse (there were more than 20,000 layoffs since the beginning of 2008). Television networks air cheap reality programs instead of substantive investigative reporting. Commercial radio is dominated by screaming pundits, and, like television, is nearly devoid of substantive or local reporting.
Leadership on public media is needed now – both in local communities and in Washington. Our biggest obstacle isn’t money or technology; it’s imagining the alternatives and harnessing the political will to make them a reality.
Three major reforms that would reinvigorate public media after the jump.