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FTC's New Recipes for New Journalists - Broadcasting & Cable

FTC's New Recipes for New Journalists

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In the face of what they call crumbling business models, Federal Trade Commission staffers have compiled a host of suggestions for rebuilding the journalism business. Propositions run the gamut from charging commercial broadcasters a spectrum fee, to opening government computers for some digital shoeleather reporting. (For more on these picks, click here.)

Tax on broadcast spectrum: A 7% tax on TV and radio station revenues to create a $3 billion-to-$6 billion fund. In exchange, broadcasters would no longer have to serve the public interest.

Spectrum auction: Proceeds would go into a public-media fund (the FCC has suggested that in its broadband plan).

Consumer electronics tax: $4 billion annually.

Ad tax: This 2% sales tax on advertising would raise $5 billion-to-$6 billion annually.

Licensing of news: Mandatory licensing fees for news content.

Leverage existing digital capacity: Would let journalists use government computers for “resource-intensive” online activities.

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