FCC advisor Steve Waldman told a Media Institute luncheon audience in Washington Wednesday that local TV news is "more important than ever." Waldman, who is heading up the FCC's Future of Media survey, said that was where people still got most of their news and would have a prominent place on the report.
Waldman would only say the report would be out soon, which he said should be sometime this year.
Waldman said the report was meant to ensure debate, point things out and inspire philanthropy, but added that "just because a report sees problems does not mean the government should or can do anything about it."
In fact, Waldman said he recommended to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that the report be called "Just Because Something Is Bad Doesn't Mean It Can't Get Worse," but the chairman preferred something more inspirational, he joked.
The report, said Waldman, was launched amid emotional debates about whether the media were about to be taken over by pajama-clad bloggers and whether the dinosaurs of old media were headed for the tar pits. But he said the report's goal was to look at the issue dispassionately, focusing on the impact on communities of changes in the media and a "candid" assessment of FCC ruels.
He gave no details of the report, but said while it will make recommendations--he did not say what--the bulk of it would describe the media and policy landscapes.
He joked that if the report talks about treating something fairly, that should not be interpreted as a call for reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine. In fact, he said, the report recommends not reintroducing it.
He said the report will draw a distinction between local and national news, the latter he said seems to be more "vibrant."