Media companies support U. Mich


Some of the biggest U.S. companies, including NBC parent General Electric Co.
and 18 media companies, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the
University of Michigan's affirmative-action policy.

The outcome of the case is expect to impact media-diversity initiatives such
as the Federal Communications Commission's new equal-employment rules for
broadcasters and cable companies and a proposed tax-credit program for
conglomerates that sell media properties to minorities, women and small

In friend-of-the-court briefs filed by Tuesday's deadline, the companies
argued that racial and ethnic admission policies assure the education of a
diverse work force.

Employee diversity is particularly important for media firms, wrote a
coalition of 18 companies including LIN Television Corp., Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., Emmis
Communications Corp., Radio One Inc. and Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network.

Hiring media professionals from a diverse pool adds to national debate
"because they bring different perspectives to bear on important public issues,"
the coalition said in its filing.

GE was one of 64 Fortune 500 companies supporting Michigan's policy in a
separate filing. Others included 3M, The Boeing Co., Intel Corp., Johnson & Johnson,
Microsoft Corp. and Xerox Corp.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments April 1 in an
individual's case brought against a university point system that bolsters
minorities' admission chances.

The Bush administration opposes the school's policy.