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FCC to Study Future of Journalism, Media

Intended to help the FCC decide whether the commission many need to alter any policies

Now it’s the Federal Communications Commission’s turn to examine the future of journalism and the media industry.

Two months after the Federal Trade Commission launched a study, the FCC is following suit.

The FCC is taking its hardest look at the broadcasting side, but it also asked questions about staffing at newspapers and magazines.

“We are at a critical juncture in the evolution of American media,” FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. “Rapid technological change in the media marketplace has created opportunities for tremendous innovation. It has also caused financial turmoil for traditional media, calling into question whether these media outlets will continue to play their historic role in providing local communities with essential news and civic information.”

He said the initiative was intended to help the FCC decide whether the commission many need to alter any policies.

The FCC’s statement sought comments, to be due March 8.

Among questions to be considered:

– Are communities getting all the local information they need and how has the situation changed in the last few years?

– Have media changes in recent years affected the delivery of critical community information in cases of disaster or weather emergencies.

– Do media consumption patterns in minority community differ, and have they been affected by changes.

– What categories of journalism are most in jeopardy and most likely to flourish in the digital era? Also, are there news and information needs that commercial market mechanisms alone are unlikely to adequately serve?

The inquiry also asks about changes in news staffing and programming levels in recent years and whether cellphones could be an alternative source of information.

Genachowski had announced earlier the hiring of Beliefnet founder Steven Waldman, as senior advisor to conduct the review.