Thursday, July 16, 2009

Save the News, an interview with Josh Stearns of Free Press

Talk Nation Radio for July 16, 2009
Save the News, an interview with Josh Stearns of Free Press

Produced by Dori Smith
Download at Pacifica's Audioport or at and

Free Press has critiqued the recent meeting at the Aspen Institute where leaders in the corporate press discussed ways to improve their industry. It's a non starter in terms of any real improvements to news, but was essentially a discussion about how they could increase profits. The Free Press effort outlined at involves a broad program of education and the creation of a broader, more healthy public media system with more non profit and low profit businesses.

Founded in 2002 Free Press has set the bar for activism about media ownership and media reform. They have challenged corporate lobbyists who would bend the FCC, Federal Communications Commission, to their will. And they have worked against limitations on internet access. Free Press staff like Josh Stearns have worked for media justice and they hope to broaden media ownership and limit the giant monopolies that have failed to provide a news resource to serve the needs of a democracy.

Also, could a new plan announced by the White House July 14th, be used by independent minded people interested in training as journalists? During his speech at Macomb Community College in Warren Michigan July 14th, President Barack Obama outlined a plan to commit $12 billion for community college growth.

Obama said his plan could be used by students seeking jobs in the growing alternative energy industry, health care, or technology. He mentioned companies like Cisco which have existing relationships with community colleges, and he encouraged administrators to expand existing online programs to build what he called an Open Source clearinghouse.

Josh Stearns explains how this new funding could be an opportunity for training for people hoping to help Save the News.

The initiative comes in response to a virtual death of news media in America. Newspapers have gone out of business or downsized, the Associated Press reports that 100 publications in over 32 states have dropped one or more days of print coverage to save money. TV stations are popularizing their content, reducing the amount of actual news reporting down to the point where the weather has become the main attraction for network affiliates. And NPR, National Public Radio, brought in a new CEO, Vivian Schiller, former head of on-line operations at the New York Times, and they have been popularizing their sound by using long features and rock music to attract what they hope will be a wider audience. Finally, a loss of advertising dollars has driven major newspapers to contract with net consortium world of Yahoo! for sharing ad revenues.

Please contact Dori Smith at for information about this free weekly broadcast.

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