Media consolidation: Coming soon to a city near you

Today, the Federal Communications Commission has given media companies a bit more freedom. On party lines, the Commission voted to allow businesses to own both newspapers and television or radio stations in the same city. So what does this mean? It means that MediaNews Group, owners of the The Detroit News could start buying up Detroit television stations, if they so choose.

Proponents of such restrictions worry that media consolidation stifles critical voices in a community. If multiple media in a city are owned by the same people, chances are you'll be hearing the same stories - and the same opinions. However, opponents like the FCC argue that, in the Internet age, there are plenty of alternative voices through blogs and other online news sources. All such restrictions do hasten the death of newspapers.

So should we be worrying about Rupert Murdoch and his ilk snatching up newspapers and TV stations? Or have the Arbor Updates and Ann Arbor is Overrateds of the world changed how we consume news? What do you think?


If you are satisfied spending your time searching the web and interacting with listservs and blogs, I agree that there are several electronic sources of local, state, national and world news that could make a person feel well served. But if you prefer reading the work of seasoned journalists in hard copy form, especially for local stories, you're almost out of luck unless a large national newspaper takes up the story. The Ann Arbor News gives us the only coverage we get of local news, and minimal coverage from Lansing. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press does the same thing with Motor City and state government. You don't get the feeling that those papers are paying for much shoe leather. Our Comcast Community Television Network is being moved to digital channels on Jan. 15, leaving many less able to receive the local government broadcasts. The way we get our information is certainly changing, and it looks like the bottom line trumps the byline.