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Society of Professional Journalists president-elect offers public comment at FCC hearing

For Immediate Release:

Clint Brewer, President-elect, (615) 301-9229
Beth King, Communications Manager, (317) 927-8000

INDIANAPOLIS – Representing the Society of Professional Journalists, Nashville City Paper executive editor and SPJ President-elect Clint Brewer offered public comment and a formal statement at a Federal Communications Commission hearing in Nashville, Tenn. on Monday. The commission hosted the hearing to discuss media ownership before it decides how to rewrite media ownership laws that dictate how much media organizations can grow.

The purpose of Monday’s FCC hearing was to fully involve the public in the process. The hearing was the second in a series of media ownership hearings that the Commission is hosting throughout the country.

The Nashville media ownership hearing drew criticism from national recording artists who say that media ownership by large corporations could compromise their abilities to promote themselves and make decent livings. National journalism experts fear that media ownership by large corporations could further contribute to the decline in available job opportunities. While SPJ takes no formal position on this matter, in 2003, the Society did call for additional hearings on proposed media ownership laws. Additionally, the Society called upon all media outlets to devote more attention via news stories to the matter in an effort to raise public awareness.

Addressing the commissioners, Brewer urged them to consider whether weighing any action or inaction on behalf of the media ownership debate would have any impact on the quality of the public service being offered by media entities at the local level.

“Would keeping ownership rules status quo or expanding them help or hurt the quality of journalism being offered by media outlets across this country and the quality of public service these companies are providing,” Brewer asked. “SPJ’s Code of Ethics is considered by many to be the independent standard for quality journalism in our profession. It is the only code pervasive in the world of journalism that exists apart from company mandates and standards. We encourage the FCC to give further consideration to the question of media ownership based on the kinds of benchmarks set forth in our organization’s Code of Ethics.”

A full transcript of Brewer’s remarks can be read here.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, visit www.spj.org.


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