Taking Back the News

| July / August 2003

Who owns the media?
Last year, The Nation updated its well-known media ownership chart, detailing the holdings of the 10 largest media conglomerates. It vividly illustrates how allowing media ownership to fall into a few hands has greatly diminished the diversity of voices. Worse yet, the chart is about to be outdated. A new initiative by the Federal Communications Commission could make it even easier for huge companies to buy up more news outlets. www.thenation.com/special/bigten.html

What can I do about media consolidation?
One place to learn about FCC rule changes and other related issues is mediareform.net, an online project sponsored by Free Press, a group based in Northampton, Massachusetts, that wants to get the public more involved shaping media policy. The site offers information on an upcoming national conference on media reform, November 7?9 in Madison, Wisconsin, organized by Robert McChesney, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy. www.mediareform.net

How can I affect media coverage?

  • Start with an old-fashioned letter to the editor. The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting tracks bias in the mainstream press and issues weekly alerts on issues that demand attention. www.fair.org
  • Create your own media coverage. The Independent Media Center is a worldwide network of activist media sites that allows anyone with Internet access to post an article, photo, video or audio clip online. www.indymedia.org
  • Get some hands-on training in television and radio work at your local media center. Many cities have such facilities, which are often connected to local libraries. The Alliance for Community Media lists many such organizations around the country. www.alliancecm.org

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