It took 32 years, but the FCC has now said broadcasters in the country’s 20 largest television markets can also own a newspaper in the same market.
But, if ever there was a continuing story, this is it. According to the Associated Press, Congress is likely to weigh in on this issue again soon, but that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has some hefty political backing for this decision:
Martin pushed the vote through despite intense pressure from House and Senate members on Capitol Hill to delay it. The chairman, however, has the support of the White House, which has pledged to turn back any congressional action that seeks to undo the vote.
The Poynter Web site is reporting on how the ruling might affect specific companies and offering some resources for reporters covering the topic:
The FCC also granted permanent waivers some companies owning newspapers and TV stations outside the top 20 markets, like Gannett and Media General, which otherwise might have been forced to sell properties to conform to the new ruling.
What does this all mean for journalists? It’s hard to say, but on one level it’s a recognition of “the changing media marketplace” to quote Martin –something every journalist must consider and adapt to at some point.