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FCC Commissioner Warns of Agency’s Plan to Monitor Newsrooms

An FCC commissioner is warning people about an agency study that would bring government monitors into newsrooms and inspect issues like the amount of time spent on the “critical information needs” of Americans in news content.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal bringing people’s attention to this study, saying “the government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.” And while participation is technically voluntary, ignoring them would not be a wise decision for any news outlet that wants an FCC license.

The study itself, laid out last year [PDF], is meant to “understand the critical information needs (CINs) of the American public). One of the issues addressed in the study is how these CINs are framed, and whether said framing does enough do give viewers the full context of the story.

There are also a number of questions that they pose in the study to news managers and staffers, including the following:

  • What is the news philosophy of the station?
  • How do you define critical information that the community needs?
  • Who decides which stories are covered?
  • Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers (viewers, listeners, readers) that was rejected by management?

You can watch Fox News’ report on the issue below:

[photo via Shutterstock]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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