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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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December 23, 2007 6:38 AM

J-school deans

Posted by Ryan Blethen

The deans of America's top journalism schools called for journalists to become more active in the political discussion of their profession. In the op-ed, which can be found here, the deans write:

"But our profession needs to cast its reluctance to discuss broadcast regulation aside, and to let its voice be heard, loud and clear - on behalf of local reporting. The outcome of F.C.C. policy that matters most to us is not who owns what, but how much news gathering goes on."

They should care about who owns what. Ownership matters. They say as much later in the op-ed when talking about how deregulation has damaged the industry.

Why stop at broadcast regulation? I wish the deans had also urged print journalists to be more vocal about the damage cross-ownership has done to newspapers. I am not sure where any of these deans are on cross-ownership except for Northwestern's John Levine. He testified before a Senate committee last month about the need for the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban to be lifted.

Journalists, not just broadcast journalists, should listen to the deans. The debate about the press at the FCC is devoid of working journalists. Retired journalists popped up at the media ownership hearings, but rarely, if ever did any working journalists weight in. There is a political line for journalists, but this is different. This is about the survival of our industry. We need to speak up for ourselves.

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