RTDNA blasts FCC proposal to visit newsrooms as part of study

The Federal Communication Commission’s recent proposal to study the “critical information needs of the American people” has been met with rebuke by the Radio Television Digital News Association and others.  The proposal, linked here, recommends newsroom visits (of all media) and in-depth neighborhood studies.  It also involves monitoring broadcast content during random weeks both inside and outside sweeps periods.

Foxnews.com has made this its top web story.  You can read their piece here.


Of particular interest here, is the portion of the proposal that involves FCC contractors doing follow-up interviews with newsroom personnel, including newsgathering staff.  To wit:

The final component of this qualitative piece involves the execution of in-depth interviews with corporate management, local management, and support staff. We suggest a maximum of 56 media provider sites (radio and television stations) be surveyed. Within that maximum, interviews will be conducted within each market, stratified by market size. We propose that interviews be conducted at six sites in each of the selected small markets, ten sites in the selected medium markets, and 12 sites in large markets.  Five interviews will be conducted at each media site. The selection of the type of staff to interview within each market shall be largely dependent on the number of properties within each market.


The purpose of these interviews is to ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.  Due to the highly sensitive nature of information collected (particularly among reporters and anchors of television news stations), demographic information will not be reported. Additionally, confidentiality will be assured among all participants interviewed.
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