“Does Bigger Media Equal Better Media?”

(via Free Press)

“October 23, 2006
PRESS ADVISORY
Contact
Rik Panganiban, SSRC, 212 377-2700, ext. 644 or panganiban@ssrc.org
Gloria Tristani. 202 454-5655 or tristani@benton.org

***Press conference TODAY, 1 p.m. EDT***

Does Bigger Media Equal Better Media?
Four New Studies Cast a Critical Eye on Media Consolidation

Today at 1 p.m. EDT, the Benton Foundation and the Social Science Research Council will host a telephone press conference to announce the release of four independent academic studies on the impact of media consolidation in the United States.

WHAT: Telephone press conference to unveil four important studies on media ownership

WHEN: TODAY, 1 p.m. EDT

WHO:
Gloria Tristani, President, Benton Foundation and Former FCC Commissioner
Joe Karaganis, Program Director, Social Science Research Council
Dr. Carolyn Byerly, Howard University
Dr. Phil Napoli, Fordham University
Peter DiCola, University of Michigan

WHERE: To join, call 888-694-4676 — conference code #8013008

The studies are available at <http://www.benton.org/&gt; and <http://www.ssrc.org/programs/media&gt;

The studies focus on two questions that are central to upcoming FCC deliberations about the regulation of media ownership:

·  How the concentration of media ownership affects media content, from local news reporting to radio music programming.

·  How minority groups have fared in an increasingly deregulated media environment, both as owners of media outlets and as historically-underserved audiences for news and other content.

The studies are intended to inform the FCC’s re-examination of media ownership restrictions and have been filed with the FCC during the initial public comment period ending Monday, October 23.

Benton president and former FCC commissioner Gloria Tristani said: “These studies make clear that there is no support for the contention that media consolidation correlates with better, more local or more diverse media content. To the contrary, the studies strongly suggest that ownership restrictions should be tightened, not relaxed.”

The four studies examine key relationships between ownership, programming, and community impact, with a particular focus on:

The Radio Industry. Peter DiCola, of the University of Michigan and the Future of Music Coalition, examines how the concentration of radio station ownership affects the diversity of music programming.

Minority and Women-owned Media. Carolyn Byerly of Howard University takes a critical look at FCC data on minority and women-owned media.

Minority News Consumption. Carolyn Byerly, Jamila A. Cupid and Kehbuma Langmia examine minority perspectives on the media coverage of minority communities, drawing on 196 interviews with African-Americans, Africans, Latinos and Asians in the DC and Maryland area.

TV/Newspaper Cross-ownership & Public Affairs. Michael Yan of the University of Michigan analyzes the relationship between newspaper and television cross-ownership and the provision of local news and public affairs programming.

The telephone press conference will take place today at 1PM EST. The authors of the studies will briefly present their findings and be available for questions.

To participate, please call 888-694-4676 and provide the operator with the reference code for the event: 8013008.

The studies are available online at <http://www.ssrc.org/programs/media&gt; and <http://www.benton.org/&gt; . To arrange interviews with individual researchers after the press conference, please contact Rik Panganiban at 212-377-2700 x 644 or email panganiban@ssrc.org

###

About the Benton Foundation: A private foundation since 1981, the Benton Foundation (<http://www.benton.org&gt;) works to advance a public interest vision and policy alternatives for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications for solving social problems. The foundation is based in Washington, DC.

About the Social Science Research Council: The SSRC (<http://www.ssrc.org&gt;) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1923 to bring research to bear on public problems. It works on a wide range of issues, from media policy, to the social impact of HIV/AIDS, to changes in systems of higher education. The SSRC is based in New York City”

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