Hot Topic - Public Broadcasting / Mission, Finance and Politics
Scratch the surface of any particular debate about public broadcasting and a rash quickly swells up. Private sector broadcasters itch to grab listeners and viewers who would so obviously stream to their channels. Publishers see a fountain of youth, all ready to subscribe. Politicians, splinter and otherwise, are tormented by that "independent" monster waving bad news, robbing them of entitled glory or, usually, shade. It is tempting, then, for public broadcasters to break out in hives.
Every turbulence places the media in the eye of the storm. Blame the media has become the common refrain, typically from those unable to see beyond their own spin. If only there was control, churn some. If only there was decency, plead others. The media has become the eye of the storm.
Public broadcasting executives fall into two distinct groups. Many are lifers, sealers of the mission, steeped in the culture, occasionally blinded by it. Others are the change agents, coming in from outside the organization with new ideas or, at least, less baggage. More often than not, politicians have a large voice in selections, vacillating between staying the course or changing it. With the nature of media as it is in the 21st century, change is the first choice.
News coverage has long been driven by pictures. A striking photo or dramatic video will attract instant popular attention. The brain processes visual images much more quickly than words. Anthropologists and psychologists know this. So, too, editors. Others are learning.
For every sporting event media coverage starts early in the season. The tempo rises to the pre-game shows; lots of shouting and waving. The event itself is almost parenthetical. Itís the post-game analysis where everybody tries to appear reasoned and sober. So it is, too, with elections.
An article of faith among adherents to democratic principles is the significance of an independent public broadcasting service. Even commercial competitors, broadcasting and otherwise, accept, however tepidly, that public broadcasters lift the media market creatively and economically. None of that matters to the recently risen illiberal dictators and oligarchs. The consequence has unleashed a return to State broadcasting, easier on the populist ears and eyes.
Feuding publishers and public broadcasters are by no means ready to put down their pens, pixels or pitchforks. Battles over the illusive digital dividend shuttle between courtrooms and smoke-filled rooms. Laws are unclear, politicians uneasy and time passes quickly. Litigating the past, in the digital age, is quite unproductive.
See also in ftm Knowledge
Public Broadcasting - Arguments, Battles and Changes
Public broadcasters have - mostly - thrown off the musty stain of State broadcasting. And audiences for public channels are growing. But arguments and battles with politicians, publishers and commercial broadcasters threatens more changes. The ftm Knowledge file examines all sides. 168 pages PDF (March 2014)
Few pure media brands transcend borders and boundries to acheive the iconic status of the BBC. The institution has come to define public service broadcasting. Yet missteps, errors and judgment questions fuel critics. The BBC battles those critics and competitors and, sometimes, itself. 155 pages PDF (August 2015)
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Media in Spain - Diverse and Challenged – new
Media in Spain is steeped in tradition. yet challenged by diversity. Publishers hold great influence, broadcasters competing. New media has been slow to rise and business models for all are under stress. Rich in language and culture, Spain's media is reaching into the future and finding more than expected. 123 pages, PDF. January 2018
The Campaign Is On - Elections and Media
Elections campaigns are big media events. Candidates and issues are presented, analyzed and criticized in broadcast and print. Media is now more of a participant in elections than ever. This ftm Knowledge file reports on news coverage, advertising, endorsements and their effect on democracy at work. 84 pages. PDF (September 2017)
Fake News, Hate Speech and Propaganda
The institutional threat of fake news, hate speech and propaganda is testing the mettle of those who toil in news media. Those three related evils are not new, by any means, but taken together have put the truth and those reporting it on the back foot. Words matter. This ftm Knowledge file explores that light. 48 pages, PDF (March 2017)
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