The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments in advance of upcoming workshops that will explore the Internet’s impact on the news media, including the new avenues for innovation and the financial challenges that it has created for the industry. The workshops on Dec. 1-2, 2009 will consider a wide range of issues, such as Internet-related changes in advertising and the way people receive news, ideas for reducing costs and restructuring news organizations, potential for-profit and non-profit models for journalism, and the evolving competition among news organizations.
In a notice to be published in the Federal Register, the FTC is asking for input on a series of questions to be addressed in the workshops, including:
• How is the Internet changing the way consumers access news and how advertising dollars are spent?
• What economic challenges do news organizations face today?
• What cost-cutting measures have news organizations considered? Which have they adopted, and how have they affected the provision of news to consumers?
• What collaborations are news organizations undertaking or considering to deal with financial challenges brought about by the Internet?
• How is the Internet changing the way news organizations and others research, write, edit, produce, and distribute news?
• What innovative forms of journalism have emerged due to the Internet?
• What are the business models, including the revenue sources, for journalism on the Internet?
• How are news organizations likely to compete for audience and advertising in the future?
• Are new or changed government policies needed to support optimal amounts and types of journalism, including public affairs coverage?
• Should the tax code be modified to provide special status or tax breaks to all or certain types of news organizations?
• Do current U.S. copyright protections provide enough incentive to create news content?
• Should the federal government provide additional funding for news organizations?
The Commission will consider comments received by November 6, 2009, in preparing for the workshops; later comments will be accepted as well.
Participants in the FTC workshops will include journalists, editors, owners, and other representatives of news organizations, online advertisers, new media representatives (such as bloggers and local news Web sites), consumer advocates, academics, economists, and government officials. The FTC will post an agenda for the workshops at a later time.
The workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the FTC’s satellite building conference center, located at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. All attendees will be required to display a current driver’s license or other form of photo identification for entry.
For more information about the workshops, please visit http://www.ftc.gov/opp/workshops/news/index.shtml. To file comments, visit: http://public.commentworks.com/ftc/newsmediaworkshop. The Commission vote approving the Federal Register notice announcing the workshops and soliciting public comments was 4-0.
Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for such accommodations should be submitted via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Carrie McGlothin at 202-326-3388. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and a way to contact you if we need more information.
Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.