The Ownership of the News

The Ownership of the News

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This report examines the impact that media ownership can have on the news and the effect of consolidation on the newspaper, television and radio industries. The newspaper industry is facing severe problems as readership levels fall; young people turn to other sources of news; and advertising moves to the internet. Newspaper companies are having to make savings and this is having a particular impact on investment in news gathering and investigative journalism. In television news the same trends are evident. Most news programmes have smaller audiences than they had ten years ago; younger people in particular are watching less television news; commercial television channels are losing advertising revenue to the internet. New media, in particular the internet, are having a major impact on the way news is produced and consumed, but the traditional forms of news are likely to be the most popular sources of news for the foreseeable future. The proliferation of news sources has not been matched by a corresponding expansion in professional and investigative journalism. Owners can and do influence the news in a variety of ways. They are in a position to have significant political impact. The consolidation of media ownership adds to the risk of disproportionate influence. The Committee recommends reform of the public interest test criteria for newspaper mergers and also believes that reforming cross-media ownership restrictions on regional and local newspaper and radio mergers is necessary. The Committee does not consider changes in ownership regulation and competition law to be enough if the aim is to ensure a range of voices and high quality news. The public service broadcasting system in the United Kingdom provides an invaluable news service for the citizen and it is crucial that the contribution of all the public service broadcasters is maintained.Union of Journalists told us that aquot;very littleaquot; content of free newspapers is unique and most is aquot;culled chiefly from agency copy and slickly ... Free newspapers did not have much of an impact on the national market until 1999 when Associated Newspapers launched Metro in London. ... Classified advertising space is cheap and is often bought by individuals who wish to buy or sell goods or seek services.

Title:The Ownership of the News
Author: Great Britain: Parliament: House of Lords: Select Committee on Communications, Bernan
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2008-06-01

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