Should newspapers be funded by the government?

Ezra Klein, Washington Post

Moral of the day: Selling access to government officials who are willing to contribute their time and power to the media's cause is a bad revenue model for newspapers. Another way of saying that is that newspapers should not be funded by indirect government subsidies. But the whole brouhaha confirms my long-held belief that newspapers should be funded by direct government subsidies.

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Before we 'save' journalism...

Jim Naureckas, FAIR Extra

One thing to keep in mind while worrying about the future of journalism is that its past hasn’t been all that great either.

Journalism ought to be judged not on the profits it makes for stockholders but on the service it provides to democracy. By that measure, the reporting profession has been falling down on the job: Leading us into an aggressive war with evidence based on lies, overlooking an asset bubble whose predictable deflation devastated our economy, failing to raise alarms about the erosion of key civil liberties.

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DTV conversion may result in e-waste tsunami

Basel Action Network

As part of making the switch to digital TV, many consumers are ditching old TVs in favor of new digital-ready or flat screen sets. Old TVs contain toxic metals such as lead and cadmium, and must be recycled properly rather than simply trashed.

However, environmental watchdogs warn that due to loose regulations, about 80% of so-called "recyclers" in North America will simply export your old TV to countries like China, India, or Nigeria, where these toxins will poison villagers using primitive technologies to recover valuable materials from the electronic scrap.

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From the blog

Before switch, RTM provides DTV converter boxes to Seattle YWCA residents

On Thursday, June 11th, organizers of Reclaim the Media's Seattle DTV Assistance center partnered with the Seattle YWCA to distribute about 100 donated digital TV converter boxes to YWCA residents who were unable to apply for the government’s $40 coupon program through regular channels.

While apartment dwellers are nominally eligible for the coupons, the YWCA residents ran into trouble when the government's coupon distribution system failed to recognize the YWCA address as a residence.

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For Analog TV, the end is near!


Friday, June 12 is the date that all remaining major TV stations will go digital-only; if you watch over-the-air TV, your screen will go blank unless you have a converter box or a digital-ready TV. Recent estimates suggested that there may still be more than 30,000 households in the Seattle-Tacoma area who are not ready for the switch. Here are a few tips for last-minute switchers:

Get a box! There are several options for getting a $40 box (basically free if you have a coupon. Fred Meyer stores are making good on their promise to sell a $40 box. Online retailers with $40 boxes include freedtvshop.com. Target is selling boxes for $45. If you already have a UHF (loop) antenna, you may not need a new antenna. Try your current antenna before buying a new one. If you do need a new antenna, they run between $10 and $40 .

Get a coupon! If you haven't gotten a coupon, it's not too late--even though at this point you will be without TV for a week or so. The fastest way to order coupons is online at dtv2009.gov, or by calling 888.DTV.2009.

Get help! For information, visit one of Seattle's local DTV assistance centers (listed on the left column of this page) or call 206.508.1277. Several organizations have received government funding to help you with home installation: Call Installs, Inc at 800.582.4250, Apollo Industries at 800.504.5677, or Best Buy (no purchase necessary) at 877.229.3889.

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TV switch from analog to digital happens Friday, ready or not

Lindsay Toler, Seattle Times

As many as 33,000 Seattle-Tacoma area homes are still unprepared for the switch to digital television, and TV watchers only have until Friday to prepare.

As commercials first aired informing viewers of the upcoming switch from analog to digital television, Adnan Munye didn't pay attention.

"I have kids!" he explained, flashing an exasperated smile and motioning toward his fussing 2-½-year-old son, Ali.

"Now I realize I need it," Munye said last week at a DTV box-swap event in his New Holly neighborhood. He dropped by with his son, got his questions answered and registered to get two $40 coupons to trade for DTV converter boxes. Now he's prepared for the switch, which occurs across the country on Friday.

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Appeals court rules in favor of Low-Power FM

Media Access Project

In a significant victory for low power FM radio, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit today affirmed the December 2007 Federal Communications Commission decision to protect LPFM stations against “encroachment” by full power radio stations.

The Commission’s ruling was challenged by the National Association of Broadcasters. Media Access Project represented Prometheus Radio Project as an intervenor in the case.

"MAP strongly applauds the Court of Appeals for upholding the Commission’s public interest authority to protect and promote low power FM," said MAP Vice President Parul P. Desai. "The decision is a critical win for the future of LPFM and the preservation of local, diverse viewpoints in communities throughout the nation," she said.

Read the court's decision.

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Sotomayor falls in journalism's blind spot

Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, New America Media

The president’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court has come during a most awkward time in the history of U.S. journalism, which many analysts claim is in serious decline, if not on life support.

What her nomination clearly shows us is that what this nation needs is more incisive journalism, not less. Yet, to be sure, the rise of right-wing media, which include FOX News and virtually all the known right-wing radio talk show hosts, is the antithesis of journalism.

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Turning racial language upside down

Richard Prince, Journal-isms/Maynard Institute

"Rush and his ilk have come up with a name for the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court, a Supreme Court that has been 99 percent white men for 200 years; and that name is 'reverse racist.' She is a racist and someone has to stop her because for too long white men have been kept down by powerful Puerto Rican women."

Bill Maher's riff on the Supreme Court nomination of federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor was a refreshing cut-to-the-chase about the tactic of using the word "racist" outside of its actual meaning, a calling-out that most of the journalists on the Sunday shows were unwilling or unable to do.

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Get ready for June 12: where to find DTV Assistance in Seattle


Need help finding or setting up your DTV converter box in Seattle? The June 12 DTV conversion date is just around the corner, and Seattle-area DTV Assistance Centers are open to provide help:

For local telephone assistance, call 206.508.1277 (english) or 206.988.3760 (español).

Local drop-in centers open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5pm-8pm:
Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave S
Garfield Community Center, 2323 East Cherry St.
Yesler Community Center, 917 E. Yesler Way
Van Asselt Community Center, 2820 S. Myrtle St

Local drop-in centers open business hours Mon-Fri:
Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW. Open 9am-9pm.
Leadership Academy, 425 SW 144th St, Burien. Open noon-8pm (en español)

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. - John Dewey