As Progressives Plan to Meet in Memphis, it’s Time to Look Beyond Policy

We are heartened by the upcoming conference on media reform coming up Jan. 12-14. But the focus of the conference should be to look beyond Washington for answers. The communications industry is already defining our emerging digital media reality through major investment and mergers. Washington—even under the Democrats—can’t really help in the short-term. Media industry leaders know this—that policy is largely irrelevant at the moment. Yes, we should fight for network neutrality, access for low-income Americans and oppose big mergers. But we must also address how the public interest can be best served in this broadband media “anywhere, anytime” era. It requires, in our opinion, a proactive effort to shape the marketplace. If we are going to have a media system which provides serious news, as well as promotes ideas which puts people first (think health care, employment, education and peace), we need to work together to help create it.

The theme for Memphis should be to both address policy and market activism. Otherwise, we won’t make the progress we so desperately require.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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