For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Liz Rose, Communications Director, 202-265-1490 x 32

Free Press Releases 'New Public Media: A Plan for Action'

Paper Offers New Strategies for Supporting and Redefining Public Media in the Digital Age

WASHINGTON - A new policy paper from Free Press called
New Public Media: A Plan for Action presents a series of creative
policies and proposes reforms to support quality news reporting in local
communities and to build a world-class noncommercial media system in

"We believe
local news reporting should become one of public media's top
priorities," said Free Press Managing Director Craig Aaron, one of the
paper's co-authors. "We should redeploy and redouble our resources to
keep a watchful eye on the powerful and to reliably examine the vital
issues that most Americans can't follow closely on their own."

The paper
notes that the United States spends just $1.43 per person in federal
money on public media - a small fraction of what is spent by other
leading nations.

In the paper,
Free Press urges the creation of a trust fund seeded with a substantial
endowment to supplement annual congressional appropriations and
ultimately to enable the system to be completely self-sufficient.


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Free Press proposes a number of ways to support such a
trust, including spectrum fees, a spectrum auction, a small tax on
advertising, changes to the way advertising is treated in the tax code,
or a small assessment on consumer electronic devices.

"Increasing funding for
public media is critical, but we also need a series of reforms that will
prevent undue political influence over content and ensure that public
media are well run, more diverse and worthy of greater support," said
Candace Clement of Free Press, a co-author of the paper. "Any of these
changes will require going outside the Beltway and actually engaging
local communities."

Read New
Public Media: A Plan for Action:

The paper
will be officially released on May 11 at the Free Press Policy Summit at
the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The summit is supported by the John S.
and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information, go to


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