Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 6:00am
CONVERGENCE OR CONSOLIDATION?
[SOURCE: Poynter Online, AUTHOR: Pat Walters]
What's changed since the FCC last reviewed media ownership rules in 2003? Perhaps the most fundamental change involves the blurring of boundaries. Blogs, Facebook and YouTube have given the audience the power to publish. News is becoming a dialogue. Boundaries within the newsroom are also crumbling. Print reporters are being asked to take pictures and record audio. Newspaper companies are producing Emmy-award-winning video. This is about convergence. Merriam-Webster says the word means "moving toward union or uniformity." This coming together -- some might call it consolidation -- is exactly what the FCC is charged with monitoring. And here we find a thread that connects today's hearing with the one four years ago. It's a corporate connection: Media General. The company, headquartered in Richmond, owns 25 daily newspapers and 23 network-affiliated broadcast television stations. It owns one of the largest newspapers -- The Tampa Tribune -- and one of the largest television stations -- WFLA -- in Florida. Both are in Tampa. The company calls the city its "most advanced convergence market."
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