The Federal Trade Commission today announced December 1 and 2, 2009, as the dates on which it will begin a series of workshops titled "From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?" The workshops previously were scheduled to begin on September 15, 2009.
The workshops will bring competition, consumer protection, and First Amendment perspectives to bear on the financial, technological, and other challenges facing the news industry as consumers increasingly turn to the Internet for free news and information, advertisers increasingly move their ads onto online sites and reduce advertising buys as a result of the recession, and news organizations struggle with large debt that was taken on when times were better.
Several large daily newspapers across the country have declared bankruptcy in the past year, and others have imposed significant cuts in staff and other expenditures to lower their costs dramatically, although some smaller community newspapers may continue to have local monopolies. News magazines also have seen significant drop-offs in advertising revenues, despite relatively stable circulation numbers. Broadcast television news and radio news broadcasts have lost audience shares over the past decade, while cable and Internet audiences have grown. The news media and the practice of journalism are in transition, as evidenced by multiple innovative models for journalism that have emerged in the past few years.
The workshops will consider a wide range of issues, including: the economics of journalism and how those economics are playing out on the Internet and in print; the wide variety of new business and non-profit models for journalism online; factors relevant to the new economic realities for news organizations, such as behavioral and other targeted online advertising, online news aggregators, and bloggers; and the variety of governmental policies – including antitrust, copyright, and tax policy – that have been raised as possible means of finding new ways for journalism to thrive. Witnesses will include journalists and other representatives of news organizations, privacy experts, direct marketers, online advertisers, academics, new media representatives (such as bloggers and local news Web sites), and consumer advocates. An agenda for the December 1 and 2, 2009, workshops will be circulated at a later time.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.