Dodging a Bullet: The FCC’s Report on the Future of the Media

Seventeen months ago the FCC teed up what until last Thursday was known as the “Future of Media” project.  For all practical purposes the project’s report, now called “The Information Needs of Communities,” is likely to be forgotten in half that time.

On the face of it this sounds like a criticism.  Far from it!  For its thoroughness and level-headed analysis, and especially for its acknowledgment of the constitutional limits on governmental involvement in the media, this report, and its principal personnel – most notably the man brought in to oversee the effort, Steven Waldman – are owed a debt of gratitude.

Before this project began there arose a powerful network comprised of ideologically motivated activist groups like Free Press; academic institutions and their publications, like Columbia University’s CJR; and deep-pocketed grant-giving groups, most importantly the Knight Foundation; all in the vanguard of what is euphemistically called the “media reform” movement.

And as Chairman Genachowski himself acknowledged, it was the work of these players – most notably the Knight Commission (a creation of the Knight Foundation, which two years earlier released a similarly titled report) that prompted the FCC’s own project.

So with this as its provenance, who would have been surprised if the report had embraced the media reform crowd’s recommendations?  But, mirabile dictu, it did not!  Instead, the report effectively dismisses the worst aspects of the media reformers’ governmental agenda.  Missing or explicitly rejected, for instance, are increased funding of public broadcasting, a “Geek Corps” for local democracy (patterned after AmeriCorps), federal tax credits for investigative journalism, and calls for a halt to media consolidation.

In fact, one of the few “action elements” in the report was a call for less government regulation.  As remarked by media reporter John Eggerton, the report “recommended scrapping the FCC’s ascertainment rules … as well as closing the localism proceeding without taking steps like creating community advisory boards to weigh in on public interest programming.”

There are those of us who believed that it was a mistake for the FCC to engage in this project at all – first out of conviction that the FCC had no authority to venture so far afield, and second out of fear that the report might provide the impetus for intrusive and unconstitutional regulations or legislation.  But in light of what the project report says, and doesn’t say, the feeling now is that some good will come of it.

After all, the “media reformers” will never have a better setup than they had here. With a Democratic majority on the Commission, a substantial infrastructure of activists and their financial enablers, and a media industry that is in fact struggling, if ever there were a time when the reformers’ wish lists might find policy traction this was it.  And now they have their reward: an exhaustive report that almost completely ignores that part of their agenda requiring governmental action.

During the Clinton era, many of the same kind of people who today support media reform helped man a presidential commission that came to be known as the Gore Commission.  Its focus was on the “public interest obligations of broadcasters in the digital age.”  And like the agenda of today’s media reformers, it encouraged government action in ways that undermined the First Amendment.

In the end, the Gore Commission produced its own report, a document that was as dense as it was feckless, and the whole enterprise sank from public consciousness almost immediately – as well it should have, since it produced nothing of value.  The guess here is that the FCC’s Information Needs of Communities report will also sink from public consciousness – not because it lacks value (its scholarship and usefulness as a research document are undeniable, for instance), but because it wisely steered clear of recommendations advanced by the more feral elements within the media reform community – people, for instance, like Commissioner Copps, a long-time spear carrier in that army, who immediately released an impassioned denunciation of the report.

Had the report endorsed radical (and preposterous) things, like a federal tax credit for investigative journalism, it would have attracted more ink, and been the subject of conversation far longer.  But it’s a credit to its authors, and to Chairman Genachowski, that it did not do so, because it shows they possess both a realistic view of the scope of the FCC’s limited authority and a healthy respect for the First Amendment.


The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.

Funding Net Neutrality … And Worse

There are so many things wrong with the FCC’s codified “net neutrality” rules, the kindest thing one can say about those responsible is that they were all born yesterday.  But criticism of this monstrosity abounds already, and given the potential for it to be wholly or partly undone by the courts or Congress, no further discussion of its many flaws is either timely or necessary.

Just before Christmas, however, John Fund wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal that ought to be required reading for every media and communications mogul in America.  Titled “The Net Neutrality Coup,” Fund recounts the role played by a handful of large grant-giving foundations, and the beneficiaries of their largesse (“paid clappers,” in Ted Turner’s immortal phrase) in the promotion of this cynical creation of the “media reform” movement.

Perhaps the greatest value in Fund’s piece is his finding that most of those foundations that provided the lion’s share of funding for net neutrality were also among the biggest sources of funding for the earlier (and even worse) mischief, “campaign finance reform.”

Fund identifies by name a total of six grant-giving foundations and four operating organizations.  They are, among the former: the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Joyce Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the John and Catherine MacArthur Foundation.

The four operating groups are Free Press, Public Knowledge, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the New America Foundation.  What all of these groups – funders and recipients alike – share in common is that, to varying degrees, they are all liberal-leaning, or “progressive,” as they yearn to be called nowadays.

Missing from this list is another billion-dollar grant-giving group – the Knight Foundation – which, through the Knight Commission, has itself peddled  net neutrality, along with such pap as the need for greater funding of public broadcasting, and tax credits for investigative journalism.  Though we won’t know for sure until its report is issued, the FCC appears to have adopted the Knight Commission’s recommendations as a kind of blueprint in its approach to the commission’s so-called Future of Media initiative.

The reason all of this should be of the greatest importance to everyone, but particularly to titans of media and communications, is simple: The communications policy views of grant-making groups like the Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation (not to mention Free Press) are inimical to the well being of media and communications companies.

It’s not entirely clear why the “progressive” moneybags’ lavish spending has not incited individuals with different political views, many of whom have amassed great wealth in the media and communications business, to fund non-profit organizations with more pro-business communications policy views.  Perhaps it’s because some of them, having gotten theirs and now in retirement, no longer care much what happens to the industry of which they were once a part.  Or maybe it’s because many don’t think of themselves, or want others to think of them, as “conservatives,” whatever that means in the context of communications policymaking.

But a likelier explanation is that many fail to understand what a threat to their own and their industry’s welfare some of these groups actually pose.  Perhaps because businessmen are very good at lobbying, and understand the ins and outs of PACs, they don’t see the need to engage their critics in the worlds of academia or think tankery.

It’s a mistake, that, because in truth it’s the people who deal in ideas – intellectuals and artists, activists and policy wonks – who are often the engines in the development of policy issues in which legislators and regulators are but the last people to board the train.  Witness, for instance, net neutrality.

As John Fund puts it, in the conclusion of his WSJ piece, “So the ‘media reform’ movement paid for research that backed its views, paid activists to promote the research, saw its allies installed in the FCC and other key agencies, and paid for the FCC research that evaluated the research they had already paid for.  Now they have their policy.  That’s quite a coup.”

The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.

The Intrinsic Menace in ‘Media Reform’

Christian theologians refer to the first three books of the New Testament as the synoptic gospels.  This, because of their similarities in content and order.  The new religion of “media reform,” whose principal tenet is that government needs to “save” journalism, is developing its own synoptic gospels – the gospel according to the Knight Foundation, Free Press, and just now rounding into view, the FCC.

For those who, until now, have enjoyed the luxury of knowing little about the handiwork of this threesome, a few words are in order:

The Knight Foundation (the vestigial remains of the defunct Knight-Ridder newspaper empire) is one of the country’s largest grant-giving foundations, with assets in the neighborhood of $2 billion.  Like Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" ("I won’t be ignored, Dan"), the Knight Foundation is not going away.

Through its gifts to educational and nonprofit organizations, the foundation funds journalism programs as its “signature work.”  It recently joined forces with the Aspen Institute to create the Knight Commission, the product of whose labor is the recently released report on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy (not to be confused with the information needs of community Democrats), an opus that, as reported here, is trivial and irrelevant, about 50-50.

Free Press is the absurd name of a paleoleftist organization that sees government influence over the media as a way to advance its larger political views, a point made both explicitly and inadvertently in the published opinions of the group’s founder and Maximum Leader, Professor Robert McChesney.  Free Press (or its lobbying arm, the Free Press Action Fund) convenes national “media reform” conferences; encourages laws and regulations that aim to increase the role of public media and reduce that of the commercial media; and coins amusingly infantile slogans like “Net neutrality: the First Amendment of the Internet.”

The FCC, of course, is the regulatory agency with sway over the affairs of the media, which, under chairman Julius Genachowski, has embarked on a number of “media reform” initiatives that parallel, if they aren’t in actual collaboration with, those of Free Press and the Knight Foundation.

Genachowski, for instance, was presented with a copy of the Knight Commission report at a publication ceremony at the Newseum, and in an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, the head of the FCC’s Future of Media initiative made explicit reference to the Knight Commission in answer to a question about what form his recommendations would take.

So what “media reform” policy positions do these organizations share?  As shown in their own comments or testimony, that of groups they fund, and/or that of others writing about them, at least three items can be identified.  They favor “net neutrality,” increased funding for public media, and an expanded role, through explicit tax breaks or other changes in the tax laws, for nonprofit organizations.

Looked at one at a time, and from a distance, none of these may seem like an unreasonable objective.  But taken together, and examined closely, they constitute a profound assault on some of our most cherished ideals about the media and its role in our national affairs.

Take “net neutrality,” for instance.  In both the literal and figurative sense of the term, network neutrality is the condition that obtains today.  Nobody is being favored or denied by ISPs of anything worth talking about.  But the proponents of net neutrality don’t want to leave well enough alone.  At the prospective cost of a reduced build-out of the broadband infrastructure (and the guaranteed intrusion of government into the affairs of the hitherto unregulated Internet), Free Press, the Knight Foundation, and the FCC want to codify and extend the Commission’s so-called Internet principles.

But by putting the camel’s nose of government under the tent of the Internet, codified net neutrality regulations would threaten the independence of the freest communications sector in the country, and thereby pose a direct challenge to both the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment, as well briefed by constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe.

Proposals to change the tax laws so as to permit for-profit media companies to operate, in whole or in part, as nonprofits, or to explicitly authorize gifts to commercial media from nonprofit grant-giving foundations, or (as the Knight Commission recommends) to provide tax credits for investigative journalism, are similarly problematical.

As with net neutrality, the threat in amending the tax laws along these lines is that by doing so one lets the fox in the hen house.  How, for instance, would it be possible to insulate the media from charges of bias, and the concomitant threats to their tax-exempt status, when their political coverage offended one party or the other?  Might this not have the practical, if not the intended, effect of reducing the amount and kind of political coverage, like candidate endorsements?

Calls for greater funding of public media like NPR and PBS, through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, are not so much constitutionally objectionable as they are ludicrously untimely.  Here we are as a nation, teetering on the brink of insolvency and with millions unemployed, and the recommendation is that we spend more taxpayer dollars on… public broadcasting?  Even without obliging PBS stations to commit suicide by requiring them to reorient their news programming toward local news (as all of the media reform advocates recommend), surely this idea is going nowhere soon.

Nor should it. News coverage by the public media in the United States represents a tiny, and because of that tolerable, adjunct to the vastly more important commercial media, whose independence from government is the sine qua non of its editorial independence.

Whatever one’s qualms or fears about the media of the future, the importance of independent (read: commercial) media is clear.  For this reason, the crisis in “medialand” is no cause to throw the baby out with the bath water, particularly where the “solutions” offered – like those of the media reform crowd – ignore decades of experience in the way the world works.

There are some people who understand this and some who don’t, but should.  An example of the former is FCC Commissioner McDowell who, in obvious discomfort by the direction the agency’s media initiative appears headed, has questioned the “constitutional, legal, and policy implications” of any government effort to “preserve or change journalism.”

Those who, in large numbers, do not get it include much of the “netroots nation” and progressives generally.  But here’s an exercise that might provide a cure for this.  Imagine a time, not too many years in the future, when the GOP controls the presidency, the House, and the Senate.  The Republican president has appointed a majority of the commissioners at the FTC and the FCC, and has, like all presidents, substantial influence with the independent agencies.

In this environment, how confident would progressives be that the Republicans would not attempt to use the FCC’s oversight of the Internet, as established through the years-earlier codification of net neutrality rules, or sway over the committees of Congress (and through it of the CPB), to influence the content of the media, commercial and public?

It is, of course, a rhetorical question.

First published here on The Huffington Post, Feb. 22, 2010.

Media ‘Reform’ and the First Amendment

Despite their general lack of experience or expertise in law, commerce, finance, or technology, people with journalistic backgrounds are these days testifying before Congress and regulatory agencies, sponsoring seminars, and writing papers in a broadly coordinated effort to influence laws and regulations that govern the media.

They are doing this, they say, out of a concern for the “future of journalism,” but to the extent that policymakers act on the journalists’ recommendations they may do damage to the commercial media, old and new, and great violence to the First Amendment.

For the most part, journalists’ understanding of and support for the First Amendment is limited to their parochial interests.  They want access to government information, protection from libel laws, and the right not to have to reveal their sources.

As it happens, all of those things are of benefit not just to journalists but also to the news-consuming public, which is why legislation creating a federal shield law for reporters, to give one example, is a good idea.  But the point remains: Reporters and the commentariat generally have a very blinkered view of the scope of the Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

This explains why journalists report and opine so infrequently on the myriad First Amendment issues that impact people and institutions other than themselves.  Things, for instance, like commercial speech.

State and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have adjudicated many cases wherein they have ruled that advertising and other kinds of promotional speech is entitled to First Amendment protection, but these cases are rarely covered, other than in the media trade press, to any significant degree.

In similar fashion reporters – aside from such notable exceptions as George Will – have raised very few objections, along First Amendment or any other lines, to the speech-curtailing aspects of so-called campaign finance reform, as in McCain-Feingold’s restrictions on issue ads.

Nor have they objected much to the “speech codes” that have been implemented on so many college campuses, or to the right of government to regulate the media in ways, as with some of the broadcasters’ “public interest” obligations, where such regulations have the practical effect of undermining the broadcasters’ editorial freedom.

As with commercial speech, all of these issues implicate the First Amendment, and all have been considered by the courts as such issues, but not to the interest or concern of many reporters.

Given this track record it’s shocking but not surprising, as the saying goes, that journalists are these days recommending so many ill-considered ways that government might “save” or “restructure” American journalism.

There are a number of examples of this trend, like Dan Rather’s embarrassing speech last year at an Aspen Institute symposium, where he asked President Obama to create a government commission to “save journalism,” or the recommendations of the risibly clueless Knight Commission, with its recent call for a “federal tax credit for the support of investigative journalism” and creation of a “Geek Corps for Local Democracy.”

But the mother lode of the literature in promotion of this unfortunate movement is a lengthy piece published last year in the Columbia Journalism Review.  Titled “The Reconstruction of American Journalism,” the article was co-authored by Michael Schudson, a Columbia University journalism professor, and Leonard Downie, Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post.

Among their recommendations:

  • The IRS should explicitly authorize news organizations to be created or converted into nonprofit entities, regardless of their mix of financial support, including advertising.
  • Public radio and television should receive increased funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for which their programming should be “substantially reoriented” so as to provide significant local news reporting.
  • The FCC should create a “Fund for Local News” with money the Commission collects from fees imposed on broadcasters, telecom users, and/or Internet service providers, said funds to be distributed through grants from “Local News Fund Councils” to news organizations (commercial and nonprofit alike) that propose “worthy initiatives in local news reporting.”

Breathtaking.  And it begs the question: Is it too much to ask that a professor of journalism, and the former executive editor of a leading U.S. newspaper, have some understanding of the crucial need for a separation of government and the press?  Does it not occur to either of these gentlemen that it’s insufficient just to give lip service to that concept?

Though we live during a time when journalists spend more time reporting on corporate rather than governmental malfeasance, the greatest value of a free press is in its check on government.  The marketplace, after all, provides some control on the conduct of corporations (and particularly so where government regulators aren’t in bed with them) but without an independent and credible press there really is no check on government.

Journalists often speak, and wisely so, of “following the money trail.”  It’s a good practice, and one that immediately illuminates the profound error in any scheme that proposes to deliver funding from the government to the media.  It’s really pretty simple.  Where the media do not receive government funding – directly or indirectly – they are free to speak critically of the government without fear of a loss of revenue, a condition that is undone if they do receive funding.

Apart from the long-term effects, the mechanics of doling out government assistance itself invites abuse.  Take, for instance, the idea of taxpayer funds being funneled to the commercial press through the Orwellian-sounding “Local News Fund Councils.”  What kind of people, you might ask, would be appointed to serve on such councils?  The authors recommend journalists (?), educators, and diverse “community leaders.”  In practice what this would mean is a veritable Noah’s Ark of single-issue and special-interest groups (all of which would call themselves public interest groups) with strong political connections.  And woe to those would-be grant recipients who failed to successfully run the PC gauntlet laid down by this crew.

And what about those who did receive funding?  Well if, for instance, they happened to be broadcasters they could look forward to the day when their “Local News Fund Councils” hooked up to compare notes with their “Community Advisory Boards,” as some at the FCC are proposing be created.  Wouldn’t that be a great idea?  Democracy in action.

The headlines on some news stories suggest that schemes like these have appeal not just to “media reformers,” but to the very people that free press advocates should fear most: politicians.  Thus, from Reuters, this recent nugget: “Gov’t Will Need to Help Shape U.S. Media: Rep. Waxman”; and from Broadcasting & Cable: “FTC Will Team With FCC To Vet Journalism’s Future.”

Speaking before an FTC workshop in December, Rupert Murdoch made some remarks that ought to resonate with journalism professors and former editors.  Here is part of what he said:

“The future of journalism is more promising than ever – limited only by editors and producers unwilling to fight for their readers and viewers, or government using its heavy hand either to over-regulate us or subsidize us….

“In my view, the growing drumbeat for government assistance for newspapers is as alarming as overregulation.  One idea gaining in popularity is providing taxpayer funds for journalists.  Or giving newspapers ‘nonprofit status’ – in exchange, of course, for papers giving up their right to endorse political candidates….

“The prospect of the U.S. government becoming directly involved in commercial journalism ought to be chilling for anyone who cares about freedom of speech.”

Bad as the Schudson-Downie opus is on First Amendment grounds – and this is its worst aspect, to be sure – there are other problems, most importantly the commercial impact government subsidies would have on unsubsidized news organizations, whether old or new, that had to compete for readers, viewers, and advertisers with those who were subsidized, either directly or through tax breaks of one kind or another.

An example of this problem could arise in the prospects after launch of what is called mobile TV, or mobile DTV.  Made possible in part by broadcasters’ conversion from analog to digital transmission, the mobile TV service about to be test-marketed in Washington, D.C., will likely be free and interactive.

Consumer electronics companies and broadcasters, who are the principal players in the development of the technology, believe there may be a $2-billion market for it, gained through advertising.  If so, those funds would be helpful to an industry that has been reeling from the combined effects of the disastrous economy and competition from the Internet.

So here we have an industry – whose declining fortunes, along with those of newspapers, are most often cited as the reason for government to lend a hand – working to find a way to grow and prosper, without taxpayer dollars or other subsidies, as independent sources of news.

But standing on the sidelines are current and former journalists, and their financial enablers in the grant-making world, proposing to erect a national system as would invite competition from taxpayer-subsidized companies that would be crucially dependent on the goodwill of their governmental patrons.  Such is the idealism of journalism reformers and “reconstructors.”

Their perfunctory acknowledgment of the need to be wary of government funding notwithstanding (Schudson and Downie admit that “political pressure has played a role at times in the history of the arts and humanities endowments”), they show themselves to be pretty adept at knowing how to apply that pressure themselves.

Toward the end of their recommendation about the need for PBS to reorient its programming toward local news (through “significantly increased” appropriations for CPB), the authors write this: “The CPB should encourage changes in the leadership of public stations that are not capable of reorienting their missions.”

So in other words the plan here is that, if PBS stations won’t voluntarily submit to the kind of local news programming that Schudson and Downie want to see, the CPB should use its control over the purse strings to oust the management of those stations.

Yes, just so.  That’s it exactly.

First published here on The Huffington Post, Jan. 12, 2010.


The Knight Commission: Much Ado About Nothing

As in the title of the book about Southern belles, We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier, the report of the so-called Knight Commission, released on Oct. 2, is in some ways amusing and in other ways annoying.  It amuses in the way that it showcases the most pedestrian observations, as though they were the product of unique and weighty cerebration.  It annoys in the way that it pretends to a kind of grandeur and perspective – at precisely that moment in history when either would be useful – that it simply doesn’t possess.

Officially called the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, the Commission is a collaboration of the Aspen Institute and the Knight Foundation (assets pushing $2 billion), which paid for it all.  Early on the report makes clear that this is a commission with uncommon ambition and a high regard for itself.

Referring to the earlier Hutchins, Carnegie, and Kerner commissions, for instance, the Knight Commission co-chairs write: “In pursuing our work, we have been well aware that we are following in the path of other (emphasis added) distinguished Commissions.”  This, while a “background” document states that the Commission’s goal is to “start a national discussion – leading to real action.”

Given such a lofty calling one would expect the Commission’s observations to be trenchant and uniquely insightful.  One would be wrong.  From the foreword to the appendices, the Knight Commission report is a veritable cornucopia of the mundane, sortable into three categories: things that are already happening, and should be (like rapid broadband deployment by the private sector); things that are happening, and shouldn’t be (like the codification of the FCC’s net neutrality principles); and things that are not now happening and never will.

The best example of the latter comes in the Commission’s recommendation number 12 (of 15).  So as not to lose any of the rhetorical flavor of this recommendation, I quote parts of it verbatim: “Imagine,” they say, “a ‘Geek Corps for Local Democracy’ where, as a post-college opportunity, American youth volunteer to help connect a physical community to the networked infrastructure….  Geek Corps participants would teach community members how to use technology….  A Geek Corps would weave together the local and the national through networks of passionate youth.  Ideally, such a program would have the same stature as the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, such that participants would be welcomed into jobs with open arms.”

Open, shmopen.  The notion that vast numbers of “post-college” American youth would (or should) line up for such a thing is the kind of idea that is dreamed up only by government bureaucrats – and nonprofit organizations that think like them.  How about getting or creating a job in the networked infrastructure, paying taxes, and buying things with whatever’s left over as might help the economy?

Speaking of rhetoric, that’s the other thing about the Knight Commission report.  Approximately every other paragraph, even the short ones, has the density of a black hole, so that after wandering into the first sentence you find yourself being stretched thin, like a strand of linguine, and by mid-graph frantically searching for a way out of the thing.

This said, if the only problems with the Knight Commission report were its immodesty, dense language, and commonplace insights, one could just ignore it completely and go about one’s business.  Unfortunately, however, the report is also marred by something else, specifically the timing and nature of its recommendations in the context of what is happening in the real world.

As it happens, on the very day that the Knight Commission released its report (on the premises of Freedom Forum’s Newseum, another billion-dollar foundation) the government announced that unemployment in the United States had reached 9.8 percent, and that more than 7 million people have lost their jobs since the onset of the current recession.

It is also a time when there is scarcely a state or municipality that is not on its financial uppers; when the national debt and federal deficit are at record highs; and when personal bankruptcies, home foreclosures, and credit card defaults are in the stratosphere and climbing.  To say that these data constitute an ongoing tragedy, and the deepest kind of threat to every person in this country, is not the tiniest exaggeration.

Enter into this environment a Knight Commission report whose recommendations are notable mostly for their exquisite attention to what, in the realm of communications policy, are little more than politically correct platitudes.  In this fashion, the report endorses things like governmental transparency, higher education, public libraries, broadband availability, net neutrality, diversity of media ownership, young people, old people, and ensuring that “every local community has at least one high-quality online hub.”  (If only there’d been an opportunity to say something about global warming.)

In other words, the Knight Commission report is frivolous and ill-timed.  This is the kind of report – with its recommendations of greater funding for public broadcasting, “public digital displays of news and culture,” a “federal tax credit for the support of investigative journalism,” and the aforementioned Geek Corps for Democracy – that should be released, if at all, only at a time when the country is so prosperous that people who should know better might actually go for it.

It didn’t have to be like this.  It would have been possible, even at this time, to create a commission that investigated the information needs of communities, in the context of our economic crisis, that was relevant and helpful.  It just didn’t happen.

To paraphrase Groucho Marx (“I’ve had a wonderful night, but this wasn’t it”), you can find some stimulating ideas about the future of journalism and the information needs of communities, but not in this report.