Part II: Commission Findings and Recommended Strategies
Recommendation 10: Support the activities of information providers to reach local audiences with quality content through all appropriate media, such as mobile phones, radio, public access cable, and new platforms.
The uses of new technologies are frequently so astonishing that it is easy to forget about the importance of all information and communications technologies. Print is not dead. Broadcast and cablecast, for many Americans, remain the primary sources of news and information. Mobile phones are ubiquitous. New technologies tend to supplement, rather than replace old technologies. Public policy should enable local communities to capitalize on all available tools for connecting citizens to local information flows. Those who regulate broadcast and cable should prioritize policies to allow as much news and information as possible to reach local audiences via these channels. The Commission notes significant initiatives, such as those of Denver Open Media, Public Radio Exchange, and pegmedia.org, which are creating model programs for sharing high-quality community programming. Public, educational, and government cable channels belong in a favored tier in terms of ease of access. As much as possible, the federal government should fashion spectrum policies to accommodate low-power FM and other innovations that increase the number of voices over the local airwaves. Community-based technology centers can provide the training and equipment for citizens to take advantage of all the available media for creating and sharing community news and information. Enhancing the capacity of individuals to produce, organize, and disseminate information should not be limited to online platforms.
The Report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy