Academic journal article Journalism History

Electronic Media Reviews -- Public Trust or Private Property

Academic journal article Journalism History

Electronic Media Reviews -- Public Trust or Private Property

Article excerpt

"Public Trust or Private Property"

Originally produced in 1988 for public television, "On Television: Public Trust or Private Property" has been released by California Newsreel. The second in the three part series, "Public Trust or Private Property" deals with the dichotomy that has always existed in broadcasting. The issue may not be a new one, but it is still unresolved and worthy of discussion.

To illustrate the debate, the tape provides three examples. In the first, network television's restructuring of its news divisions is used to demonstrate the contrary goals of public service and profit. The WLBT-TV case provides a rare example of public involvement in the license renewal process. The Federal Communications Commission's decision to eliminate the Fairness Doctrine in the Syracuse Peace Council case illustrates the controversy between the broadcaster's First Amendment rights and those of the public.

What is perhaps best about this video is that it includes many major players in the discussion with a variety of perspectives. There are representatives from Congress, the FCC, television networks (commercial and public), trade associations and an impressive array of public interest advocates. The tape includes interviews as well as portions of their testimony before a House sub-committee. The produc-ers have done a thorough job of including the principal participants in the aforementioned cases. There is even a portion of an interview conducted in 1972 with Senator Clarence Dill, one of the key architects of the Radio Act of 1927 and the subsequent Communications Act of 1934.

The videotape would make a good addition to introductory courses in electronic media or public policy. …

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