Time To Review Online Giant’s Role, Says Respected Communications Attorney

FOR RELEASE: June 8, 2010

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute

Arlington, Va., June 8, 2010 – Much of the recent activity by the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and other government agencies to solve the “crisis” over the future of journalism misses the point, says a noted communications attorney in an issue paper released today by The Media Institute.

“The ‘crisis’ faced by the media industry does not arise from audiences turning away from journalism.  The audience is here, and it’s growing.  Instead, the challenge is to monetize news content in the new digital environment, ” according to Kurt Wimmer, a partner at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

In today’s digital world,  says Wimmer, those who create journalism content are not the only ones “monetizing” that content (i.e., making money from it).  That’s being done by search engines, content aggregators, and others with targeted advertising models based on the content of other producers.

At a time when one entity controls access to content for virtually three out of every four Americans, Wimmer argues that it is time for the Department of Justice to review the impact of Google’s dominance in online search and advertising.

“It is only by considering the roles of search and advertising, and their impact on monetization, that the government can help journalists effectively weather the crisis that they face,” Wimmer concludes.  The Washington attorney is a member of The Media Institute’s Board of Trustees and chairman of the Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council.

“Digital Journalism:  The Audience Is Here.  But Who’s Monetizing the Content?” is available online at www.mediainstitute.org.    It is one in the series of Policy Views issue papers.