Posts tagged with ‘consolidation’

If the mass media is dominated by a few corporations, the risk for bias and interference with editorial independence increases.

Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe. Public service media needed to strengthen pluralism.

Hammarberg writes:

Media pluralism is necessary for the development of informed societies where different voices can be heard. However, in several European countries there is little genuine media freedom and therefore limited space for pluralism. Independent television and radio channels are denied licences, and critical newspapers are prevented from buying newsprint or distributing their papers.

Other state controls are more discrete. By buying advertising space solely in “loyal” media, governments can signal to businesses to follow their lead, which means that independent media are effectively boycotted. The increase in bureaucratic harassment and administrative discrimination is also of concern.

Of course, a million blogs aside, mainstream media consolidation is accelerating globally. And, of course, with deference to our Italian friends, let’s not forget that Silvio Berlusconi was the largest shareholder of the largest television station while prime minister.

And then there’s Russia and its very… um… troubling media environment.

Last Friday, North Carolina’s Winston-Salem Journal said goodbye to its copy desk when parent company Media General moved forward with its decision to consolidate the copy desks of three metro papers it owns.

As John McIntyre writes at the Baltimore Sun:

The Winston-Salem Journal is losing its copy desk—all eighteen people—to a consolidation of resources in Media General. It is a tremendous blow to the paper: the loss of institutional knowledge, the loss of local knowledge, the loss of resources to ensure accuracy and clarity. The War on Editing has claimed another cluster of casualties.

Adds Tommy Tomlinson of the Charlotte Observer:

Copy editors are the umpires of the newsroom — they’ve done a great job if you barely notice they’ve been there.

Most everything that goes into our paper is edited at least twice. The first editor is what we call a “line” editor — usually the reporter’s boss. The second layer is the copy editor. The copy editor usually writes the headline, and always does the fine-tooth-comb editing to make sure street names are spelled right, dates match up, we’re not saying DUI when we mean DWI. Copy editors know more about the city, state, region and world than anyone else in the newsroom. Copy editors have saved me so many times I lost count long ago. All reporters make mistakes — it’s inevitable on a constant deadline — but a good copy editor is an All-Star catcher, snagging every wild pitch.