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Hofstra Law Review

Authors

Lili Levi

Abstract

This Article was written for a 2007 Symposium on media reform entitled Reclaiming the First Amendment at Hofstra Law School. My approach to media reform focuses on ways to strengthen journalistic standards and professionalism against commercial pressures; to keep government out of journalistic autonomy and editorial decisions in a direct fashion while providing incentives for certain kinds of journalism; to enhance the availability of diverse discourses across all media; and to seek ways to empower the audience. The Article proposes a two-pronged, multi-factor approach to electronic media reform in the hope of promoting the electronic press's roles as educator and watchdog. The first prong is directed to the information market as a whole and concerns itself with ways of promoting media pluralism. The notion behind this aspect is to create an overall balance in which mainstream commercial media, non-profit public media, and alternative media can flourish and enrich one another and compensate for one another's weaknesses. The second prong of the reform proposal is internal to the context ofbroadcasting. The Article suggests experimenting with the following: structural regulations designed to promote journalistic values; a requirement that broadcasters spend a certain percentage of their gross advertising revenues on news and public affairs production and programming; different options for constructing a requirement that broadcasters devote a percentage of their advertising time to advocacy advertising, for which they would be allowed to be paid a premium over their ordinary commercial rates; and audience empowerment, including disclosure-oriented requirements designed to foster audience activism and strategies to engage an audience whose attention is claimed by an unprecedented abundance of content.

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