Dec 28, 2009

"Frontline" founder decries commercialism in public journalism

In a speech at USC, David Fanning, the founding producer of "Frontline," criticized public television and public radio stations for the "shameful" act of using sponsorships to sell products. Here's part of what he said:
I am particularly concerned about a threat to our essential public identity. This is already happening. They're called “sponsorships”, but they are essentially commercials all over public broadcasting websites, local and national, radio and television. I’ve argued strenuously that we are threatening our special status as non-commercial media ... we all swim in a sea of commercialism, and that’s precisely why we need to keep ourselves clean of it.

One day, I’m afraid, when most of our work is experienced on the web, we will wake up and the public will say we’re no different from the rest of them. Why should we give you our membership money? And why should the government give you our tax dollars?
(via Romenesko)

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