Supporters of diverse local media and champions of competition among news outlets are celebrating the recent U.S. Court of Appeals verdict in Prometheus Radio Project v. the FCC. The court rejected Federal Communications Commission rules that would have opened up ownership to further corporate consolidation. In the wake of the egregious overstepping by media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s uber British tabloid News of the World, the ruling has taken on an heroic cast. The court said that in making its rules the FCC had ignored the input of millions of American citizens.
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The sprawling greater-Denver metro region is in news-media crisis. In the information age, when there seems to be more and more to know, there is less and less being reported by the diminishing number of local mainstream news outlets here. So it comes as little surprise that media watchdog organization FreePress this week is highlighting the Denver news market as a negative example for the nation. The organization reports that, on top of shrinking newspaper reporting, the local TV news market is host to a “severe” form of the kind of sly consolidation that media corporations have been effecting across the country for nearly a decade. FreePress says this “covert consolidation,” where direct ownership is never transferred, is gaining momentum and that it skirts federal ownership laws and erodes market variety and competition.