Step in the right direction

This is good news, if true. From the Wall Street Journal Opinion today:

In a report published Thursday, the FCC sketched gloomy prospects for local media outlets but stopped short of pitching the federal bailout many had expected.

“Government is not the main player in this drama,” the report says. While it may be able to eliminate some obstacles to local reporting, most of the answers “will be found by entrepreneurs, reporters, and creative citizens, not legislators or agencies. Government cannot ‘save journalism.'” In a rare display of bureaucratic modesty, the report even notes that technology is changing so fast that “heavy-handed regulatory intervention dictating media company behavior could backfire, distorting markets in unhelpful ways.”

This is remarkable restraint from this Administration, but all the more so because it fails to join what has become a liberal campaign to create more government-supported media. Common wisdom among academic types has been that the blogosphere can’t replace what’s being lost at hometown papers, so government should provide seed money for local reporting. In 2009, former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie and Columbia professor Michael Schudson proposed, under the auspices of the Columbia University school of journalism, an FCC-bankrolled Fund for Local News.


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