Blog 4: Public Media is a Necessity
Public media’s strengths lie in its valuable and reliable content. Public media is not part of a conglomerate looking to make money through foolish advertisements that more often than not will dumb-down an audience rather than inform them. So I strongly believe that the availability of public media is necessary for a community to be properly informed. Where there are properly informed citizens there are properly informed communities which allow those citizens to have their “civic information needs” met. Silver quotes the “Knight Commission Report on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy;”
“This means people have the news and information they need to take advantage of life’s opportunities for themselves and their families. They need information to participate fully in our system of self-government, to stand up and be heard. Driving this vision are the critical democraticvalues of openness, inclusion, participation, empowerment, and the common pursuit of truth and the public interest.”
For all outlets of information whether political, educational, or socially informative, public media is necessary to provide valuable information to citizens to keep them well-informed. It’s also important to have public media in order to avoid bias information and less informative “news.” Silver discusses a “recent study of Los Angeles television news by the University of Southern California” that reported that less than 30 seconds of a 30 minute news program actually covered local government news. Most of the half hour was taken up by advertisements.
While local government news is important, so is the quality of educational television. With a vast increase of child viewers over the last 20 years or so, it is important that public media is available and provides plenty of educational programs, like the popular PBS program Sesame Street. According to Silver, “on average, PBS affiliates offer 11 hours of children’s educational programming per day, most commercial broadcasters air less than four hours per week.”
Finally, it is important to have public media that ensures universal access and is free to all. In order to inform citizens, certain needs must be met so that all people can access this information. PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, and the CPB, Corporation of Public Broadcasting, for instance provide univerally accessable, commercial-free, educational and newsworthy programs on both television and the radio that set a good example for how communities should be properly informed in local, national, and international information such as news.