The Internet is killing local news, says FCC

ron-burgundy-local-news-fcc

A newly released study by the Federal Communications Commission shows that the plethora of online news outlets has led to a serious degradation of local news reporting, reports Cnet.

While it’s now easier than ever for citizens to learn about everything from what President Obama ate for lunch to public uprisings in the Middle East, information about local schools, courts, governments and events has become increasingly scarce, according to the 460-page FCC report (PDF) entitled “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age.”

Carried out by former US News and World Report national editor Steve Waldman and a team of researchers, the report shows that the number of reporters needed to cover important local events has dropped well below the necessary levels,

“The digital tools that have helped topple governments abroad are providing Americans powerful new ways to consume, share and even report the news,” says the report. “Yet, in part because of the digital revolution, serious problems have arisen, as well. Most significant among them: in many communities, we now face a shortage of local, professional, accountability reporting. This is likely to lead to the kinds of problems that are, not surprisingly, associated with a lack of accountability—more government waste, more local corruption, less effective schools, and other serious community problems.”

While much of the report’s info isn’t particularly ground breaking — i.e. “[a]n abundance of media outlets does not translate into an abundance of reporting” — it does provide a useful blueprint for rebuilding the crumbling structures of local journalism. According to the report’s estimates, it would take about $1.6 billion to employ the number of reporters needed to cover the “accountability” beats, or $265 million to bring these levels back to what they were in 2000, which was already inadequate for the task, the report says.

To help pay for this, the report suggests the US government redirect media advertising buys, like the “Army of One” commercials, from national TV stations to local ones, which can use the boost in revenue to up its reporter pools.

Can the trend turn around? Probably not — the journalism industry as a whole is still struggling to solve this exact problem. But America’s democracy will suffer more if it doesn’t.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Streaming services blast past networks for the most scripted TV shows in 2018

For the first time in history, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, produced more original scripted series than broadcast or cable channels, setting a new record for the number of TV shows on the air.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Computing

Which Macs are compatible with MacOS Mojave?

Is your computer ready for Apple's big Mojave update? Here's what you need to know about MacOS Mojave compatibility, what Macs can successful download Mojave, and the requirements you need to know about.
Computing

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The standard mouse cursor is boring, so change it! With this guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, you can choose to use one of Microsoft's pre-installed cursors or download something a bit more extravagant.
Gaming

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.
Computing

MacBook Pro battery replacement: Everything you need to know

Looking for a new battery for your MacBook Pro? It's important you know what to look for, what model you have, and what options Apple gives you! We'll cover everything you need to know about Apple MacBook Pro battery replacement.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Computing

Acer Swift 7 vs. Apple MacBook Air

The Acer Swift 7 accomplishes its goal of being the world's thinnest notebook, and it's well-built to boot. But is that enough to take on the Apple MacBook Air in terms of being the better to actually use?
Computing

Asus ZenBook 14 UX433 vs. Dell XPS 13

The Asus ZenBook 14 UX433 has some incredibly tiny display bezels, in an effort to jam a 14-inch notebook into a 13-inch chassis. That pits it against the Dell XPS 13, the icon of small clamshells.
Computing

Intel’s 28-core monster Xeon CPU might cost upwards of $4,000

Intel's new-generation 28-core Xeon CPU will debut with a hefty price tag. Although not quite as expensive as some of its predecessors, early pre-order pricing has it costing between $4,000 and $5,000.
Computing

Lenovo’s first ThinkPads with Intel Whiskey Lake processors to arrive this month

Lenovo has opted not to wait for CES 2019 next month to introduce the first ThinkPads with Intel's Whiskey Lake Core I5-8265U and Core i7-8565U processors. They will arrive onboard the new ThinkPad L390 and L390 Yoga.