Government Financial support of news media continues steep decline

Posted January 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — Government financial support that has bolstered this country’s commercial news business since its colonial days is in sharp decline and is likely to fall further, according to a report released today by USC Annenberg’s Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. Because these cutbacks are occurring at the height of the digital revolution, they will have an especially powerful impact on a weakened news industry.

Public Policy and Funding the News is a unique effort to begin examining how involved the government, at all levels, has been in subsidizing news throughout American history to foster an informed citizenry; and what this support has meant for publishers, journalists and news consumers. The report analyzes some of the financial tools that government has used to support the press over the years — from postal rate discounts and tax breaks to public notices and government advertising. The report documents cutbacks across a range of sectors and presents a framework for the consideration of policy options to place the industry on more secure financial footing.

“It is a common myth that the commercial press in the United States is independent of governmental funding support,” says University Professor and director of the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP) Geoffrey Cowan (pictured, top left), who co-authored the report. “There has never been a time in U.S. history when government dollars were not helping to undergird the news business to ensure that healthy journalism is sustained across the country.”

“Certainly, the U.S. has never supported news-gathering the way some European and Asian countries have,” said David Westphal (top right) USC Annenberg executive-in-residence, report co-author, CCLP senior fellow and former Washington Editor for McClatchy. “The point here is that it’s time all of us, outside and inside the industry, realize that tax dollars support the American news business, and those dollars, which throughout our history have been critical in keeping the news media alive, are now shrinking quickly.”

The late 1960s marked a high-water mark of government support for the news business. The postal service was subsidizing about 75 percent of the mailing costs for newspapers and magazines, roughly $2 billion in today’s dollars. Today, however, publishers’ mailing discounts for their printed news products are down to 11 percent or $288 million.


Holocaust Museum Marks Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

by Genevieve Long for The Epoch Times

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland in a ceremony Wednesday to honor the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi killing center of the Holocaust, was liberated by the Soviet Red Army. More than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered at the camp.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is mandated by Congress to lead the nation in Holocaust remembrance.

The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on Jan. 27, 1945, was established by the United Nations General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day for the world to honor the victims of the Holocaust.

Read the rest of the article about the Holocaust Museum here

Facts About the
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Visitors to the Museum
•Total: 29.6 million since opening in April 1993.
•Visitors have been 34 percent school-aged children; 12 percent international; approximately 90 percent non-Jewish.
•Dignitaries: 88 heads of state; more than 3,500 foreign officials from over 132 countries.
Collections and Reference Services
•Art and artifacts: More than 12,820 objects, averaging 5-6 new items a week.
•Archives and Photo Archives: 49 million pages plus 138 million images recently received from the International Tracing Service, 82,000 historic photographs and images, 20,000 available on Museum Web site.
•Meed Survivors Registry: 199,473 survivors and their descendents registered.
•Film and Video: More than 1,000 hours of archival footage; 220 hours of outtakes from groundbreaking film Shoah; 1,000 research requests annually.
•Library and Oral History: 84,600 items in 55 languages; more than 9,000 oral history testimonies, and access to 51,000 oral histories from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute.
•Senior Historian’s Division: 669 research requests January-September.

Cold Civil Rights Cases to be Investigated

by Genevieve Long for The Epoch Times

Some places in the United States have kept secrets for decades. The U.S. South, the former home of the oppressive Jim Crow laws and the heart of the civil rights movement, is one of them. In the past 20 years, some of the regions darkest truths have been slowly giving themselves up, largely through the work of intrepid investigative journalists.

Jerry Mitchell is one of them. Since 1989, the 50-year-old investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., has steadily worked to find documents, suspects, and witnesses in some of America’s most notorious civil rights era murders.

His work has helped to put four Ku Klux Klansmen behind bars, including Byron De La Beckwith for the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers, and Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers, for ordering the fatal firebombing of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer in 1966.

These days, Mitchell is working with other like-minded reporters on The Civil Rights Cold Case project.


Shen Yun Performers Shocked by Show Cancellation

Chinese communist regime believed to pressure Hong Kong authorities

By John Nania for The Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Shen Yun performers got word while still in costume at the final rehearsal before taking off for Hong Kong: seven sold-out shows in Hong Kong had been canceled. Seven crew members for the company had visas denied at the last minute.

Dancers and other company members for New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts said the cancellation of the sold-out shows was most likely due to pressure on the Hong Kong government from Chinese communist authorities.

“The news was brought to us after our final dress rehearsal prior to departure,” said principal dancer Leon Chao at a press conference near Times Square Monday. “There was a long moment of silence, faces of devastation. Everyone was in complete shock. I had my bags packed already. Everybody’s dream on our team was to bring back Chinese culture to China.”

Shen Yun performs Chinese classical and folk dances, covering the many dynasties and ethnic groups that make up the nation’s 5,000-year heritage. Much of the traditional culture presented by Shen Yun has been lost, buried, or altered under the current regime in China.

The much-anticipated performances in Hong Kong were scheduled for Jan. 27-31. However, show organizers in Hong Kong were informed on Jan. 21 that visas for seven technical crew members were denied by immigration authorities, saying the jobs could be filled by local labor. One of the seven did later receive a visa to enter Hong Kong.


2010 Census will Count Remote Ekimo Village First

The U.S. Census Bureau, via Director Robert M. Groves, will conduct the first count of the 2010 Census in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Noorvik, Alaska today. The remote village north of the Arctic Circle that will be counted first in this year’s census has a population of about 700 people.

It’s necessary for Census takers to get a head start in Noorvik and other villages in remote Alaska before residents leave for hunting and fishing grounds. They also need to work in the area while the ground is still frozen, allowing access to the region by bush plane, dogsled and snowmobile.

Residents of other parts of the state, including Anchorage, Fairbanks and other larger Alaska cities will receive 2010 Census questionnaires by mail in mid-March like the rest of the country.

read the rest of the story at Before It’s News

Shen Yun Shows in Hong Kong Cancelled Due to Visa Refusal

By Xu Haiqing for The Epoch Times

HONG KONG—Shen Yun’s performances in Hong Kong will be cancelled this year, local organizers announced at noon on Jan. 23, citing the refusal of Hong Kong authorities to issue visas to six key production staff.

Hong Kong public figures have criticized the decision, claiming that it was a result of political pressure from Beijing. Shen Yun’s artists include practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned and persecuted in China, and its performances include artistic representations of Chinese citizens standing up to end the persecution in China.

Six days before the show’s debut, scheduled on Jan. 27, Hong Kong’s Immigration Department informed the company that seven production staff would be denied entry, saying they could be replaced by Hong Kong local workers. Later, one of the staff members was granted entry after the presenter made repeated entreaties for a reevaluation.

Kan Hung Cheung, a spokesperson for the organizers, remarked that four of the six production staff played irreplaceable roles in the performance, including lighting, sound effects, technical backdrop. Their roles were specified in the visa application, he said.

“A complete staff is essential to any performing arts group. This is just common sense,” Mr. Cheung said. “It is obvious that the Immigration Department denied their entry because Beijing wants to interfere with the show.”

The show’s organizers, the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association, and local bureaux of New Tang Dynasty Television and The Epoch Times, said that the Hong Kong government must “bear the consequences” of the decision. “Unfortunately the Hong Kong government has chosen to cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party to stop the show,” Mr. Cheung said. “We strongly protest this.”


Help for Haiti’s Journalists

by Genevieve Long for my blog on Media and Foreign Policy for the Foreign Policy Association

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has moved quickly to connect with and help Haitian journalists impacted by the recent earthquake there.

CPJ has responded with direct assistance for basic daily needs to “get them on their feet again”, according to the organization.

CPJ’s Journalist Assistance program is cooperating with Jean Roland Chery. He is a reporter for Radio Haiti-Inter who lives in New York, but maintains an outstanding network of contacts on the ground in Haiti. Through Chery, the CPJ has been able to develop a network of on-the-ground contacts to reach journalists, see what they need, and find out whether partnering with local organizations is possible.

Chery’s blog about Signal FM tells about the only Haitian radio station to have broadcast continuously before and after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The organization is also in touch with Guylar Delva, Haiti’s leading press freedom advocate, and head of SOS Journalistes, which protects local reporters and promotes professional journalism.

You can read about his experience in the earthquake on the CPJ Blog.