The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report, written by former Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report journalist Steven Waldman, identifies a serious reduction in local reporting as the number of online news sources increases. It finds this situation dire and worries about the consequences of a weakened watchdog function.
Waldman's report, Information Needs of Communities, does not denigrate the arrival of digital; indeed, it celebrates its opportunities for the flow and exchange of information as never before. But it notes that gaps are emerging as organizations reduce their local expenditures and digital enterprises do not backfill what is lost.
Many recommendations are made to stimulate the environment for enterprising local reporting, including tax measures, regulatory changes and journalism school curriculum improvements.