WSU prof to testify on media ownership

SEATTLE – Elizabeth Blanks Hindman, associate professor of communication and gradate program director for the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at WSU, will join a panel of prominent news and broadcast leaders from across the state this afternoon in offering perspectives on media ownership in testimony before a hearing of the Federal Communications Commission.

She will provide her testimony as part of an 11-member panel that will include Mark Allen, president and CEO of the Washington State Association of Broadcasters; Frank Blethen, publisher/CEO of the Seattle Times; Ray Heacox, general manager, KING Broadcasting Seattle; Pamela S. Pearson, vice president/general manager, KCPQ/KMYQ-TV, the Tribune Broadcasting Company; and other Washington state broadcast professionals.

Hindman’s prepared testimony contends that media ownership rule changes proposed in 2006 run counter to the public stewardship obligation of the FCC. Her view is that the proposed new rules, which would effectively “loosen” ownership limits, conflict with the federal agency’s charge to serve the public interest and would contribute to further monopolization of the broadcast marketplace.

“The FCC’s stewardship obligation, as laid out in the Communications Act of 1934, in early and recent court decisions, and in your own internal studies, is to act on the public’s behalf. The proposed ownership changes are not in the public interest,” Hindman concludes in her prepared remarks.

Scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. in the Great Hall of Town Hall Seattle, Eighth Ave. and Seneca St., the Seattle hearing will be the sixth and final FCC hearing scheduled in connection with a 2006 Quadrennial Broadcast Media Ownership review. Similar hearings have already been held in Los Angeles, Nashville, Tenn., Harrisburg, Penn., Tampa Bay and Chicago.

Hindman has served for a number of years as a board member of Office of Communication, Inc., a national organization dedicated to promoting justice in broadcast policy, as well as in a variety of leadership roles in the Media Ethics Division and the Law and Policy Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Since earning her doctorate at the University of Minnesota in 1994, Hindman has centered her research on the intersection of media law and media ethics and on institutional media accountability. She uses political and ethical
philosophy to study how courts approach questions of media ethics and how news organizations respond to ethics crises.

She is the author of “Rights vs. Responsibilities: The Supreme Court and the Media,” and her work has been published in the “Journal of Communication,” “Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly,” “Communication Law and Policy,” and the “Journal of Mass Media Ethics.”