Thursday, February 15, 2007

Media consolidation

Fighting for Air : The Battle to Control America’s Media by Eric Klinenberg is a wonderful book on the consolidation of media ownership. The declining number of independent legal publishers is part of this story.

Klinenberg emphasizes mass media, not the publishers we are familiar with. He describes how national chains have closed the state capital news bureaus. This means that not only have lobbyists been unmonitored, but coverage of state agencies has almost ceased. Trying to do a newspaper search on a local topic will not obtain much information, but will pull up a lot of duplicate wire copy.

An effect of this media consolidation has been the loss of small publishers who published local materials. It was never comprehensive, but now even more is falling through the cracks.

How can we law librarians help people research, if the information is unpublished? Our concern with access to government information is shared by many who have organized to participate in politics and rule-making. These interest groups would value the insights and work of our colleagues.

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