California Bill Would Use PBS-NPR Model To Support Local Media

A state bill that would support local media with a model like that of  NPR or PBS is being hotly debated in California. 

The bill, SB 911, would create a five-year pilot program to provide grants to local media. The sponsor is State Sen. Steve Glazer from the 7th District. 

But critics charged in an article in LAFocus that SB 911 is promoting a ‘nonprofit’ model that would expressly forbid ethnic media from endorsing political candidates or lobbying for or against proposed legislation.”

Glazer countered last week that the bill would address the crisis in local journalism by using “a model that Americans have long trusted – the non-profit Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” Glazer noted that "The law and the CPB’s bylaws prohibit any government influence on the news decisions of the stations that receive the grants."



SB 911 would be similar, Glazer added. “Politicians would be prohibited from influencing the grants to media organizations, and the board would have no say in the editorial decisions of the grantees.”

It is not clear what SB 911’s chances are of passage, or if it could be a model on the national level. 

The bill advanced in June when the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee voted 4-3 to advance the bill to the Appropriations Committee, California Local reports.  

But it received its share of criticism.  

“This bill is fundamentally flawed,” said California News Publishers Association general counsel Brittney Barsotti. “It is based off a model that really forces philanthropy or… would benefit large nonprofits over the small businesses that are ethnic media and local media.”

Another critic was Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb.

“Our theme song will be, for every media, ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,’ because every one of us will be lining up to figure out how do we get our news media welfare check so we can stay in existence,” Cobb said. 

Cobb added, “I’ve been fighting this fight since I marched across the Selma bridge with Martin Luther King in 1965 and I’ve seen a lot of what has happened to minority media throughout the years.”

Glazier countered that “The California News Publishers Association tries to portray SB 911 as some kind of radical idea. But Californians know that PBS and NPR are trusted, independent news sources.” 

As written in February, the bill would mandate a one-time, $50 million allocation “to distribute to qualified organizations or individuals over a 5-year trial period.” It would be managed by an 11-member board appointed by the state legislature and governor.

Glazer’s chief of staff, Daniel Weintraub, said during the hearing that 25% of the grant money would be reserved for ethnic media, while 25% would go to media for small communities.

Glazer wrote last week that critics failed to note pending changes in the bill. 

3 comments about "California Bill Would Use PBS-NPR Model To Support Local Media".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. T Bo from Wordpress, July 26, 2022 at 7:35 a.m.

    If you take the money, there will/should be rules.

  2. Ginger Cookie from Consultant, July 26, 2022 at 8:37 a.m.

    Working this out akin to NPR and PBS models...seems would further bifurcate the media "voice" of these small/local/ethinc publishers against the larger pubi. co's..especially age 45+ who are inherently locally derived in their community poliitical "influence" now with no voice on local politicians...
    Agree witht the others...not good...just leave this model on its own....they won't make that much more $$$ either....

  3. Kimberley Edgar from ThomKat Productions, July 26, 2022 at 8:40 a.m.

    The Fourth Estate needs to stand on its own. With any government hand-out, it will cease to be a free press and can't be trusted as a watchdog of the people of this nation to protect them against absolute power and absolute corruption. If the profit margins don't bear fruit -- or enough of it, I suggest looking at the product being peddled -- the content. Is reporting objective? Are both/all sides to a story being sought? Are reporters checking their personal agendas and biases at the door when they head into the office? I see editorial remarks masquerading as facts in news stories often enough that it seems "de rigeur." The subtle, subliminal twisting of people's minds in a predetermined direction is insidious.

Next story loading loading..