The fear of Big Media has overpowered much of the debate on cross-ownership of newspapers and television in local markets. But the issue isn't who owns the media; it's what those owners do with it. Journalists tend to believe in competition, but when we stop to consider, competition hasn't always brought diversity and quality in news. Convergence can--if done right.
Convergence means cooperative relationships between television, online, and print media. In places where this already exists, good journalism still flourishes. In some cities, local or regional cable news networks have developed relationships with newspapers, and diversity of opinion hasn't suffered.
Yet some critics equate convergence with a loss of jobs, heavier workloads for journalists, and monolithic news and opinion. They see it as the manifestation of the dark side of media consolidation. Convergence can indeed be all those things, if journalists let it.
But convergence can also harness the benefits of online, broadcast, and print to provide news to people when and where they want it. Few people get their news from one source anymore. Just look at all the...