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The landscape of media will continue to rapidly evolve in 2013, and Josh Stearns, Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director for Freepress, shared three critical media issues with PBS that he believes cannot be ignored in the coming year.Josh identifies media issues that go deeper than digital vs. traditional content, paywalls, and similar topics of debate among journalists and media organizations. He focuses on issues that need to be prioritized in order to keep the free flow of unbiased news flowing. His three critical media issues in 2013 are:

1. Media Diversity

A lack of diversity in media ownership and workers means there is a noticeable gap in media coverage that spans local, national, and global news. Josh shares a number of startling statistics about the media industry in 2012:

  • According to the FCC, women own less than 7% of radio and television stations.
  • People of color own just 5% of television and 8% of radio stations.
  • Only 12% of newsroom employees are people of color.

2. First Amendment Strengthening

It's a dangerous world for reporters these days, particularly for freelance journalists, digital journalists, and citizen journalists who cover events around the world for their own purposes as well as for commercial news organizations. At the same time, there are debates happening about how the First Amendment is applied in the age of digital journalism. Josh says, "As the tools of media making are put in the hands of more and more people, part of the responsibility to defend our First Amendment rights must also be in their hands."

3. Public Media Expansion

There needs to be more collaboration between commercial media, non-profit media, and public media in 2013. Furthermore, the expansion of online and offline noncommercial media needs to be prioritized. Josh writes:

"No longer are non-profits and public media organizations a marginal "alternative" to mainstream media. More and more journalists are investing in non-profit journalism. Even commercial media is relying on partnerships with non-profits to do much of the critical, investigative and accountability journalism that has disappeared from the TV networks and even some papers."

Josh also addresses the potential FCC ruling that will remove barriers to media organization ownership, which were put in place to curb monopolies between newspaper and broadcast media. You can read his complete article on to get all of the details.What do you think are the most critical media issues in 2013?Image: Kenn Kiser

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