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Monday, June 4, 2012 - 1:00am

Different Channels, The Same News

Federal regulators are reviewing media ownership rules.

Public interest groups are taking aim at the rules because of TV markets like three in Georgia.

If you watch local news in Savannah, Columbus or Augusta, you're likely to change the channel and see the same stories and video re-packaged with different branding.

Nationally, stations in 83 media markets have such story sharing agreements.

Craig Aaron of the media watchdog Free Press says, the trend limits competition and gives corporate and government officials a bigger pass to corruption.

"You have fewer reporters filling more hours of news that's not resulting in more local coverage," Aaron says. "You don't know what stories are going uncovered."

A University of Maryland study says, Columbus' two-independent stations air twice as many local stories as the two sharing stations.

Station owners say, the agreements help them pay for expensive news operations amid shrinking revenues and growing online competition.

The study looked in-depth at the effects of story sharing on news coverage in Columbus.

And you can link to that study by selecting this link.

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