Will the FCC’s proposed new rules governing internet traffic further hurt those whose views and voices are already underrepresented in mainstream media?

CJR moderated a 45-minute video chat with media entrepreneurs including Davey D, an independent journalist who writes about hip-hop culture and politics at hiphopandpolitics.com, daveyd.com, and hosts a San Francisco-based radio show; Kelly Virella, who founded online hyperlocal magazine Dominion of New York and will soon launch a longform journalism publication called The Urban Thinker; and Loris Taylor, president and CEO of Native Public Media, which promotes healthy, engaged, and independent Native communities in the US through media access, control, and ownership. The trio discussed how they already face an uphill battle when it comes to grabbing eyeballs and advertising dollars from larger, better-funded and staffed competitors. If the FCC adopts new rules that will allow prioritization of some content—and some content providers—over others, it will mean game over for them as well as other digital media innovators, they said. 

They also argue that the end of net neutrality would not only deepen the digital divide, but would stifle innovation and creativity by discouraging the development of new media ventures, particularly those founded by people of color or that seek to serve diverse communities. 

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Tracie Powell writes about the media and media policy, specifically on issues regarding piracy, media ownership, government transparency and the business of journalism. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, she lives in Washington, DC. She has contributed to Poynter, NPR, and Publica, the first nonprofit investigative journalism center in Brazil.