FCC's Copps calls for news education in schools

Copps acknowledged digital tools have democratized public discourse and hold great promise for future information gathering but argued traditional news outlets such as newspapers and broadcasting still provide 90 percent of the information Americans rely on.

"The analogy of a bucket brigade is a good one: more and more buckets (the millions of websites) but less and less water (original reporting) to go around," Copps said. "Meanwhile the fires rage."

He dismissed calls for patience, arguing the country doesn't have time to sit idly by and watch its civic dialogue diminish further. He called for increased funding for public media, noting other nations spend a far greater amount per capita to ensure its citizens are informed.

Copps also said American media has a "serious diversity problem" noting that despite the fact minorities constitute almost one-third of the U.S. population they own only 3.6 percent of full-power commercial TV stations and 9 percent of newspapers.

"Diversity in coverage and diversity of viewpoint both hinge, in the real world, on diversity of ownership. We’ve known the facts for years," Copps said.

"It should be the urgent priority of the FCC to act aggressively on this now. Why we are not continues to mystify me."