WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, a bipartisan bill that helps preserve community journalistic endeavors throughout the United States.
Joining Reps. Kirkpatrick and Newhouse as original cosponsors of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act are Reps. Fitzpatrick, Souzzi, Welch, R. Davis, McKinley P.E., Visclosky, Peterson, Harder, Heck, Takano, Carson, Fleischmann, Grijalva, Lynch, and Weber.
Local news publications already faced financial difficulties before the onset of COVID-19. Now, in the wake of the severe economic consequences of the pandemic, the industry is facing further challenges to remaining sustainable.
“Local Journalism is a bedrock pillar of communities across the United States,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “Unfortunately, journalistic endeavors throughout the country are facing major economic struggles that put the future of many publications in serious jeopardy. These struggles existed before COVID, but the pandemic has only made them more severe. We need to make sure these publications can sustain themselves through this crisis and beyond.”
“Local journalists and newspapers are essential to ensuring the public remains informed,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Local news is crucial — particularly within our rural communities in Central Washington — and our local journalists provide in-depth perspectives that inform their readership regarding local current events.”
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act offers a series of three tax-credits aimed at sustaining and providing a pathway to viability for the local journalism industry.
The first credit works to incentivize annual subscriptions to local papers that primarily produce content related to local news and current events, and can also be used for non-profit publications.
The second credit is a 5-year refundable credit for local newspapers to employ and adequately compensate journalists.
The last of the three credits provides a 5-year non-refundable tax credit that incentivizes small-to-medium sized businesses to advertise with local newspapers, as well as local radio and television stations.
The proposed credits in the Local Journalism Sustainability Act will encourage Americans to subscribe to local publications, help those publications retain and compensate journalists, and provide businesses and publications alike with much-needed advertising dollars.
The legislation has gained the support of several journalism and newspaper industry leaders, including David Chavern, President & CEO of News Media Alliance; Dean Ridings, CEO of America’s Newspapers; and Matt Adelman, President of the National Newspaper Association.