Broadcast, Digital Journalists Get Build Back Better Help

KTLA news team
(Image credit: KTLA)

The latest draft of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better legislative package includes help for local journalists.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Commerce Committee, said several of the provisions she wrote into the Local Journalism Sustainability Act made it into the package, which has yet to get a vote in the House.

Those provisions would provide tax credits for broadcasters, online media and newspapers to incentivize them to hire and keep journalists. Cantwell said the incentives will help news outlets remain financially viable.

Cantwell has been an advocate for helping local journalism help itself, including authoring the provision in the COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill that made local news eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program, which made more broadcasters eligible for the funding.

National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith said he appreciates Cantwell's work, and those of her colleagues, to have the provisions included in Build Back Better.

"The payroll credit for compensation of local journalists will solidify the sustainability of vital local community news in the Low Power TV sector," said Frank Copsidas, president of the LPTV Broadcasters Association.

Copsidas points out that the tax credit has been in, out, and back in the package so "it's not over!" until the bill gets voted out with the provision still in.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.