Diverse Groups Push Local Journalism Sustainability Act

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A diverse group of journalism organizations has called on Congress to pass the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (S. 2434).

The bill would help local stations and newspapers staff up their newsrooms, citing, in part, Big Tech's "devouring" of their local ad market.

"For local and underserved communities, local news is a lifeline, and hiring local journalists that are as diverse as communities they serve is essential," the groups said in a letter to the bipartisan leadership of the Senate and House. 

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"This legislation would also provide small businesses with financial flexibility to spend on advertising on local television and radio stations as well as newspapers," they said. "Not only would this legislation save the livelihoods of local broadcasters and journalists, it would also save local journalism and put measures in place to help it thrive.

The bill, which was introduced last month by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, along with Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), would provide tax breaks for stations as well as small businesses that support local media with their ad dollars.

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The goal, according to the bill's sponsors, is to "revive and sustain trusted local media," in which broadcast TV and radio play a central role. The credits go to support local newspapers, digital news operations, TV and radio. 

Signing on to the letter were the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), the Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA), Native Public Media and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

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.