- Kirsten Ballard
Paul Boyle is the chief lobbyist for the News Media Alliance and manages the legislative and regulatory affairs operation of the association, covering issues such as: tax policy, copyright, postal affairs, the media ownership rules, advertising regulations, and the First Amendment. Under Boyle’s leadership, the industry has preserved the current tax treatment of advertising expenses; resisted government efforts to reclassify independent contractors, reduced postal rates impacting newspapers and obtained structural reforms to the Freedom of Information Act. He has been with the Alliance in various capacities for more than 20 years.
What is your day to day like at the Alliance?
I am on Capitol Hill or at federal agencies about two to three days a week advocating on issues, such as the recent Department of Labor proposal that could impact newspaper recruitment advertising. The rest of the time I am in the office, strategizing with my colleagues Danielle Coffey and Kristina Zaumseil on other public policy issues where they are the lead advocates, such as copyright issues and the DOL overtime rules, respectively; talking to reporters to provide more background on our positions; or communicating directly with our member companies to make sure they understand our efforts to represent their interests.
How will the News Media Alliance handle the results of the recent Presidential election?
The same as any other: we’ll search for ways to get things done. The association’s roots go back to 1887 when publishers organized the American Newspaper Publishers Association and spoke with a unified voice on postal rates and newsprint tariffs. In our 129-year history, we have worked with each political party that holds power in the Executive or Legislative Branch. We are non-partisan and represent newspapers in blue and red states, and in every congressional district. What we have found is that policymakers on both sides of the aisle want to work with us because of the role newspapers play in providing context for their constituents around public policy debates in Washington.
What is at the forefront during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency for you?
This may be the busiest first 100 days that we have seen with any Presidency in a long while. The new president can and will likely take unilateral executive actions on trade, immigration and government operations, such as imposing a freeze on hiring of federal employees. President-elect Trump’s other priorities will require congressional cooperation to become law. Corporate and individual tax reform will take center stage early in the next Congress. We will need to be vigilant as the debate moves forward to protect, for example, the treatment of advertising expenses as “ordinary and necessary” business expenses that are fully deductible. Tax reform also could provide an opportunity for the Alliance to go on offense with certain initiatives, such as obtaining favorable tax treatment for digital news production and distribution income. We are ready for what will be a very fluid process.
What are the biggest issues facing the news media industry?
The biggest issue for the future of the industry is convincing news aggregators and digital distribution platforms that we all benefit by bringing back revenues for the high-quality, professionally edited and vetted journalism that can be searched, linked to or shared socially. This is particularly important because of the rise of “fake news” which, over time, could diminish the overall value of search results, news summaries or whole articles that are distributed. The Alliance will soon announce an outreach program with media monitoring organizations that index and distribute news digests to business clients for a profit. We hope that this will lead to copyright compliance among these companies and licensing of news content. Other hot issues include minimizing the impact of new overtime rule, the tax reform debate mentioned earlier and government’s inability to modernize outdated rules, be it the definition of market competition used by the Justice Department or the FCC’s irrational decision to keep the 41-year ban on media ownership.
What is something your coworkers would be surprised to learn about you?
I played in an all-star basketball game at the “Fabulous Forum” in Los Angeles. Okay, I was 10 years-old and it was during halftime of a Lakers game…but I ran the court, and if the 3-point line existed back then (dating myself), I would have hit nothing but net.