On March 12, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law held a hearing about “Saving the Free and Diverse Press” by reviving competition in the marketplace. At the hearing, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act,” which would enable news publishers to collectively bargain with dominant digital platforms in order to receive fair compensation, specifically benefitting small, local publishers. Alliance CEO David Chavern testified that Google and Facebook effectively regulate the news industry because they determine who the content reaches, collect date, and control the advertising markets. Because of this, news publishers urgently need a solution to correct this power imbalance and negotiate for fair compensation for their content. Though Google claims to have a deep commitment to news, news publishers have more internet traffic than ever and are even bearing higher costs to produce high quality journalism, yet their revenues are plummeting at the hands of Google and Facebook. There was bi-partisan agreement local news is vital for both American democracy and civilization. The “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” would give publishers the bargaining power they need to survive in an ecosystem that is currently dominated by two companies. Read more here.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.