News Media Groups Applaud Representatives Bustos and Aderholt for Calling on GAO to Review Government Advertising Spending, Assess Agency Use of Local Media

Review Would Reveal Opportunities for Agencies to Advertise in Local News Media


Arlington, VA—Today, Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Robert Aderholt (R-AL) sent a letter to U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that it conduct a comprehensive review of current government agency expenditures on advertising and to examine, among other issues, how federal agencies could place more advertising with local news publishers and broadcast stations. The letter specifically requests that the GAO evaluate federal government expenditures on advertising for FY 2015-2020 and additional issues, such as the breakdown of advertising expenditures across federal government agencies; the media mix selected for government advertising campaigns; and the mechanisms in place that would make it efficient for federal agencies to place advertisements in local media outlets of all sizes.

“We applaud Representatives Bustos and Aderholt for requesting this study, which would help shed light on how government agencies could shift advertising spending to support local media channels,” stated David Chavern, president and CEO of the News Media Alliance. “Local print, digital and broadcast news organizations are working tirelessly to bring us critical news and information – which we need now more than ever. Advertising in local media is an easy way for our government agencies to provide much-needed support, while benefiting from effective and efficient avenues to reach local communities across the country on issues of national and local importance, including the pandemic.”

President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, Gordon Smith, stated, “Federal advertising on local media has long been recognized as an effective way to keep the public informed about government actions, programs and services. NAB commends Reps. Bustos and Aderholt for encouraging a comprehensive review of federal agency advertising, and we appreciate their leadership in pushing for expanding federal agency advertising on local broadcast radio and TV stations and community newspapers.”

Representatives Bustos and Aderholt’s request to the GAO follows Congressional appeals from more than 240 members of the House of Representatives and 74 members in the Senate calling on the federal government to increase its advertising spending with local media outlets.

Rep. Bustos stated, “This pandemic has laid bare the critical need for access to up-to-date, accurate information, and our local news outlets are among the most trusted to deliver for our communities. As a former journalist, I understand the vital role local news plays in keeping our people informed and our democracy strong. We must work to ensure our local media outlets receive the support they need to keep providing high quality news content.”

Rep. Aderholt stated, “Local news is an integral part of communities across Alabama and the entire country. Whether it be print or broadcast, Americans rely on their hometown news outlets on a daily basis. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that clear, and it is critical now that we ensure local news continues through this epidemic and beyond. That is why I believe government agency advertisement spending in local news organizations is a crucial partnership that will benefit all communities. I encourage GAO to undertake this study and look forward to hearing their findings.”


Media Contact:
Lindsey Loving
Director, Communications

The News Media Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,000 news organizations and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and globally. Alliance members include print, digital and mobile publishers of original news content. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on ensuring the future of news media through communication, research, advocacy and innovation. Information about the News Media Alliance (formerly NAA) can be found at


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