As journalists are on the front lines reporting on the coronavirus crisis, as well as the public protests on our nation’s streets to call attention to systemic racism, the public’s demand for local news has never been greater. Over the last few months, local news publishers have been dealt a major blow from the contraction of the local advertising market. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act, introduced in the House of Representatives today by Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA), would provide incentives in the form of tax credits for consumers to spend on subscriptions to local newspapers; businesses to spend on advertising in local news media; and news organizations to hire and retain professional journalists. This would help ensure local news publishers survive the current crises, and that they are around to cover the next ones. We applaud Representatives Kirkpatrick and Newhouse – and the bipartisan group of their colleagues who have joined them as original co-sponsors – for their leadership in helping to sustain local journalism and preventing further closings of local news publishing businesses and the growth of news deserts across the country.
David Chavern is former President & CEO of the News/Media Alliance. Chavern has 30 years of experience in executive strategic and operational roles. Prior to the Alliance, he completed a decade-long tenure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.