LJSA: The latest news

Fund local journalism to help communities

This editorial is being made available to members of America's Newspapers for reprint.  Portions of this editorial were previously published in The Wall Street Journal, as a letter from Dean Ridings.

A portion of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA) was included in the recent Build Back Better bill that was passed in the House. The LJSA, which has bipartisan support in the House, provides needed support for local journalists across the U.S. and is now being considered in the Senate.

While there has been tremendous support for the LJSA overall, there have been some pundits who have questioned whether government support for local journalists will maintain a free press. One such claim recently came from The Wall Street Journal in an opinion piece asserting the LJSA is “a subsidy for local journalists, most of whom are left of center.” It’s important for local newspaper readers to understand this claim is not only misleading but is also incorrect. While the writers at The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times may be interested in demonstrating how right or left of center they are, most journalists at local newspapers are dedicated to the news of their community without a slant in either direction.

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America's Newspapers thanks Congressional leaders for their support of local journalism

By a vote of 220-213, the House approved the Build Back Better Act, which includes a five-year credit for local newspapers to employ and adequately compensate journalists. In its current form, this would provide up to $25,000 in credits in year one for newsroom employees, and up to $15,000 in years two through five. READ MORE

LJSA tax credits would be a game changer for community newspapers

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act carries the opportunity to significantly impact even the smallest communities across the United States. Three industry executives — Michael Gebhart, Matt McMillan and Leonard Woolsey — shared their thoughts this week with America’s Newspapers about the industry’s need for the temporary tax credit that the LJSA would offer. 

Reconciliation Bill

Cantwell cheers inclusion of local journalism support in Build Back Better package

Cantwell on Senate Floor: “Local news is like hanging a lantern on a problem so that the light shines through ... American democracy really does depend on ensuring that we have access to information.”

Alan Fisco, immediate past president of America’s Newspapers: “A vibrant free press is the cornerstone of our democracy. Senator Cantwell’s leadership in the Senate for the Local Journalism Sustainability Act is yet another example of her deep understanding and support for our role.” 
West Virginia Editorial
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act "could be a game-changer for small-town USA and the rural voices that are frequently drowned out by more dominant coastal outlets. Those mom-and-pop storefronts that have dwindled under a tidal wave of Walmarts and Dollar Generals? They would be a primary beneficiary of LJSA. Local fundraisers of all stripes, community banks, development groups, teachers and schools ... the list of winners when it comes to this relatively small price tag is as big as America itself."
Please thank your member of Congress for support!

LJSA is back in the Build Back Better Act

As of this afternoon, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act is back in the Build Back Better Act (budget reconciliation bill).

The LJSA was removed last Thursday along with many other measures, but was put back in as a result of the strong support from the bill’s sponsors and co-sponsors, members of the Ways and Means Committee, and House and Senate leadership.

Dean Ridings, America’s Newspapers CEO, said:  “Our industry has really come together to support the LJSA. The net result is that communities across the U.S. will continue to receive the important news and information they need from their local newspapers, radio and TV stations. I’ve never been more proud to work for newspapers than today.”

The bill is expected to be brought to a vote in the next week or so. It is still important for publishers and leaders from America’s Newspapers to let their members of Congress know how important this bill is to them, and to thank them for their support.

Continue to stay connected to America's Newspapers at  newspapers.org for more info on the LJSA and more.

Sponsor and 16 co-sponsors of S. 2434 (as of Jan. 11)

The date indicates when they signed on as a co-sponsor

Sponsor: Sen. Cantwell, Maria [D-WA] (introduced 07/22/2021)
Co-Sponsors:
07/22/2021 - Sen. Kelly, Mark [D-AZ] — original co-sponsor
09/21/2021 - Sen. Sinema, Kyrsten [D-AZ]
11/16/2021 - Sen. Padilla, Alex [D-CA]
10/20/2021 - Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
07/27/2021 - Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI]
07/27/2021 - Sen. Markey, Edward [D-MA]
08/03/2021 - Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]
09/28/2021 - Sen. Lujan, Ben [D-NM]
09/14/2021 - Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]
01/11/2022 - Sen. Rosen, Jacky [D-NV]
09/14/2021 - Sen. Schumer, Charles [D-NY]
07/22/2021 - Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR] — original co-sponsor
09/28/2021 - Sen. Leahy, Patrick [D-VT]
08/03/2021 - Sen. Murray, Patty [D-WA]
09/21/2021 - Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI]
09/14/2021 - Sen. Manchin, Joseph [D-WV]

View a list of H.R. 3940 sponsors/co-sponsors

Available for reprint - with proper attribution

My view: LJSA a critical piece of legislation
Profit might respond to free-market libertarianism, but truth does not.

Zachary Richner | Special to the Observer Media Group
I was disheartened to read in last week's opinion page that Matt Walsh, CEO of Observer Media Group, opposes the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.

Opinion: Local journalism needs federal support

Juan-Carlos Molleda | Special to The Oregonian
The fate of local news in America may depend on what Oregon’s senior senator, Ron Wyden, does in the next few days.

Local news hangs in the balance

Steve Waldman | Report for America
The Senate is now deciding the fate of local news. As part of the Build Back Better Act, the Senate is in the next few days considering an important proposal: providing a payroll tax credit to local news organizations to retain or hire local journalists. This updated editorial and additional editorials at www.newspapers.org/ljsa are available for reprint.

The Senate is now deciding the fate of local news

Staff | Rebuild Local News
If Congress does not include local news help in the Build Back Better Act, another 200 or more local newspapers will disappear in the next year or two.

A call to action as a key deadline looms for the federal proposal to help local news | Opinion

Jim Friedlich | Special to The Philadelphia Inquirer
As Republicans and Democrats have fought over the size and scope of the Build Back Better legislation, trade-offs are being made including on health care, tax policy, public safety, education, infrastructure, energy policy and environmental reform.

Those are all important needs. But what is distinctive — and distinctively important — about the Local Journalism Sustainability Act is that a strong local press informs and empowers Americans to participate in each and every one of these vital issues.

A survey and additional coverage

Call to action: Take part in survey about media deserts and sustainability of local journalism

To better understand the current and future state of the news and publishing industry and the various factors that undermine the sustainability of local journalism, PressReader is conducting a survey in partnership with a Princeton University sociologist.

What happens when the news desert is in your own backyard?

Joshua Benton | Nieman Lab
Cambridge, Massachusetts — a rich, educated city home to some of the world’s most powerful institutions — is at least for now without its last full-time local newspaper reporter.

The National Trust for Local News is trying to build a $300 million fund to help save local news

Rather than grants, the trust dispenses venture capital and advice, with a goal of growing local support to serve small-town news deserts.

Local Journalism Sustainability Act (S.2434)

On Thursday, July 22, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate to H.R. 3940, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. This is a bipartisan bill that seeks to help local newspapers sustain financial viability through a series of three tax credits.

America's Newspapers supports the passage of this legislation and calls on all members to ask their senators and Congressional representatives for their support.

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READ NEWS RELEASE from Sen. Cantwell's office
reprint our editorial and cartoon
Reprint our editorial cartoon and editorial (or adapt the editorial and make it your own with information from your local market).

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA) was recently introduced in the House and has now been introduced in the Senate — and will benefit every member of this community! Unlike many issues in Washington, this legislation has bipartisan support and is focused on delivering benefits to local communities across the U.S. by sustaining local news organizations, including this newspaper.

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EDITORS: This news story, published by Wick Communications for America’s Newspapers, can be edited as needed for your local market. We encourage you to contact your senators and representatives to add quotes from them. READ MORE
Sponsor and 16 co-sponsors of S. 2434 (as of Jan. 11)

The date indicates when they signed on as a co-sponsor

Sponsor: Sen. Cantwell, Maria [D-WA] (introduced 07/22/2021)
Co-Sponsors:
07/22/2021 - Sen. Kelly, Mark [D-AZ] — original co-sponsor
09/21/2021 - Sen. Sinema, Kyrsten [D-AZ]
11/16/2021 - Sen. Padilla, Alex [D-CA]
10/20/2021 - Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
07/27/2021 - Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI]
07/27/2021 - Sen. Markey, Edward [D-MA]
08/03/2021 - Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]
09/28/2021 - Sen. Lujan, Ben [D-NM]
09/14/2021 - Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]
01/11/2022 - Sen. Rosen, Jacky [D-NV]
09/14/2021 - Sen. Schumer, Charles [D-NY]
07/22/2021 - Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR] — original co-sponsor
09/28/2021 - Sen. Leahy, Patrick [D-VT]
08/03/2021 - Sen. Murray, Patty [D-WA]
09/21/2021 - Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI]
09/14/2021 - Sen. Manchin, Joseph [D-WV]

View a list of H.R. 3940 sponsors/co-sponsors

More voices from across the country
Sept. 6, 2021 - Last week the AFL-CIO endorsed the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, a bill that would provide tax credits to help subscribers, local businesses and, most importantly, local journalists.
Read more from The NewsGuild
Aug. 4, 2021 - “To me newspapers are community,” Senator Maria Cantwell says. “I think one thing we’ve found in the information age is, if we don’t have community you’re going to have more disruption. So you have to look for the vehicles that drive community and drive trust.”
Read more from The Seattle Times
August 1, 2021 - There’s no telling what kind of media ecosystem would arise under this bill, or that established players would come out the winners. But it will mean more local reporters. And local reporters are vital to the health of any community and the accountability of its local government.
Read more from the Post Register
July 28, 2021 - The bipartisan Local Journalism Sustainability Act would provide tax credits to households that subscribe to local newspapers and to publishers that employ journalists pursuing and sharing truth and facts...

And the Journalism and Competition Preservation Act — which has as one of its main sponsors U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota — would enable small and large news outlets to negotiate content usage agreements with digital platforms like Google and Facebook.
Read more from the Duluth News Tribune
Local Journalism Sustainability Act (H.R. 3940)

Bipartisan legislation reintroduced in House; provides three tax credits to help newspapers sustain financial viability

On June 16, Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., introduced the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (H.R. 3940) for the 117th Congress, a bipartisan bill that seeks to help local newspapers sustain financial viability through a series of three tax credits.

America's Newspapers supports the passage of this legislation.

Key components of legislation

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is a bipartisan bill that provides a pathway to financial viability for local newspapers, in print or online, through a series of three tax credits. Such publications were already facing financial hardships prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have only worsened over the last year.

Local Newspaper Subscription Credit
This credit will grow publications’ subscription bases by incentivizing Americans to subscribe to local newspapers.

  • Five-year credit of up to $250 annually.
  • Credit covers 80% of subscription costs in first year and 50% in subsequent four years. (To receive full $250 credit, a subscriber would have to spend at least $312.50 in the first year, and $500 each of the following four years.)
  • Credit can be used with non-profit publications if the publication is the non-profit’s primary activity.

Local Newspaper Journalist Compensation Credit
This credit will provide publications the ability to hire more dedicated local news journalists to improve their newsroom coverage.

  • Five-year credit of up to $25,000 in first year and up to $15,000 in subsequent four years.
  • Credit covers 50% of compensation up to $50,000 in first year, and 30% of compensation up to $50,000 in subsequent four years.
  • Journalist must meet a minimum of 100 hours of work per quarter to qualify as an eligible employee.

Local Newspaper and Local Media Advertising Credit
This credit will provide small business financial flexibility to spend on advertising in local newspapers and media.

  • Five-year credit of up to $5,000 in first year and up to $2,500 in subsequent four years.
  • Credit covers 80% of advertising costs in first year and 50% in subsequent four years. (To receive full $5,000 in first year and $2,500 in subsequent four years, a small business would have spent at least $6,250 and $5,000 respectively.)
  • To increase flexibility, small businesses may utilize this credit to advertise with local television and radio stations, in addition to local newspapers.

Definition of Local Newspaper
For the purposes of this bill, local newspaper is defined as a print or digital publication if:

  • The primary content of such publication is original content derived from primary sources and relating to news and current events.
  • Such publication primarily serves the needs of a regional or local community.
  • The publisher of such publication employs at least one local news journalist who resides in such regional or local community.
  • The publisher of such publication employs not greater than 750 employees.

Definition of Local News Journalist
For the purposes of this bill, local news journalist is defined as an individual employed by a local newspaper who:

  • Regularly gathers, collects, photographs, records, writes, or reports news or information that concerns local events or other matters of local public interest.

Sample Letter and Downloads
Here are three things you can do to help move this effort forward

We are counting on members of America's Newspapers again this year to join forces to help ensure the success of this legislation.

Here's where your help is urgently needed:

  1. We need your effort and focus in educating our federal representatives on this matter now. As a leader of your organization, please call your local representatives (US House and Senate) and let them know of the serious challenge facing your newspaper and local journalism and that we need their leadership by co-sponsoring this bill. We are seeking 100 co-sponsors from across this country and political ideology.
  2. Educate your readers through local editorials on the tenants of this act, and why supporting local journalism and the ecosystem that serves it will only enhance the place they call home. An editorial and editorial cartoon are available for reprint from America's Newspapers at http://newspapers.org/ljsa/.   
  3. Please let me (dridings@newspapers.org) know the response you get from your representatives and how America's Newspapers can assist you in this process.

Thank you, in advance, for your good work on behalf of the newspaper industry!

Supporting local means supporting local newspapers

Reprint our editorial or adapt it and make it your own with information from your local market, like the Valley News did!

Legislation has been introduced to help protect newspapers from the business tactics of Big Tech companies that often use newspapers’ content without compensation.  On June 16, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act was introduced as a bipartisan effort to recognize and protect local newspapers and the journalists who deliver valuable content. 

Contact your congressional representative and asked them to co-sponsor and support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act that ensures newspapers continue to serve their readers and advertisers.

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Sponsor and 63 co-sponsors of H.R. 3940 (as of Nov. 9)

The date indicates when they signed on as a co-sponsor

Sponsor: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-AZ] (introduced 06/16/2021)
Co-Sponsors:
07/09/2021 - Rep. Sewell, Terri A. [D-AL-7]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3]
07/09/2021 - Rep. O'Halleran, Tom [D-AZ-1]
08/20/2021 - Rep. Carbajal, Salud O. [D-CA-24]
07/09/2021 - Rep. DeSaulnier, Mark [D-CA-11]
07/09/2021 - Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA-17]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Panetta, Jimmy [D-CA-20]
07/22/2021 - Rep. Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA-28]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15]
07/09/2021 - Rep. Courtney, Joe [D-CT-2]
10/21/2021 - Rep. Hayes, Jahana [D-CT-5]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Larson, John B. [D-CT-1]
06/28/2021 - Del. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]
07/28/2021 - Rep. Buchanan, Vern [R-FL-16]
07/22/2021 - Rep. Demings, Val Butler [D-FL-10]
07/29/2021 - Rep. Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [D-GA-2]
07/22/2021 - Rep. Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [D-GA-4]
09/03/2021 - Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Davis, Rodney [R-IL-13]
10/21/2021 - Rep. Mrvan, Frank J. [D-IN-1]
07/28/2021 - Rep. Lynch, Stephen F. [D-MA-8]
06/28/2021 - Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Moulton, Seth [D-MA-6]
07/22/2021 - Rep. McCollum, Betty [D-MN-4]
09/14/2021 - Rep. Stauber, Pete [R-MN-8]
11/03/2021 - Rep. Kelly, Trent [R-MS-1]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2]
11/04/2021 - Rep. Rouzer, David [R-NC-7]
08/24/2021 - Rep. Kim, Andy [D-NJ-3]
09/20/2021 - Rep. Titus, Dina [D-NV-1]
09/03/2021 - Rep. Delgado, Antonio [D-NY-19]

08/06/2021 - Rep. Katko, John [R-NY-24]
08/06/2021 - Rep. Maloney, Carolyn B. [D-NY-12]
09/03/2021 - Rep. Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY-5]
09/03/2021 - Rep. Meng, Grace [D-NY-6]
08/23/2021 - Rep. Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY-10]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Suozzi, Thomas R. [D-NY-3]
07/28/2021 - Rep. Tenney, Claudia [R-NY-22]
07/21/2012 - Rep. Zeldin, Lee M. [R-NY-1]
09/03/2021 - Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13]
11/09/2021 - Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]
07/30/2021 - Rep. Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR-1]
09/20/2021 - Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4]
08/23/2021 - Rep. Evans, Dwight [D-PA-3]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-1]
09/20/2021 - Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Fleischmann, Charles J. "Chuck" [R-TN-3]
09/03/2021 - Rep. Fletcher, Lizzie [D-TX-7]
10/26/2021 - Rep. Gonzalez, Vicente [D-TX-15]
07/28/2021 - Rep. Weber, Randy K., Sr. [R-TX-14]
08/23/2021 - Rep. Spanberger, Abigail Davis [D-VA-7]
07/09/2021 - Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large]
06/28/2021 - Rep. DelBene, Suzan K. [D-WA-1]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA-3]
06/28/2021 - Rep. Jayapal, Pramila [D-WA-7]
07/09/2021 - Rep. Kilmer, Derek [D-WA-6]
06/28-2021 - Rep. Larsen, Rick [D-WA-2]
06/16/2021 - Rep. Newhouse, Dan [R-WA-4] — original co-sponsor
07/28-2021 - Rep. Schrier, Kim [D-WA-8]
07/09/2021 - Rep. Smith, Adam [D-WA-9]
07/09/2021 - Rep. Strickland, Marilyn [D-WA-10]
09/20/2021 - Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]
06/28/2021 - Rep. McKinley, David B. [R-WV-1]

View a list of S. 2434 sponsors/co-sponsors