LJSA: The latest news
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The time to support local news is now

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June 9, 2022 - Congress has an opportunity to pass legislation that benefits all local citizens, businesses and even protects our democracy. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act, LJSA for short, should be included as part of any upcoming reconciliation bill that Congress is considering. The LJSA is a well-thought-out bill that would provide needed support to local news organizations, including local newspapers, to ensure their viability as they continue to make progress toward a digital future.

Many members of Congress have seen what happens when a newspaper closes in their district, and they see the impact it has on the community. That is why many of our leaders, including Senators Cantwell, Schumer, Manchin, Wyden and others have stepped up in support of the LJSA. And while others in Congress may not have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill yet, many recognize the importance and the need to maintain strong local news organizations in their communities.

Background and Ways You Can Help

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.
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Here are three things you can do to help move this effort forward
Dean Ridings | America's Newspapers

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!

Reconciliation Bill
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

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

Press Release | Sen. Maria Cantwell
Nov. 5, 2021 - 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.” 

LJSA tax credits would be a game changer for community newspapers
Cindy Durham | America's Newspapers

Nov. 11, 2021 - 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 with America’s Newspapers about the industry’s need for the temporary tax credit that the LJSA would offer.