At least two major bills to help journalism have been reintroduced, and more are on the way. The three pieces of legislation that have gotten the most publicity — the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act and the Future of Local News Act — are not new. But advocates say they are increasingly confident that the bills will gain traction this legislative session as members of Congress realize the dire circumstances newsrooms face.
“While we in the industry know that we’ve had challenges for a number of years, I think the public in general is just now becoming more aware of the struggles we’re facing as an industry,” said America’s Newspapers CEO Dean Ridings.
The most obvious is the community’s access to news about itself: The workings of its town hall; information about taxes and property values; the operation of schools for its children; the achievements, or the criminal activities, of local residents; the scores of local ball teams; schedules and reviews of movies, concerts, restaurants and books; and the offerings of local small businesses.
But the less obvious losses when a newspaper disappears may be the most devastating to a community.