October2, 2023 - More than a dozen members of America’s Newspapers participated in a Support Journalism Fly-In in Washington, D.C., last week. In all, more than 80 participants representing news publishers in 25 states attended the event, hosted by the News/Media Alliance. Danielle Coffey, president and CEO of the Alliance, said: “Our members are here in Washington today because they are passionate about quality journalism, and right now its future is at risk.”
The goal of the fly-in was for news-media representatives to advocate in person with their members of Congress for journalism — and the need for legislative action.
The participants asked their House members to support the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) when it is introduced, and to sign on as co-sponsors of the Community News and Small Business Support Act (H.R. 4756), as well as to provide protection from unlawful scraping of content by artificial intelligence systems.
Senate members were asked to support the Journalism and Competition Preservation Act (JCPA — S. 1094), and to sign on to the Community News and Small Business Support Act when it is introduced in the Senate. They also were made aware of the need to provide protection from unlawful scraping of content by artificial intelligence systems.
America’s Newspapers has been highly focused on working with Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New York) and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Washington) for the introduction of the Community News and Small Business Support Act (H.R. 4756), and now to gain co-sponsors. The bill was introduced in July, and as of Friday, the bill has 21 bipartisan co-sponsors.
Cameron Nutting Williams, CRO of Ogden Newspapers, and president of America’s Newspapers, said: “The fly-in was a unique opportunity to sit face-to-face with lawmakers from across the political spectrum as we laid out the challenges of the local news business. Regardless of party, every lawmaker has felt the impact of their local newspapers and knows that their communities would suffer if they were lost. In an environment where politicians agree on so little, I continue to believe we can rally support behind the immediate, much needed support for local newsrooms and small businesses that H.R. 4756 provides.”
"Meeting with our nation's leaders from both sides of the aisle reinforced that the support for local news is the rare nonpartisan issue," said Zachary Richner, director, Richner Communications, Inc. and nominated as a director of America’s Newspapers. “The Community News and Small Business Support Act will bring back local jobs to community newsrooms, strengthen Main Street businesses, and increase access to information that reflects hometown values. I am increasingly optimistic that our federal representatives understand the urgency of passing this critical piece of legislation not only for our industry, but also for our communities and for our democracy. It's incredible to see the progress that America's Newspapers has made, under the leadership of Dean Ridings, on pushing forward good public policy on behalf of the local news industry. Thank you to Dean, the America's Newspapers staff — as well as Danielle Coffey at the News/Media Alliance — for their dogged commitment to preserving the Fourth Estate."
Alan Fisco, president of The Seattle Times Company and co-chair of America’s Newspapers Legislative Committee, said: “Awesome and worth every penny and my time. We cannot let up. There is definitely growing understanding of our industry situation, negative outcomes and support. I truly believe this is a result of our ongoing efforts, including 'walking the halls'. Budget for this next year. It could be the best dollars ever spent!”
Dean Ridings, America’s Newspapers CEO, met with eight House members during the Fly-In. Ridings said: “Everyone I have met with understands the need, and the value, to support local news organizations. I didn’t get a negative reaction or any serious push back from anyone. Plus, I am so encouraged by the strong showing of bipartisan support. Support for local journalism is truly not a partisan issue.”
America’s Newspapers will host a fly-in next Spring and will send out the dates after the 2024 Congressional Calendar is announced.
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