There’s a new bill in Congress to try to help local news publishers like us. Given that we’re the intended beneficiaries, you’re probably not shocked that I’m inclined to support it.
The idea is simple: Give tax breaks to local businesses that buy marketing services from local news publishers, and give tax breaks to news publishers for employing professional journalists. Last year’s bill included a provision to provide tax breaks to individual people who subscribe to small local news publications, but that evidently proved too complicated and so was dropped. Last year’s bill made it nearly to the finish line but got killed in the end.
This time around there’s bipartisan support, including — I would assume — from Kansas’ congressional delegation. The reason is also pretty simple: Everybody recognizes the value and importance of independent professional journalism to the healthy functioning of our republic. For the system to function properly, voters have to be informed of what their government is doing. Without independent professional journalists, they won’t be.
Ned Seaton is publisher of The Mercury.