What every publisher can do to support local journalism

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I want to provide an update on America’s Newspapers’ efforts surrounding one of the most important legislative opportunities the newspaper industry has seen, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA).

As many of you are aware, the LJSA has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 7640.  This bill provides a number of provisions that will help the three stakeholders of local news providers: people who subscribe; businesses that advertise; and newspapers that staff their newsrooms.

America’s Newspapers has taken a leadership role in advocating for this legislation on behalf of our members and the overall industry.  We now have obtained 55 cosponsors for the bill in a bipartisan show of support for the importance of local newspapers. View a list of the cosponsors here.

Our goal is to have 100 or more cosponsors for this bill, and we need your continued support to reach this number.   To be successful, it’s critical that we have the support of all of America’s Newspapers members. As local publishers, you have the power and influence to make a difference.  Without our collective and united efforts, our mission to pass meaningful legislation to support local news will be significantly more difficult. 

While there are many things local publishers can do to help this cause, I want to highlight a few critical areas every publisher should be doing right now in their local markets:

  • Contact and engage with your government representatives:  Your Congressional representatives want to hear from you.  In this time of extreme contentiousness between the government and the media, it’s vital that you establish a line of communication with your local, state and national elected officials.  This is true for newspapers of all sizes!  It is important to inform your government officials about the important role that your newspaper plays in the local community. It is also important that you let them know about the difficult situation the industry is facing now due to the impact of COVID-19 and the practices of big tech companies like Google and Facebook who use our content, usually without compensation.  When talking with your U.S. Congressional representatives, ask them directly to cosponsor the Local Journalism Sustainability Act and emphasize how their support will help to maintain the future of local news.  If you need more information or talking points on the LJSA, you can find them on our site at newspapers.org. Additionally, many local newspapers will be talking with candidates and incumbents during the upcoming election season, providing a perfect opportunity to speak with them about  the importance of having their support for local newspapers.
  • Be a consistent and aggressive advocate for newspapers:  We are finding that the role of educating readers and local businesses about the importance of newspapers is an important, and often missing, element of our efforts.  Now is the time to promote the good work that newspapers do.  Explain the differences between the national and local news media and how local newspapers are focused on being a trusted source for the communities they serve and how they are invested in their growth.  And, you can support America’s Newspapers’ efforts in Washington by running editorials to support the passage of the LJSA and other future legislative efforts.  You can find our editorials at www.newpapers.org  or feel free to write your own and share them with us.
  • Engage with your community:  It’s also important to expand the message on the role of newspapers to all segments of our communities.  As the leaders of your organization, it’s essential that you reach out to business, community and civic organizations and seek their support.  While we would like every person to be a subscriber and every business to be an advertiser, it’s just as important to create community advocates who understand the newspaper’s mission and who will speak on your behalf.  Empower and educate your employees to connect with their friends, families and networks to promote all that your newspaper does and why it’s important to have their support. 

America’s Newspapers is here to support you in your advocacy efforts.  We have compiled a vast resource library with information and content for you to use.  You can find it at newspapers.org/advocacy and watch your email for regular updates on what’s happening with legislative efforts.

If you have specific questions or need help on any of these issues, please feel free to reach out to me directly at dridings@newspapers.org or call me at 847-282-9850, ext. 105.

Thank you for your support and for being a member of America’s Newspapers. 

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