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U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said today he has introduced legislation with U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) that would help financially support local news organizations through tax credits to incentivize hiring more journalists, subscriptions, and advertising from local small businesses.

“The decline of local news has had devastating effects on our communities,” said Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “Local news has often been the only window into the city council or mayor’s office. Without these outlets, these important institutions in our communities go uncovered. Further, the decline of local news has only fueled the growth of misinformation, as Americans lose their most trusted sources of information. As the son of a journalist, these developments trouble me greatly. Our bill would provide financial support to local news at this critical time for our democracy.”

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic made it crystal clear that local reporters and newsrooms are essential to keeping the public informed and safe, but their importance spans well beyond health emergencies,” Cantwell said. “At its core, local news is about holding the powerful accountable. The strength of our democracy is based in truth and transparency, and local newsrooms are on the ground in our communities asking the critical questions, countering misinformation, and telling our stories. We have to protect these vital parts of our communities, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

 

“Local newspapers, radio stations and TV stations are pillars of our community, bringing Arizonans trusted local news, information about community events and the latest on public health updates in their area,” Kelly said. “The pandemic made an already difficult financial situation for these news providers even harder, which is why I support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. By providing tax credits for individuals to support local news outlets, they can continue to provide important coverage for Arizona readers, listeners and viewers.”

 

Since 2004, more than 1,800 communities have lost their local newspapers. Since the COVID pandemic began, 37,000 journalists have lost their jobs, been furloughed, or had their pay cut.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act would help support local news organizations through tax credits for local newspapers, digital publications, television and radio.

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