Recently, U.S. Representative David B. McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.) cosponsored the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (H.R. 7640), a bipartisan bill to support local newspapers in communities throughout the United States.
Local newspapers already faced financial difficulties in recent years caused by a reduction in advertising revenue and declining subscriptions. Now, in the wake of the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, the industry is facing even more dire challenges.
"Local newspapers and journalists are vital to the public, especially within our rural communities in West Virginia," said McKinley. "These publications are the lifeblood of small towns, providing readers with coverage they can't get anywhere else. They also play an important role in the local economy."
"Throughout the country many newspapers are facing economic hardships due to a changing business model," added McKinley. "These struggles started before COVID-19, but the pandemic has only heightened them. We need to make sure these publications can stay in business and continue to provide important public services through this crisis and beyond."
The bill offers a series of three tax-credits aimed at encouraging support for local journalism in the years to come:
-A credit for subscribers who help to support local newsgathering by subscribing;
-A five-year refundable credit for publishers to help them hire and retain journalists;
-A credit for small- and medium-sized businesses that advertise in local newspapers and other local media.
The proposed credits will encourage Americans to subscribe to local publications, help those publications retain and pay journalists, and provide businesses and publications alike with much-needed advertising dollars.
Joining Rep. McKinley as original cosponsors of the bill are Reps. Kirkpatrick, Newhouse, Fitzpatrick, Souzzi, Welch, R. Davis, McKinley P.E., Visclosky, Peterson, Harder, Heck, Takano, Carson, Fleischmann, Grijalva, Lynch, and Weber.
The legislation is supported by: Dean Ridings CEO, America's Newspapers, David Chavern, President & CEO of News Media Alliance, Matt Adelman, President of the National Newspaper Association