Supporting local journalism supports this community

by | Jul 29, 2021 | Opinion

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA) was recently introduced in the House and has now been introduced in the Senate – and will benefit every member of this community! Unlike many issues in Wash­ington, this legislation has bi­partisan support and is focused on delivering benefits to local communities across the U.S. by sustaining local news orga­nizations, including this news­paper.

Newspapers are facing sig­nificant fiscal challenges due to technological disruption, including Google’s and Face­book’s use of newspapers’ content without compensa­tion. This legislation provides an important, but temporary means of support to help news­papers with needed transition, and it deserves the support of Congressional representa­tives across the country. The bill incentivizes the behaviors needed to facilitate changes to the business model. Please join your local newspaper in call­ing on members of Congress to support this legislation.

The LJSA has been designed to provide a much-needed boost to newspapers. What it isn’t is a permanent hand­out for local newspapers. In­stead, it’s a well-thought-out approach to help sustain local newsgathering efforts through a series of tax credits that ex­pire in five years. And it not only will provide aid to news­papers, but also to subscrib­ers and local small businesses through tax credits that will benefit them directly.

Newspaper subscribers al­ready understand the impor­tance of their local newspaper and that their continued sup­port is critical. Through this legislation, subscribers will re­ceive a tax credit of up to $250 per year. It’s a win-win for subscribers as this tax credit will cover a significant part of their annual newspaper sub­scription, no matter if it’s print or digital.

For local businesses, there’s a direct benefit from the LJSA, as well. When they use the ef­fective print and digital solu­tions of their local newspaper, they will be eligible for a tax credit up to $5,000 the first year and $2,500 per year for the next four years. Not only will this credit offset some of their advertising investment, it also will help them improve their business by reaching more customers and generat­ing more sales. It keeps mon­ey invested locally and helps maintain jobs and support oth­er local initiatives.

For local newspapers, the LJSA provides a much-needed bridge to continue the evolu­tion toward a digitally-based model. The temporary tax credits for newspapers will be tied directly to maintaining healthy newsrooms and em­ploying professional journal­ists committed to producing local news and information. The benefits will be local, not redirected to national media organizations, and provide lo­cal readers with continued ac­cess to the content that’s most important to their lives.

However, in order for the LJSA to provide these benefits to subscribers, local businesses and newspapers, it needs the support from members of the House and Senate. And the best way for that to happen is for them to hear directly from their constituents and support­ers. To support the future of local newspapers, reach out to your representatives and en­courage them to support the Local Journalism Sustainabil­ity Act, and – in turn – support the communities they serve. There’s a benefit for everyone.

On behalf of its approxi­mately 1,500 newspaper and associate member companies, America’s Newspapers is com­mitted to explaining, defending and advancing the vital role of newspapers in democracy and civil life. We put an emphasis on educating the public on all the ways newspapers contrib­ute to building a community identity and the success of lo­cal businesses. Learn more: www.newspapers.org

By Dean Ridings CEO, America’s Newspapers • [email protected]

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