Thursday, October 21, 2021

Michigan Attorney General joins coalition calling for federal support of local journalism

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2021 at 12:34 PM

click to enlarge News you can use. - LEE DEVITO
  • Lee DeVito
  • News you can use.

Across the country, newspapers are folding left and right, victims of the combination of evaporating ad dollars, hemorrhaging subscriptions, and vulture capitalism.

Does journalism deserve to be saved? We think so, but we're biased. But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a bipartisan coalition of 15 attorneys general calling on Congress to pass legislation supporting local journalism.

The attorneys general signed a letter of support for the Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021 (H.R. 3940 and S. 2434).

“As stated in our letter, local journalism is absolutely critical to our communities and our democracy,” Nessel said in a statement. “This industry has struggled for many years and this pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges. I am urging Congress to support local journalism and pass this legislation.”

The legislation would support journalism by offering up to $250 in tax credits to local newspaper subscribers to offset subscription fees, up to $5,000 in tax credits to some local businesses for buying ads in local newspapers, and up to $25,000 for local newspapers to hire local journalists.

"Local newspapers are responsible for half of our country’s original reporting, although they only account for one-quarter of media outlets," the letter reads. "In many rural communities, local news organizations provide the only information and updates about issues impacting the community."

The letter adds, "Regional journalism is critical, as is journalism by and for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, including ethnic media organizations. These organizations are best positioned to identify, investigate, and report on issues of concern to their respective communities, and Congress should take action to support and strengthen them."

Nessel was joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.

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