Sens. Kelly, Cantwell, and Wyden Introduce Legislation to Strengthen, Sustain Local News

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021. This legislation would help financially support local news organizations through a series of tax credits for newspapers, digital publications, television and radio.

“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,” said Sen. Kelly. “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.”

“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,” said Sen. Cantwell. “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.”

“The decline of local news has had devastating effects on our communities. 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,” said Sen. Wyden.

Since 2004, over 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.

Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced a similar bipartisan House version of the bill (H.R.3940) in June 2021.

A one-pager of the legislation tax credits can be found HERE.