Saturday, May 18, 2024

April to Be Designated “Preserving and Protecting Local News Month” Under Resolution Co-Sponsored by Cantwell

Resolution highlights importance of local news in a functioning democracy


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined a group of 14 senators in introducing a resolution designating April 2023 as “Preserving and Protecting Local News Month.” The resolution recognizes local news as a public good that serves an essential function in the democracy of the United States.

“Local journalism unites our communities,” said Sen. Cantwell. “It is essential for the safety of our communities and for the health of our democracy. So we must recognize the importance of local journalism – and the people who work hard every day to ensure that Americans are well informed.”

According to Pew Research Center, the overall employment in newspaper, television, radio, and digital newsrooms in the United States fell by 26 percent, or 30,000 jobs, from 2008-2020. More than 100 local newsrooms were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 30 percent of local television stations reporting budget cuts and staff reductions. The resolution affirms the significance of local news in increasing civic engagement and strengthening democratic norms and practices, and acknowledges the valuable contributions of local journalism toward the maintenance of healthy and vibrant communities.

The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The resolution has been endorsed by PEN America; Alliance for Community Media; Free Press Action; National Press Photographers Association (NPPA); Native American Journalists Association (NAJA); Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO; Ethnic Media Services; Society of Environmental Journalists; Society for News Design; Common Cause; Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO; National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ); Native Public Media; Public Knowledge; Society of Professional Journalists; Theatre Communications Group; National Newspaper Association (NNA); National Writers Union (NWU); and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

Sen. Cantwell has long championed legislation to support local journalism. In 2021, she introduced the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which would help financially support local news organizations through tax credits to incentivize hiring more journalists, subscriptions, and advertising from local small businesses. She plans to introduce similar legislation again in this Congress. On Thursday, April 20, Washington state’s Legislature passed a similar measure with strong bipartisan support.


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