THE LOCAL JOURNALISM SUSTAINABILITY ACT OF 2021
The bipartisan Local Journalism Sustainability Act would address the catastrophic collapse of local news, in a way that will build a better local news system for the future. The bill provides a sensible approach because:
- It helps local news by amplifying the choices of consumers and small businesses, rather than having the government pick winners and losers
- It is strictly nonpartisan and guards against government favoritism or manipulation of media
- Helps small media as well as larger players, nonprofits as well as commercial models, digital and print, communities of color and rural areas.
- It is not just a stop-gap but rather would help create a stronger, more inclusive local news system in the future.
The key provisions are:
Tax credit helping consumers to buy newspaper subscriptions or make donations to nonprofit local news organizations
- Up to $250 (consumers must put in some of their own money to get the full benefit)
- Must be for news organizations covering local or state news, under 750 employees [1,000 in the Senate version]
- Must have at least one reporter working in the area of coverage
Payroll tax credit for local news organizations for journalists
- Up to $25,000 for journalists on staff (creating an incentive to retain journalists) in year 1, up to $15,000 for years 2-5
- For for-profit and nonprofit news organizations
Payroll tax credit for small businesses to advertise with or provide sponsorships to local news organizations
- $5000 tax credit to businesses this, $2500 for years 2-5.
- Local news organizations can include newspapers, websites, radio or TV
Here are more details on how the bill works, the actual legislative language, and a dive into the weeds of what the bill’s components would do.
The bill has been endorsed by the following members of the Rebuild Local News coalition:
Local Independent Online News Publishers
Institute for Nonprofit News
National Association of Hispanic Publications
National Newspaper Publishers Association
National Newspaper Association
Local Media Consortium
National Federation of Community Broadcasters
Report for America/The GroundTruth Project
American Journalism Project
Solutions Journalism Network
Lenfest Institute for Journalism
Association of Alternative Newsmedia
Colorado Media Project
Journalism Funding Partners