Rebuild Local News Coalition endorses New York state bill to support community journalism

The Rebuild Local News Coalition strongly supports the Local Journalism Sustainability Act proposal that is currently included in the budget proposal of the New York State Senate.

The bill would provide an employment tax credit to news outlets that employ local reporters, editors and photographers who cover communities throughout the state.

The Rebuild Local News Coalition is a national alliance of journalism organizations – publishers, labor unions, ethnic media, philanthropic organizations, and others – that advocate for public policy to strengthen local news. Together, the organizations in the coalition represent more than 3,000 local newsrooms.

Steven Waldman, the President of the Rebuild Local News organization, stated:

“This bill would not only be profoundly important for community journalism in New York, it would create a model for the rest of the country. It would be a major breakthrough in the efforts to counter the devastating collapse of local news that is harming communities and undermining democracy.

We love this approach. An employment credit places the incentives in the right place: hiring of local reporters. It’s non bureaucratic. It helps for profits and nonprofits, print, digital and broadcast, urban and rural. It’s future friendly so new innovators can plug in too. And it does all this while being compatible with the First Amendment and the need to protect the editorial independence of news outlets.” 

Waldman said that the organization also supports increasing or lifting the size cap on the bill (which excludes publications that have more than 100 employees in a newsroom).

New York state has lost almost half of its newspapers and half of its reporters since 2005, according to the State of Local News Report by the Medill Journalism School at Northwestern University.

The groups in the Rebuild Local News Coalition include these national organizations, which represent many newsrooms in New York and around the country:

  • The NewsGuild-CWA
  • Institute for Nonprofit News
  • National Newspaper Association
  • National Newspaper Publishers Association (Black newspapers)
  • National Association of Hispanic Publications
  • Local Independent Online News Publishers
  • Association of Alternative Newsmedia
  • PEN America
  • Poynter Institute
  • American Journalism Project
  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • Local Media Consortium
  • Report for America / The GroundTruth Project
  • The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
  • National Trust for Local News
  • Media and Democracy Project
  • National Federation of Community Broadcasters
  • Chalkbeat / Civic Beat
  • Black Voice News