State and Local

State and Local Efforts

More and more state lawmakers are taking a proactive approach to maintaining, understanding and strengthening their local press. Here are some of the most significant efforts:

 

Wisconsin

Fourteen Republicans and two Democrats introduced a proposal to provide a tax credit to small businesses in the state that advertised in local news. The approach, based on the federal Local Journalism Sustainability Act, drew support not only from journalism groups but also associations representing restaurants, bars, and banks. The bill had a hearing in 2021, but didn’t pass. The leaders of the effort, the Wisconsin Press Association, will (with the help of the Rebuild Local News Coalition) push this in the upcoming session. Learn more.

 

California

The state legislature allotted $25 million over three years to the journalism school at the University of California-Berkeley to provide fellowships to at least 40 reporters placed in local newsrooms around the state. This proposal emerged after an earlier plan to provide direct aid to newsrooms stalled when journalism groups failed to agree on the approach.  Learn more.

 

Colorado

Colorado state legislators proposed a tax credit for small businesses to advertise in local news, based on the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. It drew support not only from journalism groups but from the League of Women Voters of Colorado. It passed the House Business Affairs and Labor committee as well as the Finance Committee but failed to pass the House Appropriations Committee. The Coalition testified in support and worked closely with the Colorado Press Association.

 

New York City

In 2019, after prodding from the Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order requiring that certain city agencies spend at least 50% of their advertising budgets with community newspapers. The policy had been a big success, providing about $25 million over two years to more than 100 struggling local newsrooms. Learn more.

 

New Jersey 

New Jersey launched the first-of-its-kind Civic Info Consortium in 2018 to provide grants to civic information producers in the state, including newsrooms. Since then it has given out over $1 million in grants. Learn more