State Attorney General Bob Ferguson led a bipartisan coalition of 15 attorneys general on Thursday, Oct. 14 calling on Congress to pass legislation supporting local journalism.
“High-quality, independent journalism is critical to our democracy,” Ferguson said in a news release. “Local outlets have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic — ironically, just when their role as distributors of reliable information has rarely been more crucial. We must do all we can to save local journalism.”
The letter calls on key leaders to support and pass the Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021 (H.R. 3940 and S. 2434). The act would provide:
• Up to $250 in tax credits to local newspaper subscribers to offset subscription fees;
• Up to $5,000 in tax credits for some local businesses for buying ads in local newspapers; and
• Up to $25,000 for local newspapers to hire local journalists.
The letter reads: “Local newspapers are responsible for half of our country’s original reporting, although they only account for one-quarter of media outlets. In many rural communities, local news organizations provide the only information and updates about issues impacting the community.”
“Regional journalism is critical, as is journalism by and for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, including ethnic media organizations,” the letter continues. “These organizations are best positioned to identify, investigate, and report on issues of concern to their respective communities, and Congress should take action to support and strengthen them.”
The attorneys general joining Washington’s letter are: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Guam.