Dear Newspaper Colleagues,

I’m writing to you seeking your support for a bill that will help local journalism exist and transition during a time of COVID-19.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is bi-partisan legislation providing an assist, not a hand out, to key local stakeholders that directly support local journalism.

U.S. Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona) and Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) are the chief co-sponsors of this legislation, which I believe is part of the solution to remedy the very dire situation facing local journalism.

At this point I’m asking you to personally pick up your phone, email and communicate with your lawmakers and ask them directly to take a leadership role on this bill and sign up as an original co-sponsor.

In addition to state press associations, this bill is also supported by: News Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association, America’s Newspapers, Report for America and Rebuild Local News Coalition

Below you will find a link to a sample email containing talking points for a phone call or email that I am asking you to make/send to your Congressional representatives. You also will find the Dear Colleague email that was sent by Reps. Kirkpatrick and Newhouse to members of the House of Representatives, as well as contact information for Congressional representatives.

Dear Colleague email sent to Members of Congress by Reps. Kirkpatrick and Newhouse
Sample email that you can send to your representatives (or talking points for a phone call)
Find contact information for your Congressional representatives here

This legislation is well thought out, comprehensive and provides the bridge for journalism to achieve a stable footing in a digital reality. It will help newspapers deal with the impacts of COVID-19 … and every provision of the bill sunsets in a few years.

As you will note, this legislation drives three key stakeholders that support the ecosystem of local journalism — citizens, business owners and journalists.

We have approximately one week to get members of the House of Representatives — your congressman or woman — on board as a lead sponsor of the legislation. We need a broad group of Republicans and Democrats to support this important bill — right out of the gate — so that we can demonstrate to the Congressional leadership that this is a serious legislative endeavor.

Please do not hesitate to email or call with questions.

Thank you in advance for your efforts on this … your voice matters here as does the critical work our institutions perform.

Linda Conway, Executive Director
New England Newspaper & Press Association
(781) 281-7648

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act includes a series of three tax credits aimed at sustaining and providing a pathway to viability for the local journalism industry in the years to come. The credits are as follows:

Credit for Local Newspaper Subscriptions

A five-year non-refundable credit of up to $250 annually to incentivize individual subscriptions to local newspapers, defined as print and online publications which primarily produce content related to news and current events and which have a majority of their readership within the publication’s state of operation or within 200 miles.

The credit can cover 80% of subscription costs in the first year and 50% of subscription costs in the subsequent four years.

Payroll Credit for Compensation of Journalists

A five-year refundable credit for local newspapers (utilizing the same definition as above) to employ and adequately compensate journalists.

The credit can be up to $25,000 in the first year and $15,000 in the subsequent four years.

Credit for Advertising in Local Newspapers and Local Media

A five-year non-refundable tax credit that would incentivize small-to-medium sized businesses to advertise with local newspapers (utilizing the same definition as above), as well as local radio and television stations.

The credit can cover up to $5,000 of advertising costs in the first year and $2,500 in the subsequent four years.

Information for this article provided by America’s Newspapers.