Executives from seven newspaper companies lobbied Capitol Hill yesterday to urge Congress to pass the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act,” a bill that fights the dominance of tech companies like Google and Facebook in the digital content business.
Reports show the duopoly is taking 60% of digital ad revenue, contributing to the decline of the ad-supported newspaper business model and the closure of newspapers nationwide.
Publishing executives from Gannett, Los Angeles Times, Star Tribune, News Corp, Philadelphia Inquirer, Charleston’s Post & Courier and Tribune Publishing gathered to meet with senators and representatives to encourage their support of the News Media Alliance's anti-trust safe harbor bill.
The bill — originally introduced earlier this year — would allow newspapers to work together to negotiate with tech platforms “for better business arrangements,” according to the News Media Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 news organizations in the U.S.
“Our members are coming to Washington, D.C. to advocate for this bill because they believe, as we do, that it is the best solution to correcting the imbalance in the competitive landscape,” stated News Media Alliance president-CEO David Chavern. “The platforms currently benefit from using our content without paying for it. We are hopeful that, with our members’ support, we can put an end to that and get this legislation passed in this Congress.”
He added: “Fair compensation for use of news content — from which the tech platforms benefit financially — will allow news publishers to continue to reinvest in quality journalism."
Tech companies argue they have launched a number of programs to support the newspaper industry, such as Facebook’s Journalism Project and Google’s News Initiative.
Co-sponsors of the House bill are Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) and Antitrust Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI). Co-sponsors of the Senate bill are Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.