An international group has proposed a “New Deal” for journalism.
This would entail supporting private sector news media through “indirect forms of support, such as tax exemptions, direct support specifically tied to investment in professional journalism and structured to prioritize local media and media serving minorities, and supporting innovation, without tying these forms of support to increasingly marginal forms of distribution like print,” writes Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
Her comments appeared in “A New Deal for Journalism,” a paper by the Working Group For the Sustainability Of Journalism.”
The group argues that independent journalism is headed for a “potential extinction event.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the sustainability crisis of journalism and accelerated the impact of these still unsolved systemic issues,” adds Nielsen, who chairs the working group that developed the paper.
In addition to the suggestions listed above, the group recommends:
"Supporting public service media with a clear remit and ability to serve the public across all media, not just broadcasting, and strong insulation from political pressure to ensure their editorial independence from government.
"Supporting the creation of nonprofit news media by easing the creation of journalistic nonprofit organizations.
"Supporting independent news media globally by committing at least some official development assistance to journalism in other countries, whether done bilaterally or through joint vehicles."
"None of these policies is a silver bullet, but they can all make a difference for the better, as long as they are deployed within a framework of fundamental rights and respect for free expression and media freedom (otherwise they can quickly turn into instruments for state capture)," Nielsen states.
In one possible approach, U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, (D-Arizona), and Dan Newhouse, (R-Washington) have introduced a bill called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. The bipartisan measure would provide tax credits to local newspapers, subscribers and advertisers.