Rebuild Local News, a coalition group, proposed a dramatic tax-based solution to the problem of disappearing local journalism, which is having significant social and political consequences, according to Near Media co-founder Greg Sterling.
Turns out the art of news is dwindling. Since 2004, 2,100 newspapers have closed. Some 1,800 communities that had at least one newspaper now have none. No wonder why Google is pouring millions into supporting local news. The company also dedicated $15 million in August 2022 to run a digital and print campaign to run with local news media.
“According to the Columbia Journalism Review, ‘on average, two newspapers are shuttering each week,’” Sterling wrote.
The groups came together, representing more than 3,000 local newspapers, formed this coalition represent rural weeklies and historic Black newspapers, for-profits and nonprofits, publishers and labor unions, and many others.
The Coalition also includes new nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Microsoft is the only for-profit backer, according to Axios. Steven Waldman, a local news advocate, is leading the coalition.
Sterling also points to a proposed $250 tax credit by the organization for consumers to subscribe and donate to local news, a tax credit for small-and-medium-size businesses (SMBs) to advertise in local media and a credit for hiring and retention of journalists.
Here’s the rest of it: The advertising tax credit would provide up to $5,000 "in the first year and up to $2,500 in each of the subsequent four years to spend on advertising with local newspapers and local media." Any business with fewer than 1,000 employees, which is 99%+, would be eligible. Local media is defined as publishers with a majority local audience.
Sterling believes this is a better plan than asking Google and Facebook to subsidize news.
“It's unclear how much Congressional support exists for this initiative, though the bill has bi-partisan support and is content-neutral,” he wrote in a post. “A $5K tax credit for local ads would shake up local digital advertising. But publishers would need to focus ‘primarily’ on local news.”
Daniel Greenfield said it best: "Local papers aren’t really local...they’re turning into non-profits owned by lefty tycoons like Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos. If the local paper is just going to consist of recycled talking points from the Washington Post or the New York Times, then who needs the “local” paper? Local communities don’t. That’s why they’re dying...
Of the 100 largest papers in the country, only 2 endorsed Trump in 2016. Only 6 papers endorsed Trump across the country. It’s telling that “local” newspapers wouldn’t support a candidate that local communities voted for. How representative are local papers when 62 million people voted for a presidential candidate who went on to win the election that only 6 papers endorsed? Who are those papers really representing? Why would any of those 62 million people bother reading newspapers that have nothing to say them?...
The media groups hollowed out local papers. A single dominant local paper with national standing because of its role in a media group often functioned as a virtual monopoly for a particular area...They were local chapters of a national influence operation with a bad business model. That’s why the media is upset at the decline and fall of the corporations that controlled local news...Partisan civic institutions are neither civic nor institutions. They’re the propaganda operations of a political faction which are maintained with money diverted from taxpayers and with funding from wealthy interests connected to that faction...
The Left launched its bid for power by hijacking institutions and, in doing so, destroying their legitimacy. Hijacking institutions allows radicals to temporarily wield their power at the cost of crashing the plane. That’s how the institutional legitimacy of academia, the media, and the entertainment industry died. America is not divided because local newspapers are dying. They’re dying because they’re on one side of the divide.
Local papers were once local. When they went national, they stopped being civic institutions. The lack of endorsements for Trump and the lack of political diversity are symptoms of the problem...Trying to subsidize them as non-profits with tech money from Silicon Valley, as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon are doing, won’t change that."
source: Local Newspapers Are Dying Because They Don’t Represent America