DEAN RIDINGS: Supporting local means supporting local newspapers | Notice
As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, there is a sense of relief and optimism that things will return to normal. The long-awaited family reunions, birthdays and graduation ceremonies are finally happening in person. Sporting events have fans in the stands, airports are busy and we are all recovering those elements of life that we missed last year.
However, with that optimism lies the reality of the impact of the pandemic on local communities. Local businesses that have struggled in the past year, if they have been able to stay in business, are still trying to recover and recoup the lost revenue. These local restaurants, shops and services are vital to our economy and provide valuable jobs and important resources. Whenever you can, buy local and eat local.
You can add your local newspapers to businesses that need your support. During the pandemic, newspapers provided the essential information needed to protect the health and safety of their readers. And that level of engagement continued with the most relevant information about vaccines and plans to get schools back to normal in the fall.
The importance of local newspapers goes far beyond the pandemic. Local newspapers cover the issues most important to their communities. From crime to local schools to local government, readers can count on their newspaper to deliver the latest news that will directly impact them. Without vibrant newspapers, towns and villages across the country would surely suffer.
Newspapers were hit hard during the pandemic, as were other businesses. Advertising revenues, already in decline, have fallen sharply. As more and more readers turned to newspapers and their websites for information, it didn’t generate enough additional revenue to close the gap. The result is that newspapers need your support more than ever.
Fortunately, the importance of newspapers is recognized in Washington. Legislation has been introduced to help protect newspapers from the business tactics of big tech companies that often use newspaper content without compensation. On June 16, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act was touted as a bipartisan effort to recognize and protect local newspapers and journalists who provide valuable content.
The LJSA is different from other bills in that it provides benefits to readers and advertisers who support newspapers. Subscribers will be able to get a tax credit for their subscription, local businesses will be able to get tax credits for advertising in newspapers and other local media, and newspapers will receive tax credits for their room workers. writing.
These legislative efforts deserve your support and that of your government officials. Contact your representative in Congress and ask them to co-sponsor and support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act which ensures that newspapers continue to serve their readers and advertisers.
And, as you shop and eat local, we encourage you to keep reading local and subscribe to your local newspaper. Supporting your newspaper is one of the best things you can do to directly strengthen your community.
Dean Ridings is CEO of America’s Newspapers, an organization committed to explaining, defending and promoting the vital role of newspapers in democracy and civic life. Learn more at www.newspapers.org.