Every community has a story | SAVE THE NEWS

American democracy depends on every citizen having easy access to credible, factual information they need to make informed decisions about their health, their safety, their government, and their everyday lives. 

But that kind of essential information is getting harder to find as the news industry is gripped by a crisis: The business model that sustained American journalism has collapsed as advertising revenue abandoned news publications in favor of a handful of technology companies. Many cities and towns have lost local news coverage entirely. At least 2,100 newspapers have folded across the U.S. since 2004, and 1,300 communities have become “news deserts.” 

But the fact that the business model for the news industry has changed doesn’t mean that the public service these news sources provide is any less important. In communities that have no newspaper, fewer people vote and the cost of their government increases. Partisanship increases with the loss of the community connection created by common sources of information.

The NewsGuild represents 16,000 American journalists, and we believe that journalists and their work are essential to a functioning democracy. We call for public policy solutions to the crisis facing the news industry that  focus not just on jobs and revenue, but on supporting the critical role of a free, independent and robust press in American life. To that end, we offer an agenda for public policy that will restore and sustain American journalism, resting on three pillars. 

More journalism jobs

Newspapers need new streams of revenue to support robust staffing. New funding, whether from taxpayer funding, subsidies or fees, must be channeled toward restoring or adding newsroom jobs — not inflating the bottom line of news companies.

More local

To save local news America needs stronger regulation of media consolidation, and incentives both for the breakup of existing media chains and the purchase of news organizations by civic-minded, local owners, including non-profits, public benefit corporations, co-ops and employee-ownership models.

More press freedom

Press freedom fundamentally stems from the ability of journalists to gather and publish the news without interference or intimidation from individuals, government or their employers. 

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"While journalists are covering the biggest story of their lives, the news industry is fighting to survive. That’s why we're fighting to #SaveTheNews to keep reporters on the streets and our communities connected."

"Furloughs, pay cuts, and layoffs are impacting tens of thousands of journalists – just when Americans need news most. Fight to #SaveTheNews."

"Journalists are at work providing life-saving information to readers, with many outlets offering COVID-19 coverage for free as a public service. It is critical for Congress to provide funding for local newsrooms and journalists. Help #SaveTheNews."

“The people who provided the money for the purchase just wanted to make sure that Nantucket continues to have its own newspaper,” Stanton said. “We’re seeing newspapers all over the country close. Small newspapers are closing or being bought, and then you’ve got towns without any independent news.”
An Alden purchase of all of Tribune doesn’t have to be a fait accompli. In fact, the threat of such a deal represents an opportunity for civic-minded local investors across the country, who could use this case to not only save a critical local news institution, but to reinvent it.
The hedge fund has a reputation for making deep cost cuts at titles it acquires, which has triggered employee efforts at several Tribune papers to find local buyers to take over the publications individually, since Alden began amassing its stake in the company in late 2019
“They fashion short-term business plans that cut newsrooms to the bone — destroying the watchdogs of our democracy,” Schleuss said. “Our thousands of members will continue to fight hedge fund ownership of local news.”
A hedge fund that owns a big stake in Tribune Publishing Co. is seeking to buy the newspaper chain behind titles including the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News.
Congressional leaders said on Sunday that lawmakers agreed to expand forgivable government loans to additional struggling local news outlets as part of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill.
Kipen started lobbying for a new Writers’ Project in opinion columns and letters to lawmakers. One US congressman—Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat—wrote back to Kipen expressing interest in the idea, and now hopes to introduce a bill in the next Congress.
The relief bill in front of Congress includes a NewsGuild-supported provision that will expand Paycheck Protection Program loans to local newsrooms across the country. “Local news is facing an extinction-level event and this is an important step to help stem the layoffs and closures of newsrooms across the country,” NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss said Monday.