THE NEWSGUILD LAUNCHES ‘SAVE THE NEWS’ ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN

THE NEWSGUILD LAUNCHES ‘SAVE THE NEWS’ ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, The NewsGuild is launching a new advocacy campaign, Save The News, to make the case for why local newsrooms must be included in future federal recovery efforts to support essential industries.

Although journalists are covering the biggest story of their lives, the news industry is fighting to survive. Local news outlets have been damaged for years by tech giants siphoning away advertising revenue and private equity ownership groups hollowing out the industry with extreme cost-cutting measures.

Since 2004, the U.S. has lost approximately 1,800 newspapers, many of them small papers outside of major cities. Each of these losses hurts Americans deeply, taking away the important functions local news plays in their lives. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the devastation of the local news industry. Advertising revenue has dried up as businesses are shuttered to combat the virus. This has led to layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts for tens of thousands of journalists. At the same time, readers are turning to local news outlets in record numbers in search of accurate, up-to-the-minute information about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their communities. Those journalists who remain have been hard at work providing life-saving public health information to readers, with many outlets offering their COVID-19 coverage for free as a public service despite financial strains.

The campaign calls for recovery measures that will keep reporters on the streets, ad representatives working the phones, digital production staff posting online, pressmen churning out papers, and drivers delivering them to readers’ doors.

More specifically, the campaign is demanding that Congress support local news through three different approaches: direct grants to workers, inclusion in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which many local news outlets are not eligible for because they are owned by larger news companies, and direct federal spending on community outreach advertising to local newspapers to replace lost revenue. More details on these policy approaches are available here.

“I am humbled to see so many members of our industry unite under one cause: protecting local journalism,” said NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss. “Americans need access to information about their local communities more than ever, and yet layoffs and furloughs are only increasing as this pandemic continues. Congress needs to act to save the news before it’s too late.”

With momentum growing behind efforts to tackle this challenge on Capitol Hill, The NewsGuild is ready to take action to Save The News for communities across the country.

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About The NewsGuild: The NewsGuild-CWA is the largest union of journalists and other communications professionals in North America, representing more than more than 24,000 workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. It is a sector of the Communications Workers of America, which represents working men and women in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, and manufacturing. 

Contact: Sally Davidow at (202)-368-3324