The pandemic devastated newsrooms. Now they’re seeking help from Congress.

“One of the concerns and one of the realities for us probably is that however compensation is going to be directed, the media with the larger audiences will get a larger share of the compensation,” Rush said.

The NewsGuild, a union representing more than 25,000 journalists, also is watching the bill. But the union refuses to support it until language is added to ensure that at least 60% of any additional revenue earned is tied to jobs, NewsGuild president Jon Schleuss said.

The issue, Schleuss said, is that the journalism industry is seeing increasing consolidation, and many financial actors do not care about investing in local news. If the bill passes as is, news companies would not have a legal obligation to use money they earn to keep local journalists employed.

“Whatever added revenue needs to be tied to jobs,” Schleuss said. “It can’t go to executive compensation. We can’t have stock buybacks, we can’t have dividends. It needs to go to jobs.”

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