“I was disturbed to see blatant attacks on our press freedom over the weekend. From Fox News to MSNBC, from Minneapolis to Louisville, journalists were among those singled out for simply doing their job — covering protests following the death of George Floyd. Attacks against members of the press, violence against black communities and brutality against peaceful protesters have no place in our democracy,” said NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss.
Now more than ever Americans rely upon the availability of local news reporting during times of crisis. It should be no surprise that, like all small businesses across our country, local news organizations are suffering the same economic uncertainty and challenges. Our country was founded on the need for a robust and free press.
Despite being honored, all three newspapers have had to cut pay, or lay off or furlough workers, since the pandemic started. Unlike the case with many other businesses that are suffering now, however, COVID-19 isn’t the source of these papers’ problems; it has simply accelerated the great disruption in the news business that began at least two decades ago.
Check out the #SaveTheNews hashtag on Twitter. This week local journalists are spotlighting the work that shows how essential they are, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. The hashtag is part of a new NewsGuild campaign to convince Congress to include relief $$$ for the news industry in the next Covid-19 stimulus package.
“And when you lose a small daily or a weekly, you lose the journalist who was gonna show up at your school board meeting, your planning board meeting, your county commissioner meeting,” she said. Communities lose transparency and accountability. Then, she said, research shows that taxes go up and voter participation goes down.
Many local news outlets, like newspapers and tv and radio stations, are suffering financially during the pandemic, but there is an effort to get local media some financial relief in the form of a legislative aid package. Helping lead the effort to convince lawmakers the assistance is vital is NewsGuild President Jon Schluess, who is both a former Arkansas resident and voice on KUAF.
The NewsGuild-CWA, the largest union for journalists in North America, on Monday launched a new advocacy campaign to compel Congress to assist local news organizations financially harmed by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
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. L