Dean of constituencies
Ridings is Managing Director of America’s Newspapers, a national organization committed to defending and promoting the vital role of newspapers in democracy and civic life. He is based in Dallas.
I am a die-hard fan of local journalism. And as the CEO of an association representing over 1,500 newspapers, I know that local newspapers, including The Oregonian / OregonLive, have a direct and positive impact on the communities they serve. When the voice of this newspaper diminishes or disappears, the impact on the community can be devastating.
Senior Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is one of the co-sponsors of a U.S. Senate bill, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which will benefit not only Oregon newspapers, but also their subscribers and advertisers, and will help ensure newspapers remain vibrant. . As chairman of the Senate finance committee, Wyden can play a pivotal role in driving this bill. While there are many competing priorities ahead of it, this bill deserves Wyden’s unwavering support and leadership.
Newspapers are going through a significant transition as their readers have migrated online over the past decade. While many newspapers have seen their total audiences increase, the same is not true of advertising revenue. Disruptive forces have made it difficult for newspapers to maintain their newsrooms and provide their communities with the coverage they want and need.
I appreciate Wyden’s support of $ 3.6 billion last year to help states expand postal and early voting – key principles for the success of our democratic process. Local newspapers also play a crucial role, providing their audiences with information about the candidates to explain the impact of newly passed bills. They also provide information that affects the daily life of every member of the community, such as rezoning the property, sports in high school, opening or closing new businesses, and essential health information, such as where to get vaccinated.
Unlike many issues in Washington, this legislation enjoys bipartisan support and is intended to provide benefits to local communities in Oregon and the United States by supporting local news organizations, including this newspaper.
This legislation provides an important, but temporary, means of support to help newspapers in the much-needed transition to a more digital ecosystem. By this legislation, subscribers will receive a tax credit of up to $ 250 per year. It’s a win-win solution for subscribers, as this tax credit will cover a significant portion of their annual newspaper subscription, whether print or digital.
For local businesses, there is also a direct benefit. When using the efficient print and digital solutions of their local newspaper, they will be eligible for a tax credit of up to $ 5,000 for the first year and $ 2,500 per year for the next four years. Not only will this credit offset part of their advertising investment, but it will also help them improve their business by reaching more customers and generating more sales. It keeps money invested locally and helps maintain jobs and support other local initiatives.
For local newspapers, legislation provides an essential bridge to continue the evolution towards a digital-based model. Temporary newspaper tax credits will be directly linked to maintaining healthy newsrooms and employing professional journalists committed to producing local news and information.
However, for the bill to deliver these benefits to subscribers, local businesses, newspapers and the community itself, Wyden’s leadership is needed to get this bill passed. We thank the Senator for his demonstrated interest in improving our communities and thank him in advance for his support and leadership in passing the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.
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