DelBene, Tenney Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Community News Institutions, Small Businesses
Today, Congresswomen Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Claudia Tenney (NY-24) introduced the Community News and Small Business Support Act, bipartisan legislation that would support jobs in local newsrooms, strengthen small businesses, and increase access to hometown information.
While local newspapers are a cornerstone of many communities, they are on the decline nationwide. Since 2004, while the U.S. population grew, the number of newsroom employees has dropped by 57%. On average, two newsrooms are shutting down each week in the U.S. Local newspapers contribute to our communities by uncovering government corruption, limiting polarization, and increasing involvement in civic organizations.
“In today’s digital world, access to trustworthy and reliable news is more important than ever. Local journalists and newspapers play a critical role in increasing involvement in civic institutions, identifying government corruption, and decreasing polarization. Yet, this industry is struggling more than ever to keep the lights on,” said DelBene. “The legislation we are introducing today would provide much-needed support for newspapers so local journalists can continue their invaluable work.”
“As the former owner and publisher of the Mid-York Weekly, a local weekly newspaper, I understand how essential it is to support local news organization and provide our communities with locally-sourced news,” said Tenney. “The Community News and Small Business Support Act ensures that local news organizations can continue to deliver vital news stories that matter most to our communities while allowing for our small businesses to grow and our communities to stay informed. I am thrilled to introduce this bill alongside Congresswoman DelBene and will continue to advocate for local news organizations and small businesses."
The legislation would support hometown news organizations by providing resources to employ journalists and would help small businesses to market themselves with their local media organizations. National news outlets are not eligible for this support and the bill sunsets in five years.
“Thank you to Congresswoman DelBene and Congresswoman Tenney for their dedication to both local news and small businesses,” said Dean Ridings, CEO of America’s Newspapers. “When America’s newspapers began leading the call for federal legislation to support the local news industry, we could not have imagined having such strong congressional advocates, from both sides of the aisle, in our corner. In addition to the congresswomen, we would also like to thank all of the organizations that have supported America’s Newspapers in these efforts, including the National Newspaper Association, the News Media Alliance, the Rebuild Local News Coalition, dozens of state press associations, and more.”