It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit our state and our communities hard. As your local newspaper, we are working to provide coverage of this pandemic along with the rest of our local news gathering.
But like many businesses big and small in Seminole County, the Donalsonville News is not immune to the financial fallout resulting from the pandemic.
The United States Congress has responded to these tough times by offering multiple emergency relief measures that include stimulus checks being sent directly to individuals, payroll protections for small businesses and expanded unemployment benefits. Now it has the opportunity to pass the following relief measure that directly helps local newspapers.
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act would help protect your access to local news while also helping grow local businesses through ads placed in the local media and rewarding those who subscribe to the Donalsonville News and other local newspapers like it.
Newspapers are facing significant fiscal challenges due to the pandemic and to technological disruption, including Google’s and Facebook’s use of newspapers’ content without compensation. The act, introduced July 16, is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat from Arizona, and Dan Newhouse, a Republican from Washington state. That bipartisan support is telling of the importance local newspapers have across the country.
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act would help the Donalsonville News, and community newspapers in every state, as well as those who read them and advertise in them in the following ways:
It would provide a credit to advertisers
who place their ads in local newspapers.
Businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees would be eligible for a five-year non-refundable tax credit to spend on advertising in local newspapers or local radio or television stations.
The credit, up to $5,000 in the first year and $2,500 in each of the next four years, would cover 80% of advertising costs in the first year and 50% annually thereafter. This provision helps local businesses as well as local media companies.
It would provide a credit
for local newspaper subscriptions.
The act provides for a non-refundable tax credit of up to $250 per year to help cover the costs of subscriptions to local newspapers, in print or digital form, that primarily produce content related to news and current events.
The credit would cover 80% of subscription costs in the first year, and 50% thereafter and would help consumers while incentivizing support of local news organizations.
It would give a payroll credit for journalists.
This five-year refundable tax credit could be used by local newspapers on compensation of its journalists up to $50,000 a year.
The credit would cover 50% of compensation, up to $50,000, in the first year and 30% of compensation, up to $50,000, in each of the subsequent four years. This provision would go a long way toward ensuring that communities keep their local news coverage in place and healthy.
The Donalsonville News Editor David Maxwell commented, “Local journalism is my calling, but it’s also an important element of our community. Your hometown newspaper is proud to serve its subscribers, newsstand buyers, and advertisers with a quality product providing up-to-date coverage of local news, community events, sports, and all of the big events in the lives of our friends and neighbors who also call this place home. Quite frankly, I want to continue doing that for a long time to come – which is why I am asking for your support by calling on members of Congress to support this legislation.”
Residents in Southwest Georgia and throughout Georgia’s Second Congressional District can reach Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, by phone at 229-439-8067 or 202-225-3631, by Fax at 202-225-2203, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Its passage would be an important step in helping small businesses in our community, including the Donalsonville News, survive and thrive in our new-normal world.
Comments and impressions are welcomed and requested at email@example.com