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How Congress could intervene to aid struggling local news outlets

Helping local news
Federal and state governments introduce bills to help local news 04:56

"It is truly local news that reports on the issues that people face in their everyday lives," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the start of a hearing held by the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights earlier this month.

Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, are two key cosponsors of a bipartisan bill called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2021

The draft law resembles an approach taken by Australia and some European countries that seeks to give content creators a share of the ad-revenue swallowed by large tech companies including Google and Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

The antitrust legislation is one of multiple bills that have been introduced at the federal and state level aimed to help ailing local news organizations.

Another proposal, the Local News Sustainability Act would use tax credits to incentivize companies to advertise with, and people to subscribe to, local news outlets. It also includes a payroll tax deduction to support reporter salaries. Portions of the proposed act were included in the Build Back Better bill that passed the in the U.S. House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate.

Similar bills have been introduced by state legislatures in New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, by both Democrats and Republicans.  

The latest government efforts are meant to help a newspaper industry that the Pew Research Center estimates has seen a 50% drop in weekday readership and a 57% decrease in newsroom jobs 

This Sunday on 60 Minutes, correspondent Jon Wertheim reported on another threat to local newspapers, financial firms that have bought newspapers across the country and gutted newsrooms. You can watch Wertheim's report below.

"An attack on our democracy": Financial firms gutting some local newsrooms 13:28

The video above was produced by Keith Zubrow and Sarah Shafer Prediger. It was edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.

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