WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to the passage by the House of Representatives of the Build Back Better reconciliation package that includes provisions in the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, both the National Association of Broadcasters and the LPTV Broadcasters Association issued statements applauding the vote.
“The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will provide meaningful incentives for local broadcast stations to hire and retain the newsgatherers who keep our communities informed, connected and engaged,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “Local broadcast news is consistently ranked among the most trusted sources of news and information, and this bill would allow radio and television stations to employ additional journalists to report on the events, issues and emergencies affecting our nation.”
The LPTV Broadcasters Association also issued statements from Frank Copsidas, founder and president of the association and Michael Lees, executive director, supporting the passage.
“We have actively supported the Local Journalism Sustainability Act from the beginning and the principle of investing to maintain and develop trusted local community news coverage,” said Lee. “The payroll tax credit should mean that is straightforward to implement, benefit from and track.”
The legislation must still be passed by the Senate.
Introduced earlier this year by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA) is currently sponsored by 16 senators, including Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Catherine Cortz Masto (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Edward Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
The legislation would support local news production by television and radio broadcasters, as well as certain print and digital publications, by making a tax credit available for the hiring and retention of up to 1,500 local news journalists per company each year over five years.
A broadcaster would qualify by owning or operating a broadcast station and employing local news journalists who work no less than 30 hours per week engaging in activities related to developing and providing local news to the community. The local news journalist must also reside within 50 miles of the station’s local community.
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