WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) led a group of 10senators in introducing a resolution to support the designation of April 2022 as “Preserving Local News Month.”
The resolution recognizes local news as a public good that serves an essential function in the democracy of the United States.
“People across the country rely on local news to stay informed, fight disinformation, and strengthen their communities. As the industry faces newsroom closures and budget cuts, it’s critical that we all support and recognize the irreplaceable public service local news provides,” Schatz said.
According to recent research, the overall employment in newspaper, television, radio, and digital newsrooms in the U.S. fell by 26%, or 30,000 jobs, from 2008-2020.
More than 100 local newsrooms were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 30% of local television stations reporting budget cuts and staff reductions.
The resolution affirms the significance of local news in increasing civic engagement and strengthening democratic norms and practices, and acknowledges the valuable contributions of local journalism towards the maintenance of healthy and vibrant communities.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
It has been endorsed by the Alliance for Community Media, California Black Media, Common Cause, Free Press Action, National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), Online News Association, PEN America, Public Knowledge, Society of Professional Journalists, Theatre Communications Group, Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry, National Newspaper Association, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, The NewsGuild – Communications Workers of America (TNG-CWA), and National Writers Union.
Schatz previously led efforts in the Senate to strengthen local news.
Last year, he reintroduced the Future of Local News Act, legislation which would create a committee to study the state of local journalism and offer recommendations to Congress on the actions it can take to best support local news organizations.
Source: The Garden Island