America's Newspapers joins with News Media Alliance to open dialogue for federal relief

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America’s Newspapers is joining with the News Media Alliance to start a dialogue with our top elected officials about the role the federal government can play in ensuring the survival of the vital services that local news publishers like you provide for our nation.

The coronavirus public health crisis has created a financial dilemma in our industry. I don’t have to tell you about the financial wreckage newspapers are facing. Your best advertisers are shutting down, while your staff works to provide accurate, timely — and costly — reporting about COVID-19 for your community.

News Media Alliance President and CEO David Chavern and I have explained this approach to Washington in a letter this week to President Trump, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We recounted how essential local newspapers are — and how their communities and the nation count on the information they are reporting and disseminating about COVID-19. We noted that many of our member newspapers are providing this vital reporting for free by placing it outside their paywalls. And we put it all in the context of a digital media environment that, as we write, “does not adequately reward the production and distribution of quality journalism. While that is bad in every circumstance, in the current environment it could prove fatal — both to publishers and the public,” we told these national leaders.

You can read the entire letter here.

As this approach to Washington gets underway, I will keep you informed of the actions that America’s Newspapers, as determined by the board of directors, is taking on your behalf to ensure a sustainable future for the good work you do. Please give me your thoughts on what concrete steps we can take in the coming weeks and months.

I want to thank all our members, and you personally, for the continuing and essential role newspapers perform in preserving our civic life and democracy — and now our public health, as well.

Email Dean Ridings at dridings@newspapers.org

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