Editorial

Quality local journalism is essential to creating an informed and engaged public and ensuring a thriving democracy. But local journalism has been a victim of Big Tech’s dominant practices for years.

Google and Facebook use – and benefit from – our news content and audiences, but they don’t return value to news publishers.

That’s why we’re asking Congress to support the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.” From COVID-19’s devastating blows to cities and towns of all sizes, to the reignited social justice movement and the explosive 2020 U.S. presidential election and its tumultuous aftermath, people have been turning to news publishers to remain updated on changes happening around the world – and in their own backyards.

News has been more in-demand than at any other time in recent history. But the local news publishers that provide this invaluable information are struggling in an online environment dominated by a few big tech platforms.

The system is stacked against news publishers.

Google and Facebook pay to license music and many types of content, but they have refused to fairly compensate the creators of critical journalism.

Because of this, in the last two years, we have seen at least 300 news publications close, with more than 6,000 journalists laid off.

Local news publishers want the ability to band together to fight for their future. Ironically, current antitrust laws protect Big Tech from publishers taking any organized action.

To help resolve this crisis, we are asking our members of Congress, including Rep. Mark Pocan and Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, to support the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” (also known as the Safe Harbor Bill), which would give news publishers the ability to seek fair compensation for use of their content.

We need support from every member of Congress. We hope our state representatives will agree that the quality reporting we provide for our community – and the future of all local journalism – is worth fighting for and will co-sponsor the Safe Harbor Bill today.

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