Lawmakers want to save local news —well, TV local news


November 10, 2019

Originally published in The Riverdale Press on November 10, 2019.

Two state lawmakers have introduced a bill they say would require cable companies to produce local news, similar to how the cable provider Charter Communications operates Spectrum News.

Local news is in peril. From rampant job cuts to dwindling budgets, communities across the country are suffering from a dearth of outlets providing crucial coverage creating what’s being called “news deserts.”

The latest blow is Verizon’s shuttering of its local FiOS1 news operation Nov. 16 — and that’s enough to move a pair of state lawmakers to do something about it.

A new bill proposed by Long Island state Sen. Kevin Thomas and Westchester County Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti could require cable providers to carry local independent news. That’s because access to such news, in their view, is vital to the public health and safety of communities.

“We need an informed constituency,” Thomas said. “That’s the best way to have a healthy democracy.”

Read the full story here.