On the Record to Save Local Reporting

New York State Senator Monica R. Martinez discusses the importance of saving community journalism during a press conference held in Albany.

New York State Senator Monica R. Martinez discusses the importance of saving community journalism during the “Local Journalism Sustainability Act” press conference held on March 20, 2024 in Albany.

Senator Martinez joins effort to provide tax assistance to preserve community journalism and jobs

Journalists who have been looking for something good to report on may soon be able to turn the lens on themselves as the New York State Senate advances tax credits to local news outlets for the employment of community-oriented news journalists in its One-House budget proposal.

If included in the 2024 New York State budget, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and co-sponsored by Senator Monica R. Martinez, would provide news organizations with a 50% refundable tax credit against the first $50,000 of each newsroom employee's salary, up to $200,000 per outlet.  This benefit would be limited to print and online newspapers and broadcasters with 100 employees or fewer that cover local community news.

"Local journalists tell the stories of America's communities," said Senator Martinez.  "They highlight the achievements of our neighbors, the successes of our school teams, and the efforts of our public officials.  Unfortunately, with the contraction of local media over the past decade, these stories are being lost, and in their absence, misunderstanding and mistrust have taken hold.  These narratives unite us, and without them, we will continue to drift further apart."

According to a study issued by the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, an average of 2.5 local newspapers per week ceased operations in 2023.  This has resulted in over half of all U.S. counties now having limited access to reliable local news, and more than 200 counties are considered "news deserts."  In New York State, that decline has been even more pronounced, with 190 weekly newspapers closing down since 2004 in this, the media capital of the world.

Pew Research Center findings also support this trend, with its reporting stating that the share of U.S. adults following the news closely has been in decline, resulting in shrinking audiences for several older types of news media, such as local TV stations, most newspapers, and public radio.

The 2024 New York State budget plan, which may include the Senate's recommended inclusion of this credit, is due by April 1st. 

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