The time to support local journalism is now



A few short weeks ago, we told you about the newly-formed Empire State Local News Coalition. The Herald is proud to be a member of this fast-growing group of more than 150 New York local news outlets that have joined forces to protect local journalism across the state.

The work of our coalition has raised awareness of the importance of local journalism as well as the challenges facing the local news industry. (New York has lost half of its newsrooms since 2004.) We are grateful to communities across the state who have united behind us.

In just the past month, we rallied in Westchester County, where locals were stunned by the abrupt closure of three community newspapers. We went directly to Albany to appeal to lawmakers, and where we also rallied with elected officials from both the state senate and Assembly.

Numerous localities have adopted resolutions expressing their support for legislation that would support local journalism, and more municipal resolutions are in the pipeline. Even unconventional allies like Microsoft have joined our calls to save local news.

Thanks to these collective efforts, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act — which would provide tax credits to local news organizations for retaining and creating newsroom jobs — was included in the state Senate’s recent budget proposal for fiscal year 2025. This is a key step for inclusion in the state’s final budget, which is currently being negotiated by the senate, Assembly and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

However, there is a lot of work to be done over the next few days — when the final budget will likely be announced — to ensure the bill is actually included in the state’s final budget. It is crucial that the Local Journalism Sustainability Act is included, otherwise, communities throughout the state risk thousands of newsroom jobs being lost — and even more important, stories going untold.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal with the bipartisan support of Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner and more than 70 co-sponsors. As newspapers shutter and layoffs roil the industry, the bill is a necessary measure for incentivizing job creation, returning reporters to many of the state’s emptying newsrooms.

The bill is content-neutral and designed to ensure that truly local news outlets will receive this assistance.

The leadership of the legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus has also endorsed our bill, which is a major testament to the fact that this bill will improve access to news for all communities.

New York residents are standing with local news, and now lawmakers must answer the people’s call to save community journalism. To get the Local Journalism Sustainability Act across the finish line, lawmakers must hear from you about why our newspaper matters, and why this bill is meaningful to you and your family.

So, if keeping local news alive in our state is important to you, please reach out to Gov. Hochul and your local representatives to let them know you stand with local news.

Budget negotiations are wrapping up imminently — the time to act is now!