From the Poynter Report:
A bipartisan group of legislators reintroduced the Future of Local News Act Thursday. If passed, the bill would create a 13-member committee to study the state of local journalism and recommend to Congress actions to support the industry.
The bill’s co-sponsors include Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas). Legislators first introduced the bill in September.
Local newspapers have struggled for years as advertising revenue dried up and large companies and hedge funds consolidated papers. Research from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media found that the U.S. has lost more than 2,100 local print outlets since 2004, and more than half of all newspapers have changed owners in the past decade.
The bill aims to create a diverse committee of industry experts from across the country with experience in various areas including print, digital and broadcast. That committee would then have one year to research issues and solutions to the local journalism crisis before submitting a report to Congress with their findings and recommendations.
The bill has been endorsed by major journalism organizations including PEN America, the Society of Professional Journalists, Local Independent Online News Publishers and the NewsGuild.