Newspapers need new streams of revenue to support robust staffing. New funding, whether from taxpayer funding, subsidies or fees, must be channeled toward restoring or adding newsroom jobs— not inflating the bottom line of news companies.
The Guild supports the following policy solutions to increase support for journalism and newsroom staffing:
- Creation of a publicly-funded entity that would provide funding for public affairs journalism at newspapers, websites and digital news start-ups, including support for purchasing existing news organizations by local, civic-minded ownership groups. This entity needs to be free from political interference.
- This entity needs a dedicated stream of revenue to preserve the independence of any news organization receiving the funds. An annual or biennial appropriation politicizes the vitally important public service provided by news organizations.
- This entity must be independent from partisan political influence
- The Guild supports funding streams that include revenue generated from taxation on digital advertising.
- The Guild supports additional revenue streams, including tax credits for readers and more government advertising directed to local news outlets; however, this revenue must be tied to increasing and sustaining newsroom jobs.
- A priority must be placed on retaining the jobs of journalists of color and retaining and creating more jobs in underserved communities, to maintain coverage of traditionally marginalized groups.
Since 2008, the total number of working journalists across the United States has fallen by 25%, including more than half of all newspaper jobs — that’s 36,000 fewer reporters, photographers, editors and other newsroom roles. Most of these losses were at local newspapers, far from national media centers, meaning small-town America is being cut off from daily coverage of tens of thousands of school boards, city councils and local events. Digital-only companies and nonprofit news organizations have added only about 9,000 jobs during the last decade-plus, most of them clustered around larger cities that already have relatively strong news ecosystems.
There is no journalism without journalists. The news and information that all communities need, basic coverage of the daily events and issues, investigative and analytical reports, cannot be done by a “ghost newsroom” with just a handful of reporters.