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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Opinion

Issuance of non-profit status could save local newspapers


It’s hard to imagine a future without newspapers, and one governing official doesn’t want to see that futur become a reality.

On Tuesday, Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) proposed the Newspaper Revitalization Act.

‘As local papers are closing, we are losing a valuable tradition in America – critically important to our communities, critically important to our democracy,’ the senator said Tuesday on the Senate floor.

Cardin’s bill would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies, according to Reuters.

With last week’s reports that major newspapers such as The New York Time and Washington Post are downsizing, some have called the Newspaper Revitalization Act a ‘newspaper bailout.’

The bill, however, is specific in which publications it will assist – small presses that service local communities.

‘This is not going to be an option available (for large commercial papers) that want to make profit, that want to do commercials, that want to make endorsements of candidates,’ Cardin said.

This final stipulation requiring non-profit newspapers to forsake official endorsements, has caused quite of a stir among champions of freedom of the press, some of whom say if the press begins to dip into the government’s pockets, it will eventually lead to lack of neutrality and the infringement of freedom of speech.

But consider the British Broadcast Corp.: The BBC acquires the vast majority of its funds through the British government, and yet there is arguably no publication more critical of the U.K. than the BBC.

The Newspaper Revitalization Act could save local reporting and strengthen small communities. While non-profit status would mean no endorsements, the newspapers would still be allowed to cover election stories as they see fit. Losing the small business altogether would be a worse fate than losing the endorsement opportunities.


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