The Denver Post
Support JCPA to save local journalism
Since America’s founding, newspapers have played a vital role in keeping the public informed about what’s going on in the world.
Democracy depends on a reliable and shared set of facts in order for the public to exercise control over government and determine its future.
As we have seen all too clearly in recent years, that shared set of facts is increasingly elusive as the primary means by which news and information is delivered has shifted from publishers that gather and report the news to platforms that have built lucrative business models on other people’s content.
As an ever- increasing share of all advertising flows into the coffers of search and social media behemoths, little is left to support local news gathering, facts become scarce and propaganda prevails.
Professional news gathering is expensive, and while we are accustomed to free content from the likes of Google and Facebook, those companies are only able to provide content for free because they don’t have to pay for it.
They do, however, make plenty of money from it: According to the California News Publishers Association, “for every dollar made in digital advertising,” Big Tech companies “take as much as 70% of the revenue, leaving publishers with a scant 30%.”
That’s not only unfair; it’s untenable. While newspapers starve, communities are deprived of access to professionally vetted and reported information, disinformation proliferates and corruption blooms. When you scale that up, that leaves the nation with countless millions of people forced to seek information from increasingly partisan and unreliable alternative sources.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, a bipartisan bill making its way through Congress, will help newspapers better fulfill their mission of providing news and information to the public, holding the powerful to account and ensuring government serves the people.
The bill would allow news organizations to band together to negotiate with Big Tech companies for fair compensation for use of news content in search and on social media. Similar laws have been passed in Australia, Canada and Europe.
In the United States, this has the potential of bringing billions of dollars back into newsrooms across the country, enabling the strengthening of local reporting and access to reliable, professionally produced information in communities across the country. The JCPA is expected to go before the House Judiciary Committee later this month. We strongly urge our local congressional delegation to support the JCPA on its pathway to becoming law.
Support local journalism.