ISSUE BRIEF: Local Journalism Sustainability Act, HR 7640

Tonda Rush

Jul 20, 2020

I hope you noticed NNA’s statement of support last week for HR 7640, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. 

NNA wants to thank its members with Wick Newspapers who were the brainpower working with original sponsor Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in devising this approach to helping local media.  Notice in this bill that there is no government agency giving the industry a handout. This bill empowers our readers and customers to support their newspaper, just as it should be.

Can we get this bill passed?  Yes, I believe it is possible, if not in this Congress, then in the 117th Congress.  I’m grateful for the opportunity that it gives us to teach Capitol Hill about the importance of community newspapers.  Having worked on federal legislation for a couple of decades with NNA, I am always stunned that so many believe either that all newspapers are dead or that digital media will make up for the loss of printed newspapers.

This bill also gives me the opportunity to remind community newspaper publishers that we have a unique ability to do this work.  NNA does not donate campaign funds to any politician. We have no political action committee.  ALL our influence comes from your willingness to take a minute to call or write your member of Congress.

I’m sending some tools to help you do that.

First is a copy of the text of the bill here.

Here also is an issue brief titled “Local Journalism Sustainability Act.”  Feel free to use it for your own talking points in a letter or phone call. Add your own talking points.  You may also pass this along to your Congressional delegation.

The other is a form letter.  I hope you don’t use it.  I hope you write your own because it will be so much better.  But I know many of us are so busy keeping our companies afloat that writing a letter is hard. So this is a fallback option.  If you can get some others to sign it with you, it will be more effective. 

Please set aside a minute this week to speak out. You can find the email addresses and phone numbers at (There is no comparable Senate bill yet.) Or contact Tonda Rush in our Washington office if you need help.

We would like to know what your Congressional delegation says in response to your request for support.