You are reading

Editorial | Save local news in New York: A message to ‘the three people in the room’

Mar. 30, 2023 Schneps Media

It’s time for the “three people in the room” traditionally responsible for working out New York’s annual budget to deliver a front-page rescue for New York state’s journalism industry.

That rescue comes in the form of the “Local Journalism Sustainability Act” (S.625/A.2958), one of the many legislative items now before Assembly Speaker Heastie, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Governor Kathy Hochul as they work to hammer out a new state budget by the April 1 deadline.

Including the act in the final state budget for this year would send a powerful message from the “three people in the room”: That local journalism matters just as much to them as it does to you, and that it must be kept as strong as possible.

Should it become law, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act would work an economic miracle for newspapers large and small across the Empire State, keeping many news operations open for business and employing thousands of journalists responsible for holding the powerful accountable, and informing the public.

In recent years, newsrooms across the Empire State have decreased in size; some have shuttered altogether. Between 2004 and 2019, according to the Rebuild Local News Coalition, the total number of New York daily newspapers declined from 62 to 54, while the number of weekly newspapers plunged from 439 to 249.

More than $150 million in tax credits would be provided over the next five years to keep the state’s local news industry afloat, saving thousands of journalism jobs in the process. By contrast, that’s just a fraction of the $700 million in filming tax credits through 2034 proposed in the very same budget plan now under consideration. 

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will strengthen and reinvigorate journalism in New York at a critical time. It will ensure that your local newspapers and websites will always be there to tell you what’s going on, what you need to know, and what you ought to know.

The fate of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act in the new state budget rests with Governor Kathy Hochul (center, at podium), Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (far left) and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (far right).Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

New York’s editors and publishers, including ourselves, are working hard to make sure the Local Journalism Sustainability Act becomes a budget fixture in New York beginning this year. Our reporting and editorials have aroused public interest, and we thank all of you who have phoned or emailed your local state senator or assembly member urging them to pass the act into law.

The fact is, we need more state legislators to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill. That’s a huge step to help ensure its passage. 

We also need to make sure that Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins understand the importance of local journalism to both them and their constituents. 

As the budget deadline nears, please do your part to help local journalists in New York by calling the offices of Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and urging them to include the Local Journalism Sustainability Act in the final budget plan!

Governor Kathy Hochul: 518-474-8390

Speaker Carl Heastie: 518-455-3791

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins: 518-455-2585

Recent News

Maspeth man charged with manslaughter in hit-and-run death of 3-year-old Flushing boy: DA

A Maspeth man was criminally charged with manslaughter in the death of a 3-year-old boy in Flushing last week, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Ton Dec. 7.

Kevin Gomez, 20, of 60th Road, is accused of hitting the child with his car and dragging him approximately 10 feet before driving away. Gomez is charged on a 14-count indictment for manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and other crimes.

“New York’s Funniest Stand-Up” with Matt Koff

Dec. 6, 2023 by Jill Carvajal

The “New York’s Funniest Stand-Up” competition recently celebrated its 15th year as part of the annual New York Comedy Festival both founded by Caroline Hirsch of Caroline’s on Broadway. New York’s Funniest and previous winners have gone on to become some of the biggest names in comedy.

CB 7 votes to approve phase two of development plan that would bring NYCFC soccer stadium, affordable housing to Willets Point

Community Board 7 (CB 7) on Dec. 4 voted overwhelmingly to approve phase two of the Willets Point Revitalization Plan that will bring 2,500 units of 100% affordable housing — the city’s biggest affordable housing community since the 1980s — a 650-seat public elementary school, a 250-room hotel and a 25,000 soccer stadium as the new home for the New York City Football Club, on what was known as the Iron Triangle across Tom Seaver Way from Citi Field.