Journalism Competition & Preservation Act needs support as bill’s mark-up nears

JCPA NEWSROOM REPORT – April 29, 2021

An update on the importance of local journalism, the threat posed by Google and Facebook, and how you can take action to support the JCPA

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Founder and president of the Internet Accountability Project (IAP) Mike Davis penned an opinion piece for The Daily Caller, urging more Republicans to support the JCPA.
    • Key Quote: The JCPA is a “crucial first step to restoring fairness because it will ensure that independent sources of news — from across the political spectrum — will not be suffocated by Big Tech’s neo-robber barons.”
    • Why It Matters: The commentary from Davis, a prominent conservative voice, is a testament to the bipartisan nature of concerns over Big Tech’s monopoly.
  • In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Microsoft President Brad Smith said Google has “hurt the concept of the open web and impaired content creators’ ability to make money.”
    • Key Quote: “What Google has fundamentally done is redesigned and re-engineered the web so that if you want to make money from content based on advertising, you have to do it through their exchange, by using their tools and paying money to, and through Google. […] When you see the impact on local news, what you’re seeing is a threat to democracy itself.”
    • Why It Matters: Smith’s comments – which came as Google reported a total ad revenue of $44.68 billion on Tuesday – echo those from earlier this year over whether internet companies need to pay news organizations for content they reshare. Smith appeared before Congress to voice support for the JCPA in March.
  • In Australia, regional newspapers have been given interim authorization to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payments to publishers for their news content that appears on the platforms, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
    • Why It Matters: The announcement signals the next step in Australia’s ongoing regulation saga, a sign of what may be to come in the United States should the JCPA advance successfully.
    • What’s More: On Thursday, the Columbia Journalism Review said that “new initiatives stemming from the regulatory approach in Australia leave an open question on how platforms should play a role in the future of sustainable journalism,” asking, “Is the deliberate tying together of the fortunes of newsrooms and publishers with those of Google and Facebook actually counterproductive?”
  • Facebook said on Thursday that it will give $5 million to pay local journalists in multi-year deals as part of its new publishing platform to help independent writers attract an audience and make money.
    • Why It Matters: News of Facebook’s program comes one day after it reported $25.44 billion in ad revenue and amid increasing scrutiny from regulators around the world for its role in draining revenue from local newsrooms.
    • Read More: From Reuters.
  • In an op-ed for America Magazine, published by the Jesuits of the United States,  former Wall Street Journal reporter John W. Miller describes Google and Facebook as “dark clouds hovering over the promising [future of journalism].”
    • What’s New: Miller makes the case for the importance of journalism from an interesting angle: religion. He says, “For anybody who cares about the dignity of every human and the prosperity of local communities as espoused by Catholic social teaching, the stakes are enormous.”

 

JCPA / NMA NEWS

 

NOTABLE ON SOCIAL

  • Ken Buck @BuckForColorado – April 28, 2021 (7.7K followers): The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act is just one antitrust solution to the Big Tech problem. It is time for fair-minded conservatives to step up to the plate and stop Big Tech’s abuses before it is too late. -@mrddmia https://t.co/AkQvxLsuLc
    • Retweets: 5; Likes: 8
  • Internet Accountability Project (IAP) @The_IAP – April 28, 2021 (7K followers): Must read from @mrddmia on @RepKenBuck’s Journalism Competition and Preservation Act: “It is time for fair-minded conservatives to step up to the plate and stop #BigTech’s abuses before it is too late.” https://t.co/smf7JVP2QU
    • Retweets: 5; Likes: 9
  • Josh Hammer @josh_hammer – April 28, 2021 (69.1K followers): “The time for defending Big Tech practices is over—now is a time for action. …Conservatives should feel compelled to craft legislation to restore balanced markets for the free flow of ideas.” – @mrddmia https://t.co/AkQvxLsuLc
    • Retweets: 14; Likes: 28
  • Sara Fischer @sarafischer – April 29, 2021 (30K followers): Facebook is committing $5 million to support local journalists interested in starting or continuing their work on its new independent writers platform: https://facebook.com/journalismproj..
    • Retweets: 2; Likes: 8
  • Steve Cavendish @scavendish – April 29, 2021 (7.4K followers): This is like Substack devoting some dollars to local journalism. $5 million against billions lost from local news is nothing. If Facebook devoted $5 billion, it would be newsworthy (and considering their last quarter, they can afford it). It’s a press release.
    • Retweets: 2; Likes: 8
  • Aron Pilhofer @pilhofer – April 29, 2021 (19.6K followers): With respect, the absolute peak for print advertising shown here is at least 15 years before Facebook and Google became dominant players in digital advertising. We can blame the platforms for a lot of things, but killing print isn’t one of them. This narrative has to stop. https://t.co/F67Cisq00U
    • Retweets: 59; Quote Tweets: 8; Likes: 89

 

SUGGESTED ACTION STEPS

  • Recommended Social Posts:
    • “JCPA is a crucial first step to restoring fairness because it will ensure that independent sources of news — from across the political spectrum — will not be suffocated by Big Tech’s neo-robber barons.” – @mrddmia discussing the importance of legislation to rein in Big Tech’s power over local journalism. https://bit.ly/3u4xAYy
    • .@Microsoft’s @BradSmi says Google has drained revenue from local newsrooms – and he’s right: “When you see the impact on local news, what you’re seeing is a threat to democracy itself.” https://bloom.bg/3gPcTfe
  • Contact Your Member of Congress:
    • Consider sending a letter to your member of Congress encouraging them to support the JCPA because it will level the playing field with the dominant tech companies and give news publishers of all sizes – especially small, local publishers – a chance to get the compensation they deserve from the dominant tech platforms. Click here to download the sample letter or write your own. Please send by Sunday, May 9, for the best result.
  • Run News Media Alliance Ads:
    • The Alliance has produced print and digital ads for news publishers to run in their editions encouraging readers to support local journalism by co-sponsoring the JCPA. Click here to download and run the print and digital ads from April 26 – May 9.
  • Join the “Future of News” Conference:
    • On June 10, the Financial Times will host a digital conference called “Future of News: On the road to recovery?” Alliance members can register and get a special discount here. Explore the agenda here, which features speakers like White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims.

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