U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn) have introduced the Preserving Readership and Information of Newspapers for Tomorrow (PRINT) Act, which would include the cost of print production of local print media in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Currently, local media is eligible for the PPP, but printing costs are not forgivable under the program guidelines.
“A free press is critical to our democracy,” said Johnson. “Our local news teams work day in and day out to keep South Dakotans informed of what’s happening both locally and nationally. Unfortunately, local media hasn’t been immune from the financial impact of COVID-19. A slowdown of advertisements and subsequent layoffs continue to threaten our ability to maintain a free press, the PRINT Act will help alleviate some of the burden our print shops are facing.”
“We rely on local newspapers for information about what the city council and county boards are doing, the births, deaths and weddings, what’s happening at school, who’s running for office, and how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our lives,” said Peterson. “COVID-19 has made the already vital role of local news even more critical, at a time when many small businesses are struggling to keep the doors open. The PRINT Act will help our small and rural newspapers to continue their important work informing our communities.”
“Keeping the newspaper going during the pandemic is an essential service. Second only to staffing costs are production expenses—printing, ink, paper and the contracts associated with getting the paper out. Allowing community newspapers that still have PPP dollars through the end of the year to spend their money on printing would help our local newspapers to survive.” – Matthew Adelman President, National Newspaper Association and Publisher.