Skip to content

Schatz Leads Resolution Recognizing The Importance Of Local News

Resolution Designates April As “Preserving And Protecting Local News Month,” Highlights Importance Of Local News In A Functioning Democracy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) led a group of 14 senators in introducing a resolution designating April 2023 as “Preserving and Protecting Local News Month.” The resolution recognizes local news as a public good that serves an essential function in the democracy of the United States.

“People across the country rely on local news to stay informed, fight disinformation, and strengthen their communities,” said Senator Schatz. “As the industry continues to face newsroom closures and budget cuts, it’s critical that we support and recognize the irreplaceable public service local news provides.”

According to research, the overall employment in newspaper, television, radio, and digital newsrooms in the United States fell by 26 percent, or 30,000 jobs, from 2008-2020. More than 100 local newsrooms were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 30 percent of local television stations reporting budget cuts and staff reductions. The resolution affirms the significance of local news in increasing civic engagement and strengthening democratic norms and practices, and acknowledges the valuable contributions of local journalism toward the maintenance of healthy and vibrant communities.

The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

The resolution has been endorsed by PEN America; Alliance for Community Media; Free Press Action; National Press Photographers Association (NPPA); Native American Journalists Association (NAJA); Writers Guild of America, East. AFL-CIO; Ethnic Media Services; Society of Environmental Journalists; Society for News Design; Common Cause; Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO; National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ); Native Public Media; Public Knowledge; Society of Professional Journalists; Theatre Communications Group; National Newspaper Association (NNA); National Writers Union (NWU); and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

Schatz has led efforts in the Senate to strengthen local news, previously introducing the Future of Local News Act, legislation which would create a committee to study the state of local journalism and offer recommendations to Congress on the actions it can take to best support local news organizations.

The full text of the resolution is available here.