US president Joe Biden wants to introduce a $1.85 trillion social spending bill. One of the provisions in that bill is, well, making the (local) news.

A provision that helps save local newsrooms is hitting the headlines – a payroll tax credit for companies that employ eligible local journalists. According to media reports, media outlets could claim a tax credit of $25,000 for the first year and $15,000 for the next four years for a total of 1500 journalists.

local news crisis
Local news is in crisis across the US

One of the supporters of this move to save local newsrooms has been Steven Waldman, Co-founder & President @Report4America, who told CNN, “You have 1800 communities in America with no newspapers thousands more with ghost newspapers. It has become so serious that people are unable to get basic information about their communities.”

While the bill has support from some Republicans, Rep. Steve Scalise, from Louisiana, is unhappy and called it a scam earlier. “Tax credits for journalists. Make no mistake—this is Biden and Dems in Congress helping pay the reporters’ salaries who cover for them. Experts say it’ll cost American taxpayers $1.67 BILLION over 10 years. What a scam.” He said this on Twitter earlier.

Interestingly, the US government is seemingly ‘saving’ local journalism while also expecting journalists to be fair and impartial in their reporting; some media outlets have pointed out. Another anomaly, as highlighted by the LA Times (first reported by AP), is that

“Gannett, one of the nation’s largest remaining newspaper chains, could gain as much as $127.5 million over five years, according to an analysis by the AP.”

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