PEN America, a nonprofit aimed at defending freedom of expression in writing, praised 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang‘s (D) proposal to invest in local news as outlets transition to more sustainable models. 

The organization’s director, Thomas Melia, commended Yang in a statement for recognizing the “valuable service that local news outlets provide to communities.”

“Journalism, and local journalism in particular, is an asset to democracy. In the struggle to preserve and support this fundamental institution, we welcome new and innovative ideas that add to the discourse,” Melia said. 

Yang’s Local Journalism Fund proposal would dedicate $1 billion operated out of the Federal Communications Commission to create grants of $25,000 to $250,000 awarded to companies, nonprofits and local governments to help local newspapers transition “to sustainability in a new era,” according to Yang’s campaign website. 

The Hill has reached out to Yang’s campaign for comment.

“Going forward, we hope other campaigns and political party leadership will follow Yang’s lead in formulating concrete policy proposals that seek to reinforce local journalism as a public good,” Melia said.

Media outlets have been hurt by a changing ad revenue system in an industry shift that has largely impacted local news outlets. 

Critics have targeted Facebook and Google for dominating internet ads and cutting into news sites’ revenue. 

Gannett, which owns local newspapers across the country as well as USA Today, has been making massive layoffs in its regional outlets. 

A large part of Yang’s campaign is centered around his universal basic income proposal, which would give $1,000 a month to every American. He’s said the proposal would help workers adjust in industries shifting to more automation.