(WASHINGTON)— Amid persistent woes besetting local newspapers in the United States and continued newspaper closures in communities nationwide, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-10), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) today reintroduced the Saving Local News Act (H.R.7306) in Congress.

The legislation would amend the federal tax code to simplify local newspapers’ ability to become nonprofits. Local newspaper publishers that transitioned to 501(c)(3) nonprofit status would be able to treat advertising revenue as nontaxable income, affording them the financial sustainability to deliver quality reporting,  essential for well-informed and civically engaged communities.

The legislation comes at a troubling time for newsrooms as over 500 journalists have already been laid off in 2024 and more than 360 additional newspapers have closed since just before the pandemic began.

“The retreat of local news across the country has starved Americans of information necessary for effective democratic citizenship,” said Interim Washington Director Hadar Harris. “By easing news organizations’ ability to become nonprofits, the Saving Local News Act would help staunch the bleeding in the local news ecosystem and keep financially challenged news publishers afloat, empowering informed citizens in the process. PEN America applauds Representative DeSaulnier’s legislation, which affirms the centrality of a free press to a healthy democracy.”

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], (201) 247-5057