(WASHINGTON)– PEN America on Wednesday welcomed Senator Brian Schatz’s introduction of the Preserving and Protecting Local News Resolution, saying local news plays a vital role in supporting democracy, letting people make their voices heard, and the right to access information.

Nadine Farid Johnson, PEN America’s Washington director, said: “A strong local news sector is a key tenet of democracy. The decline of local news in recent years threatens to bring the country to a tipping point, unless we act. We applaud Senator Schatz’s efforts to build awareness and highlight the scope of this challenge, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to help find and implement innovative solutions to preserve and protect local news.”

As PEN America detailed in its report, “Losing the News: The Decimation of Journalism and the Search for Solutions,” the hollowing-out of newspapers and other vital reporting outlets at the city, state, and regional level represents a crisis for American democracy. Since 2004, the United States has lost more than 2,100 local print outlets, leaving many communities without any source for local information.

In addition to PEN America, the Preserving and Protecting Local News Month Resolution has been endorsed by the following organizations: Alliance for Community Media, California Black Media, Common Cause, Free Press Action, National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), Online News Association, Public Knowledge, Society of Professional Journalists, Theatre Communications Group, Writers Guild of America, East. AFL-CIO, National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry, National Newspaper Association, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, The NewsGuild – Communications Workers of America (TNG-CWA), and National Writers Union (NWU).

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, STrimel@PEN.org, 201-247-5057