Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, and more than 200 members of Congress signed a letter to President Donald Trump Monday, April 20, advocating for federal spending to go toward advertising that would benefit local media outlets.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting local communities across our nation in unprecedented ways. All Americans are attempting to understand the full measure of this crisis, even as it continues to evolve on a daily basis. As in many of our nation’s most challenging times, the public turns to free and local media for life-saving information and breaking news, because local radio, television and newspapers are still the most trusted sources in times of emergency and disaster,” the letter begins.
The ways to accomplish this, according to the letter, are:
Directing the cabinet secretaries to review any resources “intended to be used for advertising campaigns and have them expedite” with local media outlets
Directing federal agency advertising dollars for new and existing programs “where community outreach is needed for spending with local media, including those serving minority and rural communities”
Incentivizing a portion of stimulus funds “provided to businesses for their recovery efforts for advertising on local media.”
“Local news and information on radio, television and newsprint is more in demand than ever, yet local media outlets are experiencing catastrophic losses in the advertising revenue that allows them to continue investing in providing that news to the public. This national emergency has caused a near halt to local business activity and in turn, the regular and vital advertising they purchase from local media. Without advertising revenue, local media outlets cannot survive,” the letter reads.