Newspapers and broadcast outlets in the U.S. have received a painful financial blow after the COVID-19 lockdown caused a 50% decline in advertising revenue. The new legislation is offering them aid.
According to a bipartisan U.S. Senate proposal introduced on May 13th, news outlets can be eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) emergency assistance. This is a part of the $3 trillion relief bill proposed by Democrats on March 12th, and it will help put thousands If local media organizations of back on their feet.
While the relief bill was not supported by Republicans in the Senate, the proposal of financial help for the U.S. media was supported by majorities in both houses, says Reuters. It was penned by Democrats Maria Cantwell, Amy Klobuchar, Chuck Schumer, and Republicans John Boozman and Joni Ernst.
According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), advertising losses for local TV and radio stations may reach $3 billion by the end of the year. Printed media has committed to lower quality and frequency of printing, with some going out of business entirely. Staff members are receiving pay cuts, getting laid off, or put on unpaid furloughs.
Reuters quotes Gordon Smith, the NAB CEO: “hometown broadcasters and community newspapers are providing vital news and information during these unprecedented times to keep families and communities safe while struggling with record advertising revenue losses.”