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State lawmakers looking for ways to support local media

Dec 14, 2021 5:45 am
Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman might not always like what his neighborhood weekly newspapers write about him, but he recognizes their importance to the community. "They criticize us routinely. They hold our feet to the fire," he said. "But they are fading. And unless we act now, I'm afraid all these newspapers are going to be out of business in short order." Hoylman and Assemblymember Carrie Woerner are backing proposals that would encourage people to subscribe to local media and have those local media organizations hire reporters by creating tax credits. The tax credits would be targeted at small media companies, those that employ fewer than 1,500 people. Local news can help constituents keep up to date on what's happening down the street. "It's really about making sure our citizenry, our residents are informed," Hoylman said. Studies have shown the death of local newspapers, and a lack of information about community events and issues has led to a rise in polarization across the country. At the same time, municipalities have measurably suffered when local news dies. "When you don't have local journalists covering local communities, it's easy to lose track of what's happening around the country," Woerner said. "It does feel to me that we are overweighted on national news and underweighted on local information."