Editorials, Opinion

McKinley supports local news

When the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the House of Representatives, Rep. David McKinley was one of 13 Republicans to vote yes. We’d like to thank him for supporting legislation that will make a world of difference for West Virginia.

We would also like to thank McKinley for cosponsoring the original Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which will provide a payroll tax credit to help keep newsrooms staffed, and may also give tax credits to advertisers.

As news deserts spread (areas with no local news sources) and social media becomes the go-to source for “news” (both real and fake), lawmakers are beginning to understand the importance of local journalism and its role as the Fourth Estate.

Big name papers are good for finding out what’s happening in the country and in the world, but not what’s happening at city council. Twenty-four-hour news stations are increasingly replacing prime time anchors with commentators, making it harder to distinguish the line between reporting and editorializing.

Local news — paper, radio and television — keep communities informed and connected. Want to know what happened at the school board meeting last night? Check the newspaper in the morning. Want to know why traffic was at a standstill? Check the 5 o’clock news for accident reports.

Local news also works to hold governments and organizations accountable. A 2018 Hutchins Center paper concluded when local reporting decreased, municipal borrowing costs went up while government efficiency went down.

The LJSA will not be considered as a separate bill, but its language has been written into the Build Back Better Act.

We hope McKinley continues to support the LJSA, as well as the other measures beneficial to West Virginians, by voting in favor of the Build Back Better Act when it makes its way to the House.