Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Should Congress save US newspapers struggling to cover COVID-19?

Economic stimulus money should be set aside to support the life-saving work of journalists.

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News publishers should receive US economic stimulus financial support because of the valuable service they providing in the unfolding COVD-19 crisis, says NewsGuild-CWA. It's the largest US trade union for journalists.

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NewsGuild is asking Congress to include news outlets in its next stimulus package, arguing that the economic damage from COVID-19 is parenting already struggling news organizations from reporting on important information.

It is also asking for financial support from state and local governments for their regional news outlets.

"Journalists are risking their own health to provide life-saving information to a nation sheltering in place," NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss said. "We cannot stand by and let news organizations in our communities die. Public stimulus funds are the only way to ensure the long-term viability of the news organizations people rely on." 

News publishers are already weakened by an unstoppable decline in ad revenues, as Google and Facebook dominate all-new advertising deals. Further damage has come from media acquisitions by private equity firms who have been making deep cuts in newsroom staff. 

Gannet, the largest US newspaper publisher, this week told staff at its 566 newspapers that they would be furloughed for one week per month.

The Save Journalism Project earlier this week slammed Google and Facebook for the damage they had done to newsrooms, which were now struggling to keep up with important COVID-19 reports.

NewsGuild is asking for community support for its petition.