Illinois State Legislature Approves Funding for Local News

Through the state budget process, the Illinois legislature recently included several proposals to address growing news deserts and revive local news in the state.

Illinois newsrooms have seen a staggering 85 percent drop in the number of reporters since 2005, according to Northwestern University’s 2023 State of Local News report.

The state budget provisions include:

  • $25 million ($5 million over 5 years) in employment tax credits to newsrooms that hire or retain local reporters
  • $15,000 per current reporter and $25,000 per new hire for qualifying newsrooms
  • A $150,000 limit on how much a given newsroom can receive, a $250,000 limit for corporations.

The funding is available to both for-profit and nonprofit news organizations with at least one full-time local reporter.

“The financialization of news has deeply hampered the ability of communities across the country to receive accurate, informative news,” says Jon Schleuss, President of the NewsGuild-CWA. “We applaud the Illinois state legislature for utilizing the state budget process to implement innovative solutions to save local news jobs.”

The Illinois state legislature has also passed a bill aimed at greedy corporations and private equity groups. The bill requires that any newspaper in Illinois that intends to sell itself to an out-of-state entity must give the community and its employees 120-day notice, so that the community can consider organizing an acquisition bid.  This is the first “replanting” provision enacted into law in the United States.

“Requiring advance notice for sales protects employees and ensures communities are aware of changes that might affect their local news sources,” says Illinois State Senator Steve Stadelman, co-sponsor of the bill.

That same bill also includes first-of-its-kind language to establish the Journalism Student Scholarship Program to help support students who are pursuing careers in Illinois journalism through financial assistance. The bill has passed both state houses, but has yet to be signed by the governor.

UFCW Guild Staff To Hold One Day Unfair Labor Practice Strike

Washington, D.C.- This Thursday, May 23rd, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International staff represented by their internal staff union, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild (WBNG) Local 32035, will hold a one day strike and picket outside of UFCW headquarters for 12 hours in response to unfair labor practice charges filed by the Guild against UFCW.

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Taking Our Fight to the Statehouse(s)

A bill sitting on the Maryland governor’s desk would dramatically impact journalism jobs and local news coverage across the state during a critical election year. If signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore, Maryland House 1258 would remove estate notices from news organizations and put them in centralized websites. These notices provide essential advertising revenue for the few Maryland newspapers in the state.

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NewsGuild-CWA Calls on NJ Gov. To Protect Free Speech and Access to Public Records

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 16, 2024

Contact: Rebekah Entralgo, rentralgo@cwa-union.org (202) 304-2241

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday May 13, the New Jersey Legislature advanced S2930/A4045, a bill that would overhaul the Open Public Records Act and greatly harm access to public records for journalists and communities across the state.

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Newsletter: Stand with student journalists on World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day couldn’t come at a more poignant time. This week, amid growing unrest on college campuses over the Israel-Gaza war, courageous student journalists across the continent worked tirelessly under precarious conditions to deliver accurate reporting to their communities and the entire nation at large.

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NewsGuild-CWA Statement on Gannett Q1 Results

Media Contact: Asya Pikovsky, asya.pikovsky@gmail.com, 207-522-2442

NEW YORK – In response to the release of Gannett’s Quarter 1 earnings calls today, The NewsGuild-CWA released the following statement from President Jon Schleuss. The NewsGuild-CWA represents more than 50 Gannett bargaining units across the country, collectively covering more than 1,000 employees.

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NewsGuild-CWA Stands With Student Journalists, Calls on Universities and Law Enforcement to Respect Press Freedom

Contact: Rebekah Entralgo, rentralgo@cwa-union.org (202) 304-2241

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid growing unrest on college campuses over the Israel-Gaza war, The NewsGuild-CWA, the largest union representing America’s journalists, stands in solidarity with the courageous student journalists working under precarious conditions to deliver accurate, reliable news to not only their communities, but the nation at large.

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