Collins Works to Protect Local Media Overlooked by Relief Package
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) joined his colleagues in writing a letter urging House leadership to improve existing lending programs for local news publishers and broadcasters in the next COVID-19 relief package.
“Hundreds of individual broadcasters and news publishers were not eligible for loan relief because they were affiliated with larger groups whose total employee count was more than 500 spread across various stations or newspapers,” they wrote. “We therefore urge you to protect local journalism by clarifying that local news publishers and broadcasters that meet the SBA’s size standards and primarily serve a single community or metropolitan area qualify for the newly established Paycheck Protection Program regardless of their affiliation.”
The Small Business Administration (SBA) eligibility requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) left out some news publishers and broadcasters because of their affiliations with larger groups, even though publishers and broadcasters operate almost entirely locally. For this reason, the loans provided under the PPP need to be determined on a local and individual basis for news publishers and broadcasters.
“Local news publishers and broadcasters employ thousands of journalists—including reporters, photographers, newsroom staff, and others—to provide timely and accurate news to keep people informed about their communities,” they wrote.
A strong supporter of the local news community, Collins introduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2019 last year to help level the playing field for community newspaper publications to operate in a freer market.
Last week, Collins called for the federal government to allocate advertising funds to preserve local news and media outlets in the midst of COVID-19.