It’s not often that the two political parties can agree on much of anything, but a contingent of Democrats and Republicans have thrown their support behind an important initiative—the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. This bipartisan bill is aimed at addressing Google and Facebook’s outsized control over the flow of news content on their platforms while making the industry more fair for small, local media entities.
If approved, the bill would allow for news publishers to collectively negotiate with these two dominant tech platforms for fair compensation for the use of their content, according to the News Media Alliance.
The current model is unsustainable. Besides being able to reap financially from other’s work, the tech giants have been shown to use algorithms that prioritize distributing divisive content and undervalue quality news content. As some media outlets get downsized or closed altogether, the system works to fill those voids with unreliable sources of information.
Statistics from the News Media Alliance show that quality journalism fuels ‘big tech’ profits. In Michigan alone, publishers employ some 11,750 reporters and newsroom staff while the tech giants capture 60 percent of all digital ad dollars because, the alliance says, of their ability to collect consumer data.
We hope that Michigan’s congressional delegation will recognize that the local, quality reporting that comes from news organizations like our own is worth standing up for. A bill like the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act can start to bring some fairness back to the news media industry and uphold a pillar of our democracy.