Pictures of some of the staff at The Bulletin have been showing up on the paper’s Facebook page promoting Senate Bill 673, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2021.
It’s admittedly self-interest. The Bulletin would benefit. But so would other newspapers and news organizations big and small across the country. And so would you.
Want a strong and independent press? Want quality local news? Well local papers like The Bulletin are not in a fair fight. As the bipartisan group of senators and representatives backing the bill say, Facebook and Google have the edge. The behemoths control the majority of the online referrals to news sources and the majority of the online advertising market.
The bill would grant a 48-month safe harbor for news organizations to work together to negotiate with the online titans. That could lead to a fairer distribution of revenue and more quality in local news.
We know this issue is something many people don’t really care about or can’t get motivated to do anything about. Even Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, were noncommittal when we asked about their views on a similar bill a year ago. This time around Wyden’s staff says he will look at it closely “if it comes to the Senate floor.” Merkley’s staff is gathering information so he will be ready consider it “if it comes to the Senate floor.” So they are content to let local news dwindle and the tech giants thrive unless “it comes to the Senate floor.”