Johnson, Peterson Introduce Bill to Include Newspaper Printing Costs in Paycheck Protection Program
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) introduced the Preserving Readership and Information of Newspapers for Tomorrow (PRINT) Act, which would include the cost of print production of local print media in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Currently, local media is eligible for the PPP, but printing costs are not forgivable under the program guidelines.
“A free press is critical to our democracy,” said Johnson. “Our local news teams work day in and day out to keep South Dakotans informed of what’s happening both locally and nationally. Unfortunately, local media hasn’t been immune from the financial impact of COVID-19. A slowdown of advertisements and subsequent layoffs continue to threaten our ability to maintain a free press, the PRINT Act will help alleviate some of the burden our print shops are facing.”
“We rely on local newspapers for information about what the city council and county boards are doing, the births, deaths and weddings, what’s happening at school, who’s running for office, and how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our lives,” said Peterson. “COVID-19 has made the already vital role of local news even more critical, at a time when many small businesses are struggling to keep the doors open. The PRINT Act will help our small and rural newspapers to continue their important work informing our communities.”
“Keeping the newspaper going during the pandemic is an essential service. Second only to staffing costs are production expenses—printing, ink, paper and the contracts associated with getting the paper out. Allowing community newspapers that still have PPP dollars through the end of the year to spend their money on printing would help our local newspapers to survive.” – Matthew Adelman President, National Newspaper Association and Publisher.
“South Dakota’s newspapers are appreciative of Rep. Johnson’s legislation to include the costs of printing and production in the Paycheck Protection Program. Having that flexibility in a PPP loan for newspapers would be very significant since printing costs make up a major portion of every newspaper’s ongoing fixed expenses. As importantly, SDNA and its member newspapers thank the Congressman for his understanding and appreciation of the importance and need for local journalism in communities across South Dakota and our nation. Dusty’s lead on this legislation demonstrates that conviction and we are grateful.” – David Bordewyk, Executive Director, South Dakota Newspaper Association.
"Minnesota’s community newspapers are severely challenged in their efforts to produce reliable local news and advertising products during this Covid-19 pandemic. Allowing PPP funds to help cover production costs would go a long way to keep our local newspapers producing their essential publications." – Chris Knight, President Minnesota Newspaper Association and Regional President/Publisher APG Media
Text of the bill can be found here.