The Multicultural Media & Correspondents Association (MMCA) will meet with Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden and the Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell in hopes of amending The Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021. The legislation is intended to provide financial relief to local media outlets through tax incentives for advertising, subscriptions, and hiring of journalists. Although the economic boost is vital to news outlets, it does little to rectify the racial disparities in the industry affecting communities of color due to systemic roadblocks currently in place.
“MMCA views the Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021 as a positive step forward however, by limiting its benefits to local news outlets, the bill’s language as currently crafted, seems to exclude a large portion of the BIPOC media outlets that are most in need of assistance and are most vital to the economic well-being of underserved populations,” said David Morgan, MMCA Co-Founder and President.
In a letter to lawmakers, MMCA outlined why it's necessary to expand the legislation to better serve the growing number of BIPOC media outlets that address race inequality. According to The Democracy Fund, only 8.1 percent of the $1.1 billion journalism grants in the U.S. were given to outlets that serve ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ communities. The letter emphasized that the tax incentive will disproportionately benefit majority owned outlets including those who intentionally alienate BIPOC voices and fuel outrage with white supremacist language.
“Recognizing that there is no prescribed definition of what constitutes local or BIPOC media, MMCA will work with lawmakers to develop language that covers any media outlet dedicated to covering newsworthy information that is relevant to communities within a specific geographic region and “underserved communities,” said David Morgan.