By Dan Kennedy
There are a number of important stories in local journalism that are flying by, and I want to put down a marker. No need to go into detail — just click on the links to find out more.
- California sets aside $25 million in government money to support local journalism.
- The move follows the creation of the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, which this year will distribute $3 million for specific projects such as a plan to expand news coverage across Jersey City; an online radio program in Creole for the Haitian community; and an oral history on efforts to clean up drinking water in Newark.
- Unlike New Jersey, the California initiative will be used to pay reporting fellows from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism to cover under-represented communities.
- The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would set aside antitrust law to allow news organizations to bargain collectively with Google and Facebook for compensation, was dealt a huge setback.
- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, succeeded in adding an amendment that would make it more difficult for news organizations to moderate comments. The lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., responded by withdrawing the legislation but said she’ll be back.
- LION (Local Independent Online News) Publishers and a number of organizations came out in opposition to the proposal, calling it “ill-advised” and “enormously problematic.” A similar law in Australia has been criticized for lining the pockets of large publishers — mainly Rupert Murdoch — while doing little for smaller players.
- Google News Showcase, touted as a source of revenue for news outlets whose content would be featured, has been stalled because the giant platform has been unable to reach agreements with several key publishers.
- Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper chain, was offered $6 million a year to feature journalism from its flagship USA Today as well as its local papers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Gannett’s reported counter-demand: $300 million.
- Speaking of Gannett, a nauseating development has surfaced in a sexual-abuse lawsuit against the company’s Democrat & Chronicle newspaper in Rochester, New York.
- According to the independent Rochester Beacon, the company is arguing that seven former newspaper carriers who say they were molested by a supervisor should have filed for workers’ compensation at the time the alleged abuse took place.
- The carriers were 11 and 12 years old at the time of the alleged incidents.