Eye-Popping Numbers Behind The JCPA’s Biggest Supporters

Top Six Quantifiable Concerns with the JCPA

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), S. 673, is supported by some of America’s biggest media conglomerates responsible for the decline of local journalism. Their lobbyists are working overtime to pass the JCPA so massive media ownership companies like Gannett, Alden Global Capital and Sinclair Broadcast Group can boost their revenues, double down on predatory business practices and expand their media empires.

Below are just SIX quantifiable concerns with the JCPA:

50% of the newspapers in America are owned by financial management firms like Alden Global Capital. The largest 25 companies own 1/3 of all newspapers, including 70% of all dailies. Over the past 15 years, hedge funds like Alden Global Capital have been buying up struggling newspapers, cutting staff and shedding resources required to produce quality news. Their primary aim? To maximize profits. The JCPA doesn’t prevent hedge funds like Alden Global from continuing to fire journalists and prioritize profits; instead, the JCPA stands to enrich and incentivize other hedge funds to replicate this crude vulture fund model while further destroying local journalism.

400 Gannett, the largest U.S. news publisher, with a history of firing journalists and shuttering local newspapers, stands to rake in massive revenues from the JCPA. In the past few months alone, Gannett has laid off around 400 employees. Upon merging with GateHouse, Gannett owned more than 550 news publications in 2019. Since then, Gannett fired over a third of its workforce, discontinued numerous publications and announced a $100 million stock buyback plan prioritizing investors. The JCPA represents a new line of revenue to financially reward the biggest news company in the U.S. for eroding away journalist jobs and local news.

1,150+ partisan websites marketed as “local news” outlets are publishing content intended to boost political candidates. The Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University identified partisan websites are posing as local news outlets in all 50 states. By masquerading as local outlets and hiding behind names like “The Michigan Independent” these publications are intentionally duping Americans into believing their promotional content is actual local reporting. By forcing tech platforms to carry and pay for publications’ content, the JCPA stands to bolster deceitful websites, partisan content, fake news and clickbait with government-backed legitimacy and ill-gotten gains.

20+ Big media republished the same JCPA opinions 20+ times in the newspapers they own to artificially bolster JCPA support. Opinion pieces penned by both a pollster and the leader of the News Media Alliance – the industry group representing the biggest media companies in the U.S. – were republished 20+ times as part of a coordinated campaign by the outlets owned and operated by Alden Global Capital. For its part in the scheme, Gannett pressured local newspaper editors to produce editorials in support of the JCPA.

1,500 Publishers must have less than 1,500 full-time employees to receive tech payouts. Placing a limit on the number of employees a media company expressly discourages them from hiring more journalists. Even worse, if the JCPA passes, each newspaper over the arbitrary employee limit would be well compensated if enough staff are fired or converted to independent freelancers.

$100,000.00 News publishers must make more than $100,000 per year to qualify for the JCPA. This benefits the biggest media players and intentionally leaves independent and truly local news outlets out. For Local Independent Online News (LION) Publisher members, 41% would not qualify under the JCPA for this revenue stream even though they are producing true local news.