June 13, 2024

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Trib Total Media CEO to testify before Senate subcommittee on newspaper industry challenges

Trib Total Media President and CEO Jennifer Bertetto will testify Wednesday before a U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee on challenges facing the newspaper industry.

Bertetto will address the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, headed by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. The hearing is related to proposed legislation aiming to help news publishers in an era when most Americans consume news through digital platforms.

Klobuchar — along with U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., and U.S. Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Ken Buck, R-N.Y. — introduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow news publishers to collectively negotiate with digital platforms.

“We must enable news organizations to negotiate on a level playing field with the big tech companies if we want to preserve a strong and independent press,” Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan legislation will improve the quality of reporting and ensure that journalists are able to continue their critical work. Our media outlets need a fighting chance when negotiating for fair treatment by the digital platforms where so many Americans consume their news.”

Nearly 90% of Americans gets news on a smartphone, computer or tablet, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last year. That dwarfs the number of people consuming news via television, radio or print media.

Facebook and Google account for the majority of online referrals to news sources, and the companies control a majority of the online advertising market.

The legislation aims to address that imbalance, providing a 48-month window for companies to negotiate fair terms that would send subscription and advertising money back to publishers and protect Americans’ right to access quality news.

The hearing will be livestreamed starting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Julia Felton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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