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Supporting Local Journalism in Bainbridge

I know that our community cares deeply about our local newspaper and I’ve been asked several times by people in the last few months how they can support The Post- Searchlight. Atop my list is a simple request: Subscribe, especially online. Giving away all of our content online, with no subscription revenue to help compensate our journalists who keep the community informed, was simply unsustainable as we headed into a period of unprecedented disruption in advertising revenue, historically our lifeblood.

In the last year we’ve significantly grown our digital subscriber list. That trend bodes well for community journalism in Bainbridge during a time when many newspapers across the country are throwing in the towel, unable to find a way forward.

The combination of digital subscription growth; strategic expense reduction, especially reduced frequency of print publication, and loyal employees who work tirelessly on behalf of the newspaper and a community they love has helped us navigate the crisis to date.

We ask that you keep subscribing, and encourage friends and family to do the same. There’s a new way to help that will both lighten your tax load and support community newspapers. Call your U.S. representative and senators and ask them to support bipartisan legislation called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which, at this writing, had 29 co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle during an era when Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on much of anything.

HR 7640 is a series of three tax credits aimed at sustaining the local news business in the years to come. The credits are as follows:

• A five-year non-refundable credit of up to $250 annually to incentivize individual subscriptions to local newspapers. The credit would cover 80% of subscription costs in the first year and 50% of subscription costs in the subsequent four years.

• A five-year refundable credit for local newspapers like ours to employ and adequately compensate journalists.

• A five-year non-refundable tax credit that would incentivize small- to medium-sized businesses to advertise with local newspapers, as well as local radio and television stations. The credit would cover up to $5,000 of advertising costs in the first year and $2,500 in the subsequent four years.

Taken together, these credits would help sustain our newspaper and thousands of others through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.