Press Room

Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Thursday September 24, 2020

WGAE Supports the Future of Local News Commission Act

NEW YORK, NY (September 24, 2020) The Writers Guild of America, East announced its support for the Future of Local News Commission Act, which was introduced today in the U.S. Senate.

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “Coronavirus is decimating newsrooms that already faced enormous economic challenges. The Future of Local News Commission Act is a safeguard to study how to ensure that there are sufficient resources to provide reliable, useful information to the American people – information about local businesses, sports, culture, public policy, and more. We are thankful to the bill’s sponsors – Senators Brian Schatz, Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar – for including digital-native, broadcast, and print newsrooms in this legislation. We hope the Senate adopts the bill so the commission can get to work as quickly and effectively as possible.”

The Future of Local News Commission Act states that the commission include 13 members with relevant experience to examine the implications to America’s democracy if the public does not have access to local newspapers, digital native sites, and broadcasting outlets in every State and territory, and in rural, urban, suburban, insular, and Tribal communities, and those serving Black communities and non-English speaking communities. The commission would assess the effectiveness of existing Federal laws, institutions, and programs in supporting the production of local news; and provide recommendations on whether the Federal Government should create and could effectively implement a program to support independent, high-quality local news, and consider how such a program could be structured and financed to ensure the editorial integrity of news outlets, to keep them free from governmental or political control.

In addition to the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, this legislation is supported by PEN America; Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers; Alliance for Community Media; National Writers Union; Society of Professional Journalists; Ethnic Media Services; Online News Association; Free Press Action; National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC); National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ); National Press Photographers Association (NPPA); Native American Journalists Association (NAJA); Society for News Design; Association of Alternative Newsmedia; American Journalism Project; Pulitzer Center; Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO; The NewsGuild – Communications Workers of America (TNG-CWA); and Colorado Media Project.

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, news and new media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit


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