Media tax credit is welcome, but challenges will continue

Our sincerest thanks to the New York State Legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul for including a local media tax credit in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which was passed on April 20. We’re optimistic it will help sustain our newsroom in Saranac Lake — for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News — for the next few years.

Over the past two months, managers in our parent company, Ogden Newspapers, have helped the Empire State Local News Coalition lobby legislators and the governor to pass the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which the local media tax credit was modeled after. It is part of what is now known as New York’s Newspaper and Broadcast Media Jobs Program. Little is known about this program, but here is what we’ve been told so far.

The Newspaper and Broadcast Media Jobs Program is a tax credit designed to support existing and new jobs in the state’s media industry. Starting next year and ending in tax year 2028, the government is allocating $30 million each year for eligible print media and broadcasting companies. Not only does this program support the salaries of existing journalism jobs, it gives an incentive to grow newsrooms.

Eligible media businesses can claim up to $300,000 in refundable tax credits each year. Those credits will be divided evenly between firms that are 100 employees or less and firms that are more than 100 employees. A credit can cover 50% of a journalist’s salary up to $50,000 each year and can apply to existing staff. The program provides an additional $5,000 to media companies for each new employee hired.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie lauded the program after the budget was passed.

“Local journalism plays an essential role in our communities,” Heastie said in a statement. “Not only does it provide critical coverage of local elections, but it also joins communities together through a shared knowledge of high school sports teams, new businesses coming to the area and issues impacting readers’ everyday lives. This funding is the necessary first step in ensuring local journalism is protected and supported for many years to come.”

We’re glad state lawmakers recognize the value of locally produced journalism. After all, New York has lost 50% of its newsrooms over the past 20 years. We need to prevent news deserts from happening.

This is certainly good news for the Enterprise and News and other Ogden newspapers in the state — The Observer (Dunkirk), Post-Journal (Jamestown) and Westfield Republican (Westfield) — and for print and broadcast newsrooms throughout the Adirondack North Country Region.

“New York is now the first state in the nation to incentivize hiring and retaining local journalists — a critical investment given that hundreds of New York’s newspapers have closed since 2004, leaving too many New York communities without access to vital local information,” Empire State Local News Coalition founder Zachary Richner said in a statement.

Now we have to ask, “What’s next?”

While New York’s Newspaper and Broadcast Media Jobs Program is a welcome breather, it will only serve as a Band-Aid to a much larger problem. The challenges facing local newsrooms will not go away with a short-term tax credit program. Advertising revenue and subscriptions continue to decline for newspapers across the country, and it’s not much easier for broadcast newsrooms.

Therefore, we see the work of the newly formed Empire State Local News Coalition as only just beginning. The Enterprise and News are proud members of this coalition, which can chalk up the Newspaper and Broadcast Media Jobs Program as a win in 2024. But where do we go from here? Standing up for local news is not just a one-and-done affair. It’s a long-term commitment. It will take even more lobbying to possibly continue this tax credit program after three years, and there needs to be an ongoing element of public education that goes along with it.

That means our message to readers is the same as it was before the 2025 state budget was passed. Keep supporting locally produced journalism — whether it’s your local newspapers, radio stations, news magazines or television stations. We still need your help as we cover the community news and sports you’ve relied on for years.

For subscriptions and advertising information for the Enterprise and News, call 518-891-2600 or visit www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com or www.lakeplacidnews.com.


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