NNA sends letter to president’s transition team

January 19, 2017

The National Newspaper Association has sent its advice to President-Elect Donald J. Trump as he takes office as the 45th president of the U.S.: pay attention to community newspapers. 

In a letter signed by NNA President Matthew Paxton IV, publisher of The News-Gazette, Lexington, VA, NNA said: "People in DC think we (newspapers) are going out of business, even though three-fourths of the Americans in small towns say they rely upon us as their source of local news. People say the internet has subsumed our livelihoods and that real journalism is a relic of the 20th century, even as our digital presence combines with our printed circulation to reach a stable, civic-minded audience. We are not only alive, we are vigorously committed to the well-being of our communities."

What the new administration could do to promote the well-being of these communities and their newspapers, Paxton said, is:

  • Ensure a U.S. Postal Service that reaches every home in America reliably and at reasonable cost.
  • Create fair taxation for passthrough entities, like Subchapter S corporations and LLCs, so that they do not pay higher rates than big corporations.
  • Revise the overtime rules with regionally-adjusted levels and reasonable flex time options for small businesses.
  • Respect transparency through a strong Freedom of Information Act, a shield law for journalists and newspaper public notices.

 

A copy of the letter is available here.

Why did NNA write to the administration before it is sworn in? Paxton said it is traditional for industries to send their best advice to transition teams.

“NNA has sent transition team letters in the past when we had federal issues on our minds. This year, with the many changes we expect to see in Washington, we wanted the administration to be aware that we maintain an active federal advocacy program. Some of the things we need, like a fairer overtime rule, seem likely to happen. Others, like a fair taxation level, are still unresolved. And of course, we are now almost into our second decade of seeking postal reform so that we don't encounter more service deterioration. His team's vow to cut through the usual Washington red tape and do things quickly could get Congress to move a postal bill and give us a break for a change," Paxton said. "We recognize that there will be controversy in the years ahead. We want to make sure our members know we are on the watch on their behalf." 

NNA's Community Newspaper Leadership Summit, March 15-16, will be publishers' first opportunity to meet with congressional staffs to lay out the industry's priorities. Registration information is live here.

Paxton said, "Right now, when priorities and agendas are all being rethought is exactly when we need to make our mark. I hope we will have a publishers' delegation from every state at this event. It will be a lively year."

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