Arizona AG joins push for federal law to support local news outlets

Published: Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - 2:03pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - 2:11pm

Arizona’s Kris Mayes has joined 10 other attorneys general in urging Congress to pass a bipartisan bill they say would address power imbalances between local news outlets and large online platforms.

“We continue to see newspapers in distress and local journalism in distress,” Mayes said. “And it’s reaching what I would consider crisis levels. And we’ve gotta do everything we can to support them.”

Mayes said the bill would close legal gaps for news outlets to participate in things like joint negotiations, and prohibit platforms like Google or Facebook from retaliating.

“This would allow local news outlets to work together to negotiate fair compensation from these platforms that ultimately end up profiting off of local journalism,” Mayes said.

It’s an issue she said is killing off local news, especially in rural communities.

“We’ve had so many newspapers in Arizona that have either gone out of business entirely or have had to slash newsroom jobs,” Mayes said.

Staff at the Arizona Republic had a two-day walkout this week to protest job cuts, among other issues. Mayes was once a reporter there and for the defunct Phoenix Gazette.

“I think that they're carrying a really important message forward,” Mayes said. “Which is: Journalists need to be compensated fairly. And journalists are important to the continued flourishing of our democracy. So I am with them in spirit.”

By pushing for the bill to advance beyond the Senate and to President Joe Biden’s desk, Mayes said she’s trying to do her part to support their overall efforts.

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