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Gov. Newsom Signs Bill That Takes Revenue From Daily and Weekly Community Newspapers

December 11, 2023

By Brian Hews

Merry Christmas newspaper industry!

As if this business isn’t hard enough, with Google taking community newspaper news – without paying and making money off it – while simultaneously taking advertising away from the industry, California Governor Gavin Newsom took a break from his hectic debate schedule dealing a body blow to the newspaper industry signing AB 542 into law.

Newsom signed the bill while state agencies such as the California Department of Health spend over $100 million annually in advertising on billboards, top-ten radio stations, and online sites (not newspapers) all over the state.

Taking effect on Jan. 1, the AB 542 changes the options available to self-storage operators in the state when advertising a lien sale. It cuts the number of required newspaper ads from two to one if the operator also advertises on websites.

Raise your hand if you know or ever seen a storage facility auction website…..

The sites do not have to be adjudicated in a court of law, like community newspapers who are affirmed by a judge as reaching the general population, and can be any rando-cheap website that receives scant views.

The bill was sponsored by first-term Asm. Juan “News Desert” Carillo in Lancaster.

Cold-heartedly and evidently not wanting residents to hold corrupt politicians accountable or allow constituents to be informed of what is going on in their communities, nearly all Los Angeles area Assembly and State Senate members voted yes to pass the bill including Sen. Bob Archuleta (D-30), Sen. Tom Umberg (D-34), Sen. Lena Gonzales (D-33) Asm. Blanco Pacheco (D-64), Asm. Sharon Quirk Silva (D-67), and Asm. Lisa Calderon (D-57).

The actions of these politicians only speeds the decline of local news in the United States where the nation has lost one-third of its newspapers and two-thirds of its newspaper journalists since 2005.

A recent Northwestern University study found an average of 2.5 newspapers closed each week in 2023 compared to two a week the previous year, a reflection of an ever-worsening advertising climate.

Most are weekly publications in areas with few or no other sources for news, such as much of Los Angeles County.

“My concern is that the acceleration we’re seeing is only going to worsen,” said Tim Franklin, who heads the local news initiative at Northwestern’s Medill journalism school.

At its current pace, the country will hit 3,000 newspapers closed in two decades sometime next year, with just under 6,000 remaining, the report said. At the same time, 43,000 newspaper journalists lost jobs, most at daily publications.

And now the government is accelerating that pace in California…..thanks to myopic local politicians and Gov. French Laundry.