Chavern notes 'growing appreciation' for media in amazing year

News Media Alliance president and chief executive David Chavern says there are "reasons to be thankful" for 2020, despite it not being the year envisioned on January 1.

"There have been some bright, shining moments for the news industry and for the Alliance in this strange, dark year," he says.

Thanking members and staff for their courage and fortitude, and "continued faith in our mission and in the industry's bright future", he also praises colleagues for their awe-inspiring news coverage.

"Through the News Impact Project, our initiative to highlight the positive impact local journalism has on communities, I've seen how local journalists have kept their communities informed, from smart local stories on the ongoing public health crisis to thoughtful and educational articles on the 2020 elections.

"I've also watched how publishers across the media landscape covered the Black Lives Matter movement and used their platforms to advocate for Black lives," he says.

Chavern also notes the growing appreciation of the news media, especially local news publishers, with audiences growing in 2020. "News readership is higher than it's ever been, and our support with civic leaders has grown as well," he says. "We've also seen more leaders challenging the tech platforms."

The Department of Justice filed suit against Google for violating antitrust regulations in its search and advertising practices, a stepping stone toward a more comprehensive antitrust action against the platform. At the Federal Communications Commission, discussions were held about the interpretation and effectiveness of Section 230. And the support continued in Congress, with members of both the Senate and the House releasing reports on the threats that Big Tech pose to news publishers.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which the Alliance has championed for over a year, "has also gotten more bipartisan support from key leaders, leaving me optimistic that we'll see further action on this safe harbor bill for news publisher early in the new Congress next year.

"If you had asked me in January, I would have told you that I was ready for whatever came our way. That I was eager to continue my role as a pugilist for the media industry. I did not imagine I could feel even more strongly about the fight we're in to save quality journalism and provide a sustainable future for real news.

"However, watching the Alliance team, Board and members band together and push forward through challenge after challenge has lit a new fire in me. I don't know what 2021 holds. I am certain it will include many of the same challenges we've been facing this year, as well as new ones we can't yet conceive of. But I am also certain that the Alliance will continue to fight - harder than ever - to support quality news publishers."

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