President Signs Postal Reform Bill Into Law
President Joe Biden signed the Postal Service Reform Act, H.R. 3076, which provides $107 billion in direct and indirect support for the United States Postal Service (USPS). This is the first major piece of reform for the USPS in 15 years, which had wide bipartisan support. View Biden’s remarks and the bill signing ceremony. Key provisions include:
• expansion of special rates for local newspaper distribution to promote local news organizations,
• service performance transparency including a new public-facing, online dashboard with national and local level service performance data updated each week to help promote compliance with on-time delivery of mail,
• repeal mandatory pre-funding of retiree health benefits to financially stabilize the Postal Service and curb rate increases,
• six-day integrated delivery, and
• study on operational inefficiencies in Postal Service flats and magazine processing Meanwhile, on April 6, the USPS filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of price changes to take effect July 10. In both Periodicals and Marketing Mail, the USPS is setting price signals to encourage mailers to prepare their mailings in ways that are less costly to handle and deliver. For Periodicals, the overall increase is 8.540%, with Outside County receiving an average increase of 8.581% and Within County 7.751%. In Marketing Mail, the increases (while high) are relatively smaller for saturation flats and tend to get smaller as the mail pieces get heavier.
Nonprofit Campaign Saves 14 Weekly Newspapers In Suburban New Jersey
The nonprofit Corporation for New Jersey Local Media (CNJLM) has acquired 14 weekly newspapers serving some 50 municipalities. The papers are owned by the New Jersey Hills Media Group.
The deal is similar to one announced last year when Colorado Community Media sold its 24 weekly and monthly newspapers in a complex deal involving several nonprofit organizations. The difference is that management of the Colorado papers was turned over to The Colorado Sun, a digital start-up that was awarded an ownership share and could eventually become the majority owner. In New Jersey, the sellers, Liz and Steve Parker, will remain in charge.
As with the Colorado deal, terms of the Hills Media transaction were not disclosed. According to an announcement on the CNJLM website, the organization sought to raise $500,000 to purchase the Hills papers, though it’s not clear whether that covered all or just part of the cost.
According to an email announcement by Amanda Richardson, executive director of CJNLM, the Hills Media papers will be reorganized as a “societal benefits corporation.” A New Jersey guide to benefit corporations explains it this way: “While traditional corporations have the single duty to maximize profit, benefit corporations have the increased purpose of considering society and the environment in addition to seeking a profit.”
The LJSA Is No Empty Promise
America needs strong local journalism. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is a giant step forward for the industry while it continues to evolve.
The LJSA is a bill that would provide tax credits to newspapers and other journalism organizations that are providing local news and information to their communities. The most recent budget reconciliation act, Build Back Better, included a key provision of the LJSA that would provide tax credits for newsrooms that meet the criteria. Those credits are 50% of the employees’ salary (capped at $50,000), or up to $25,000 per qualifying newsroom employee in year one, and up to $15,000 in years two through five.
The organization receives the refundable tax credits (they get the dollars whether they owe taxes or not) based on qualifying newsroom employees, so the more newsroom employees they have, the bigger the tax credit.
But, there are specific criteria that the news organization must meet that make it difficult for partisan outlets or those that don’t really cover local news to qualify. The criteria also include a provision that the organization must have been in existence for at least a year.
The bill provides incentives to retain and even hire more newsroom employees, so the return on newsroom investment is more apparent than ever. The monetary impact of retaining and hiring newsroom employees will be obvious, even to those who might be math-challenged.
The smallest independent rural newspapers with just a couple of employees to the largest newspaper groups, even if they are owned by a hedge fund, will be eligible for the tax credits. They all will be incentivized to maintain or grow their newsroom staff.
Global Social Media Ad Market Expected To Skyrocket
A new report by market research and consulting company Million Insights says the global social media advertising market –– valued at $103 billion in 2020 — is expected to reach $262.62 billion by 2028.
Million links this potential increase –– a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4% –– to the rising number of social media users across the globe (currently 4 billion, over half the world’s population), its expansive use as a tool for companies and marketers, and its resulting popularity across a wide expanse of industries.
Mobile demonstrated the largest revenue of over 70% in 2020, and the report predicts this sector will grow the fastest, with an influx of social media users (who increased by over 13% in 2020). The report highlights around 5.2 billion unique mobile users (66% of the global population).
As more of the population shifts from traditional newspapers to digital platforms, the report expects the desktop segment to expand at a CAGR of 10.6% between 2021 and 2028. This market boost will be partly due an increased rate of affordable internet plans in emerging economies.