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URGENT: Support NancyOnNorwalk by writing a note to State legislators

Screenshot from Rebuild Local News, a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition whose member organizations 3,000+ newsrooms, including family-owned newspapers, nonprofit websites, weeklies, ethnic publications, hyperlocal sites, and rural papers – as well as civic organizations and other groups pushing to save local journalism.

A bill up for a public hearing Monday in the Statehouse could help NancyOnNorwalk expand its news coverage.

House Bill 6347 would require the Department of Administrative Services to award more state contracts for print and digital advertising to nonprofit entities and Connecticut-owned media outlet entities. If some of this advertising were directed to NancyOnNorwalk, you’d see results in the news section. And it would have no effect on your State tax bill.

You can help! Time is short but if you like the journalism you find here, please spend part of your Sunday telling Government Administration and Elections Committee members why. Are you invested in the local news coverage? Tell legislators what value this website offers to you and your community.

Send written testimony here. Doesn’t have to be long! Just a sentence or two asking them to support HB 6347 because you need your NancyOnNorwalk would be of great assistance. Or write your heart out. Has NoN made a difference in your life? Tell them.

If you love the Connecticut Mirror, please say that, too.

Here is more information from nonprofit news reporting coalition Rebuild Local News:

What: Connecticut introduced HB 6347, which would mandate that a certain proportion of government advertising dollars be allocated to local news outlets owned and operated in the state of Connecticut.

Who: The primary sponsor is Rep. Kate Farrar (D – 20th District)

The specifics: The bill follows in the footsteps of cities like New York City and Chicago, which have both passed this policy via executive order. New York City followed up and made the policy a permanent law after successfully implementing the program over two years. In Connecticut, the benefits would be limited to print, digital and broadcast news outlets owned and operated in the state of Connecticut. Meaning, papers like Hartford Courant would not qualify, but Connecticut Public Broadcasting and Connecticut Mirror would.

Rep. Farrar said she hopes to hear feedback on drafting the bill during the hearing. As of now, the bill lacks qualifying language or specifics on how the program would be implemented, but there is room for feedback during the hearing.

More details: The bill has its first hearing March 20 in the Government Administration and Elections Committee. The hearing begins at 11 a.m. Those who want to submit written testimony can submit it here. You can watch the hearing on the Connecticut Assembly’s Youtube channel.

Who’s in favor: Local news outlets have organized a coalition around the provision with Bruce Putterman of the Connecticut Mirror acting as the organizing figure. Local print outlets, digital publications, public broadcasting and publications serving Connecticut’s Black and Spanish-speaking communities have all come forward to testify in favor of the bill.

The odds: Rep. Farrar is optimistic about the odds, but not certain of its passage. What the bill has going for it is the fact that it’s budget neutral and has already drawn support from various corners of Connecticut’s local news field and beyond. In addition, Rep. Farrar seems dedicated to this approach even if it doesn’t pass in this session.

 

2 comments

Elsa Peterson Obuchowski March 19, 2023 at 4:21 pm

I’ve submitted testimony. I hope others will too. Thank you for alerting us to this opportunity — that’s one of the great things about having a local online newspaper!

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