Across The Aisle, Experts Agree: Big Tech Must Be Reigned in to #SaveJournalism

WASHINGTON, DC – Just one week after Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray announced the Save Journalism Project, helmed by laid off reporters John Stanton and Laura Bassett, the consensus is clear: big tech’s control and demolition of the journalism industry must be stopped. Read Stanton and Bassett’s written testimony, as submitted to the House Judiciary, online here.

As the duo note, “The reason advertising revenue has fallen so steeply is that Google and Facebook dominate the digital ad market, consuming more than 60 percent of all revenue. This has had a crippling effect on the journalism industry. Newspapers slashed 32,000 jobs in the decade between 2008 and 2017, a loss of 45 percent. A robust and well-funded news media is vital to a healthy democracy. The public should be aware of Big Tech’s death grip on publishers and the power they have over the online marketplace. Congress should be discussing legislative solutions to regulate or break up the tech giants and restore fairness to the digital ad market.”

Below, we excerpt recent bipartisan expert testimony on the pressing issue:

Chairman Cicilline (RI-01), during yesterday’s House Judiciary hearing: “The free and diverse press is the backbone of our vibrant democracy… But over the past decade, the news industry has been in a state of economic free fall. These massive cuts are happening to traditional news companies and online news sources alike…These trends strongly suggest that the decline of the news industry is… a direct consequence of enforcement choices that have created a market structure where a small number of platforms are capturing the value created by journalists and publishers.”

Ranking Member Doug Collins (GA-09), during yesterday’s House Judiciary hearing: “In the old days, press organizations were able to thrive based on their subscription and advertising revenues. But as the news consumption has moved to the internet, traditional subscriptions are speedingly drying up and online advertising revenues are increasingly being dominated by online platforms. As a result, news organizations across the country are rapidly losing their economic lifeboat and disappearing from the public square.”

Houston Chronicle’s Olivia Tallet: “#Journalism in America is facing an existential threat from the monopolistic control of tech giants like #Google, #Facebook, and #Apple Care to joint the #Save Journalism Project? #SaveJournalism”

Fox News’ James Rogers: “Big Tech is destroying America’s press industry, warn lawmakers and journalists”: “Critics argue that Big Tech has clinched a monopolistic position that lets it dominate the digital advertising marketplace. This means that the tech giants distribute a vast amount of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content, according to the Save Journalism Project, which aims to protect the industry from Big Tech.”

Laura Bassett during a Cheddar interview: “The first step is to start regulating and break them up. The problem is companies like Facebook and Google swallow up 60% of digital ad revenue. So, it doesn’t leave much of the pie for the actual content creators and for news publishers, which is why I got laid off in January. It’s why local newspapers are going under…We need to find a way to require these tech companies to share the profits with the people who are actually creating the content.”

Hamilton Nolan of Splinter News: “‘Why is my local paper so thin now?’ ‘Why aren’t there any statehouse reporters now?’ ‘Why don’t they do more investigative reporting?’ ‘Why did all my colleagues get laid off?’ Well you see,

Journalism in America is facing an existential threat from the monopolistic control of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Big tech’s dominance over the digital advertising market and their unrivaled capacity to monetize its platforms are having drastic effects on journalism as a whole.

Follow the Save Journalism Project on Twitter.