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Media Guild of the West declares support for California Journalism Preservation Act (AB 886)

For immediate release:
  • Erin Ivie
  • Director of Communications, Office of Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
  • 510-619-8495

SACRAMENTO – The California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), AB 886, has received unanimous support from the influential Media Guild of the West, the union that represents journalists at the Los Angeles Times, the Southern California News Group and other major publications in Arizona and Texas. 

CJPA, authored by State Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), seeks to ensure that major platforms fairly compensate local newsrooms for the journalism they produce. 

Wicks’ AB 886 would require Big Tech monopolies like Google and Facebook to pay a “journalism usage fee” for content they siphon from local news outlets. The bill also requires publishers to devote 70% of the proceeds to the maintenance and creation of journalism jobs in California. 

“A free press is vital to our democracy, and that’s at risk as local newsrooms shrink or are forced to close,” said Wicks. “AB 886 will help preserve California’s news ecosystem by driving more digital ad revenue to local outlets and requiring investment in critical journalism jobs, and we are thrilled to have the Media Guild’s support on this critical legislation.” 

The Media Guild’s resolution cited several factors underlying their support of AB 886, among them “a nationwide decline in the production and availability of quality local journalism.” It noted that newspaper newsroom employment has fallen 57% since 2008.

The union’s resolution states that another factor in their support is Big Tech’s outsized influence over distribution and monetization of trustworthy news sources. The “concentrated power of tech platforms such as Google and Facebook...undercut(s) news publishers in the digital advertising market,” the Guild asserts.

By a vote of 100% to 0%, the Media Guild resolved to “support efforts by their local union to engage in advocacy addressing the tech industry’s market power and the potential abuse of artificial intelligence models.

“The Guild will support measures such as the California Journalism Preservation Act (AB 886, Wicks) and similar bills on the condition that such measures serve the public interest and support the protection or creation of journalism jobs,” the resolution concluded.

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