Senator Joni Ernst.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is part of a bipartisan group pushing to get some of the federal pandemic response money directed to local media outlets.

“The federal government, if we are supporting different efforts to get information out, those are the sources of information your communities will go to,” Ernst says, “those local newspapers, local TV stations, local radio stations.”

Ernst says the group has asked federal agencies to spend money allocated for public service announcements about COVID-19 with local media.

“If the federal government is contributing to media to support our efforts to fight COVID-19, then it should be going down to the very people that are most connected to their audience and their communities,” Ernst says, “and that would be local media.”

In addition, local radio and TV stations and local newspapers with a small staff cannot qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program if they are owned by a larger company with more than 500 employees. The Local News and Emergency Information Act Ernst is co-sponsoring would make those local stations and publication eligible for the program.