You saw the $2.2 trillion CARES Act pass during the beginning of the pandemic, and you may have even benefited from PPP loans to keep your publishing business moving. Then, another $900 billion stimulus package passed with just days left in 2020.
So now, in 2021, you’re probably wondering: How much government aid for local media is there, and who decides where it goes?
Economic Development Processes Take Time
As we discussed in our Media Stimulus Is Still Available for Publishers article, allocation of these funds takes time. In many cases, bureaucratic framework must be activated from the state level, to counties, and eventually, to cities and municipalities.
In many cases, community volunteers run economic development councils and business improvement groups . According to Ross Furukawa, Co-Founder and President of Santa Monica Daily Press, these two factors leave the door open for you to get involved.
“There is a lot of money left unspent,” says Ross. “And you can help decide how it’s going to be spent.”
Is It Too Late to Receive Government Aid for Local Media?
If you believe your business could benefit from economic development dollars, you still have time to get your foot in the door. The short story is this: cities are getting millions of dollars in funding from the latest rounds of government stimulus—and there’s likely more to come this year.
These funds are earmarked for economic development. And as a media business, it’s vital for you to go into this process knowing that your business model has one of the best arguments out there. Not only do your ad sales directly help local businesses reach their community, your media coverage directly affects local government credit ratings.
How Publishers Can Apply for Economic Development Funding
First, a quick note. Yes, we're facing an unprecedented time. But involvement with local economic development partnerships is worthwhile during more predictable economic times, too. (To this fact, Ross' seasonal publication in conjunction with six economic development entities is now more than ten years strong!)
Here’s are the four steps to follow to apply for government aid for local media in your area:
- Contact the people in charge in your area. Dust off your keyboard and start googling! Call the people you know: the Chamber of Commerce president, city manager, county supervisor, or local council members.
- Join a committee. Within your local government, there’s an economic development committee. Join it! Remember: this is public money, the funding is transparent, and you’re able to get involved.
- Communicate a great idea. Use your resources to create a concept that kickstarts business activity within your community. With committee support, it’s likely to succeed.
- Run with it! You’re now involved in your community’s economic development. It’s time to get your idea off the ground. Use the knowledge gained during this process to keep working toward a better, more connected local economy!
There’s No Time Like the Present.
The one takeaway from this process is to recognize and sell the interconnected relationship between publishers and the greater local economy. From an economic development perspective, your community needs you as much as you need them.
Get involved in the decision making processes that fuel local economic development, because your voice and expertise are valuable for all parties involved!