Newsday has secured a $10 million Paycheck Protection Program loan to preserve jobs in the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, publisher Debby Krenek said.
“We are a local, independent media organization with no large corporate resources behind us while our advertising revenue continues to significantly decline,” she said in a memo to employees on Thursday. “The temporary relief we are receiving from the PPP is essential for us to maintain our staff as we all work harder than ever to serve our community.”
Newspapers, magazines, websites, television stations and other media have reported steep declines in ad revenue since the coronavirus hit. Many have seen subscription revenue increase, though not enough to make up for lost ad dollars, according to industry trade groups.
The number of layoffs and furloughs in the industry totals about 30,000 since the coronavirus outbreak and shutdown of nonessential activities last month, according to the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank in Florida that received a $737,400 PPP loan.
Other media companies receiving PPP loans include the Seattle Times, which got $9.9 million; Tampa Bay Times, $8.5 million, and the Axios website, $5 million.
The PPP program, created as part of a $2 trillion federal stimulus package, exhausted its initial $349 billion in federal loan guarantees last week. Congress approved additional funding to restart the program Thursday night.
Loan recipients generally must have 500 or fewer employees. However, newspaper publishers qualify up to 1,000 employees; Newsday employs about 670 people.
The maximum loan is $10 million with a 1% interest rate and two-year term. In some instances, the loan may be entirely forgivable.
The closure of small papers and widespread layoffs at small radio and television stations has spurred four industry advocacy groups — the News Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association, National Association of Broadcasters and America's Newspapers — to ask Congress for a bailout. “Local news operations are in immediate peril due to COVID-19 and we need Congress to act now,” they said in an April 9 letter.
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