ANGER at big technology companies has led to multiple antitrust investigations, calls for a new federal data privacy law and criticism of the companies' political ad policies.

Perhaps no issue about the tech companies, though, has united lawmakers in the Capital like the decimation of local news. Case in point :

MEASURE to help them cites struggles created by Google and Facebook.

So when a sport utility vehicle swerved out of its lane some many weeks ago, slamming into a pickup truck and killing a teenager, a reporter from The Northeast Georgian raced to the scene.

Within hours the paper, the paper had posted the news on Facebook and updated it twice. It was shared by hundreds of people on the social network.

The fatal wreck consumed the town of Cornelia, Ga, nestled near the Chattahochee National Forest about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta.

The Northeast Georgian was the first to report the news, but unless the people who shared its story on Facebook follow a link to its website, either to see an ad or to subscribe to twice-weekly prim edition, the paper won't get paid.

As with many small papers across country, the business strategy is not working for The Northeast Georgian. The paper's five employees don't just report and write. They also edit the articles, take photographs and lay out the newspaper.

''My grandmother used to say :
'Honey, if you let them get milk through the fence, they'll never buy the cows,'' said Dink NeSmith chief executive of Community Newspapers Inc, which owns The Northeast Georgian and 23 other local newspapers.

But the tough economics facing small newspapers like Mr. NeSmith's has generated rare bipartisan agreement in Washington.

Lawmakers from both parties blame companies like Facebook and Google, which dominate the online ad industry.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, gave a bog boost some weeks ago to a bill that may provide some newspapers a lifeboat.

They proposal would give news organization an exemption from antitrust laws, allowing them to band together to negotiate with Google over how their articles and photos are used online, and what payment the newspapers get from the tech companies.

[The bill is backed by The News Media Alliance, a trade group that represents news organizations including The New York Times Company].

The proposal was sponsored by Representative Doug Collins, a conservative Georgia Republican whose district includes Cornelia. It was written by Representative David Cicilline, a liberal Democrat from Rhode Island.

Several prominent sponsors have signed on to an identical version in the Senate. They include the Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and the Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

The Honor and Serving of the latest operational research on the plight of the newspapers, and tech giants, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Cecilia Kang.


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