A bill introduced in the US Senate by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) would allow individual television stations that are affiliated with a larger network to qualify for assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program. The Local News and Emergency Act of 2020 would allow such stations to receive funds as long as “the proceeds of the loan are used to support expenses associated with the continued provision of local news, information, content, or emergency information.” The size of the individual station would simply need to meet the conditions that apply to other small businesses under the Industry Classification Code. In addition, stations receiving funds will not be permitted to “pay, distribute, or otherwise provide the covered loan or any portion of the covered loan” to any other entity than the station itself. The bill is also supported by John Boozman (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Condé Nast is axing approximately 100 US-based employees and is placing about 100 more on furlough for several months. A company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the layoffs affect employees in the advertising, editorial and corporate divisions. No magazine closures are expected, and no titles are moving to a digital-only format. Condé Nast is providing severance packages and job-placement resources to employees who are getting laid off, and will cover the full cost of healthcare premiums for the employees who will be furloughed, according to a memo from Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch. Last month, the company announced a round of cutbacks that included pay cuts of between 10 and 20 percent for employees, making $100K a year or more, with Lynch and the external members of the company’s board saw their salaries drop by 50 percent.
A new round of furloughs is also hitting Tribune Publishing, which operates newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun. The New York Post reports that the company has reached a tentative agreement with the Chicago Tribune Guild, which represents its newsroom employees, to furlough 160 editorial staffers for one week per month in May, June and July. A tweet from the Guild said that the deal “fends off permanent pay reductions and assures us that the company will not try further cuts until at least the end of July.” Unionized employees with an annual base pay of $40,000 or above will be subject to the furloughs and those affected have the option of taking a buyout package.