The Quebec government is offering a helping hand to ailing print newsrooms with a new financial assistance plan.
The province unveiled the measures on Wednesday, which add up to a $50-million annual boost until 2024 to aid local media organizations in the midst of a journalism crisis.
“The aid package we are presenting today is part of a balanced approach,” said Finance Minister Eric Girard in a statement.
As part of the plan, newspapers are eligible for a refundable tax credit of 35 per cent for the salaries of journalists. It is retroactive to Jan 1, 2019 and valid for an annual salary up to $75,000.
A tax credit for the digital transformation of traditional print media companies has also been extended by one year to Dec. 31, 2023. The government is also prolonging the ministry of culture and communications’ current support program for print newsrooms by two years until 2024.
At the same time, traditional newspapers requiring immediate financial assistance will be able to apply for temporary funding through Investissement Québec.
The measures come after media representatives appeared before a committee tasked with studying the industry’s crisis at the province’s National Assembly in late August.
Over the past 10 years, newspapers have seen a sharp drop in subscriptions and have lost advertising revenue to online giants like Google and Facebook.
Many pointed out that traditional newspapers have struggled amid those changes. During the hearings, some also urged the government to act before Quebec’s local media disappears.
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— With files from The Canadian Press