WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), author of the Newspaper Revitalization Act of 2009, issued the following statement upon news that the nonprofit Sunlight for All Institute would acquire The Baltimore Sun, Capital Gazette and other Maryland newspapers as part of the sale of Tribune Publishing.
“I start my day with The Baltimore Sun. It is Maryland’s paper of record. The Capital Gazette – one of America’s oldest publications — keeps watch on our state capital, Annapolis. Both serve the public interest every day. Through in-depth reporting and local focus, they hold leaders and citizens accountable. They educate us and share in our celebrations and sorrows. They guide us during crises like the current pandemic, floods, storms and social unrest. Operating The Baltimore Sun, Capital Gazette and other sister publications under a locally owned, nonprofit entity is very welcome news. I’ve known Stewart Bainum, Jr. for years and I trust his leadership and good intentions for Maryland readers.
“America’s news media is undergoing a transformation. Newspapers are disappearing. While Americans have access to many news sources, we primarily rely on newspapers for in-depth reporting that follows important issues, records events and exposes misdeeds. In fact, much of the reporting on radio, television and the Internet gathers its storylines from a shrinking number of newspaper reporters who cover the news on a daily basis and know their communities and topical portfolios.
“Good governance and transparency needs media to do what it does best without the constraints of antiquated business models that have been pushing traditional newspapers toward the brink of extinction for years. Only through transparency can people gain the knowledge needed to participate and hold their governments accountable. Being transparent should be an organic part of providing a democratic government and empowering citizens. And today, we need an engaged and educated citizenry more than ever.
“More than a decade ago, I urged the newspaper industry to consider supporting legislation that would make it easier for newspapers to choose to become nonprofits if they so desired. Today, nonprofits in the news media have become the norm not only for survival but, tragically, because communities have seen what can happen when the needed local and in-depth reporting is no longer available. We need knowledgeable, local news sources. Maryland needs to know that The Baltimore Sun, Capital Gazette and all our local newspapers will continue to be strong anchors for our state and for our democracy.”