Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

News companies that have been lobbying for legislation that makes it easier to negotiate with companies like Google and Facebook will testify before Congress on Tuesday, in the first of several hearings probing the power of Big Tech.

Why it matters: The advertising-supported business model that underpinned journalism for decades has collapsed, leading to the closure of hundreds of newspapers across America.

How it works: Newspapers worry that outdated government rules about consolidation and collective action prevents them being able to join forces to compete for their share of digital advertising dollars.

  • So they're asking Congress for a four-year antitrust safe harbor that would allow them to work together to negotiate better deals with major internet platforms.

The details: The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, the subject of Tuesday's hearing, is spearheaded by the News Media Alliance, a trade group that represents thousands of newspapers including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

  • Despite multiple drafts and proposals over the past two years, the bill never advanced.
  • In March, the bill was re-introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the main antitrust watchdog in the House.
  • The bill now has has a Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Collins, Doug (R- GA), which supporters hope will help persuade Republicans to rally behind the measure.
  • The bill was also introduced by a pair of bipartisan members in the Senate in June.

The Alliance is hoping to appeal to lawmakers whose local newspapers are dying in the wake of an economic market collapse for print media.

  • "The major tech platforms act as our regulators," News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern tells Axios. "They stand between news publishers and most of our readers, and determine everything about the relationship.  We need the ability to organize ourselves and fight for a sustainable future for quality journalism.”

Skeptics argue that, even with collective bargaining power, newspapers won't be able to rebuild their businesses.

Yes, but: Congress doesn't typically intervene in private negotiations around content distribution.

  • TV distributors and cable operators have for years unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to to intervene over rising "retransmission rates," or the rates they have to pay TV networks to carry their content.

The big picture: The battle between news companies and tech companies is increasingly bitter.

  • For example, Google is pushing back on the News Media Alliance's latest piece of research about how much money Google makes off of news companies.
  • “These back-of-the-envelope calculations are inaccurate as a number of experts are pointing out," a Google spokesperson said.

Be smart: Around the world, regulators and advocacy groups are looking to create a healthier news environment by targeting tech companies with new rules.

  • Most notably, earlier this year European Union member states approved a controversial Copyright Directive that would force Google to pay a tax for linking out to news articles. Google has suggested that the measure could force it to shut down its Google News operation in Europe.

Our thought bubble: Even if the bill does pass, don't expect newspapers to recover overnight. Forecasts project that social media and video platforms will continue to take the majority of ad growth away from publishers for the foreseeable future.

Go deeper

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

2 hours ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).