The journalism industry just received another body blow, and this one is devastating.
A vulture hedge fund that’s been called the “grim reaper of American newspapers” just bought Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, New York Daily News, and six other major U.S. dailies.
Everyone knows what’s coming next. When Alden Global Capital bought the Denver Post in 2018, they canned one-third of the newsroom on day one. Regional newspapers in Northern California saw 850 out of 1,000 reporting jobs eliminated. As Vanity Fair put it, the “hedge fund vampire that bleeds newspapers dry now has the Chicago Tribune by the throat.”
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The business of hedge fund vultures like Alden Global Capital isn’t journalism, it’s strip mining. First, they buy out once-proud newspapers. Then they slash costs by gutting newsrooms. And after cashing in huge short-term profits and executive bonuses, they leave what’s left of the newspaper to die a slow death.
But it’s not just Alden Global Capital. Wall Street hedge funds are taking an ever-more prominent role in the newspaper industry, replacing family owners who nurtured great journalistic institutions with financial industry scavengers who care only about the next quarterly profit report.
This is a crisis for democracy. Every time a reporter is laid off, it becomes that much easier for corporate America and corrupt government officials to get away with ripping off the public.
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