Worried journalists at the Chicago Tribune, the city’s biggest daily, are pounding the pavement and are personally seeking out investors to buy their newspaper company in an effort to stave off its possible acquisition by Alden Global Capital.
Alden Global Capital (AGC) which is a New York financial hedge fund, acquired a large stake in Tribune Publishing which is the parent company of the Chicago Tribune.
Journalists at the Chicago Tribune are concerned due to the reputation of the cut-to-the-bone management strategy that AGC is known for usually enacting deep staff cuts a year or so after it acquires a company.
That’s what happened at the Denver Post in 2018 and a group of its writers and editors attacked AGC with their lead article lam-blasting its executives as ‘vulture capitalists.’
Also, last year, in New York, The Daily News had its newsroom staff cut in half a year after it was bought by Tribune Publishing (AGC).
In Oakland, the Alden-owned Bay Area News Group made up of daily and community papers lost almost 100 jobs since AGC’s take over in 2016. Journalists there last month printed leaflets and handed them out at a Christmas tree lighting event telling people about ‘AGC and its destruction of local news.’
AGC isn’t the only one doing this. GateHouse Media last year also did the same thing when it bought out the second largest chain in the newspaper publishing business, Gannett, in a $1.2 billion merger.
These deals are being driven by the finance industry which swoops in scooping up publications that are struggling, cutting their staffs then wrings them of their profits.
These actions have driven journalists and editors to form unions like NewsGuild, a union that represents journalists at many of Gannet newspapers. Journalists in many cities cross the nation are working to form their own unions to protect their jobs as well as to seek out new ownership or sometimes just to raise a ruckus.
As reporters and editors at the Chicago Tribune worked at forming their own union, they were at the same time seeking out entrepreneurs and investors locally and nationally to buy their paper and even posted an article in the New York Times calling the publics attention to the threat to journalism by AGC.
In recent years the following Tribune Publishing newspapers had organizing drives and formed unions: The Hartford Courant (CT), the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk (VA), the Allentown Morning Call (PA), and – after more than 170 years – the Chicago Tribune (IL).