News Whiteouts: Edit Staff Stages Rally Against Alden Global Capital

Now this is not to demean the fine journalists still working at the Chicago Tribune. But they are the first to admit that working conditions could be better. 

Indeed, several union employees staged a rally in Chicago on Saturday, protesting their lack of a labor contract for five years. 

“One of the main reasons we wanted to unionize was to make sure that our newsroom wouldn’t be gutted – to make sure that it wouldn’t be the story,” Laura Rodríguez Presa, a senior reporter for the Chicago Tribune, told WTTW.

Alden Global is not acquiring newspapers at the pace seen in 2021, when it purchased Tribune Publishing  But it did pick up TheSan Diego Union-Tribune this summer, and promptly sought newsroom reductions in the form of buyouts.  

Of course, buyouts are relatively benign when compared to out-and-out layoffs. Still, staff cuts of any kind are hardly beneficial for readers trying to keep up with local news.



“Half of the daily newspaper circulation in America is now owned by hedge funds or private equity firms,” wrote Steven Waldman, president of Rebuild Local News, in an op-ed on Poynter. “Studies (and our own eyes) have shown that when financial firms like Alden buy local newspapers they cut local reporting staffs far more than family papers or nonprofits do.”

Sometimes you have to wonder if a firm like Alden cares what kind of business it is in. 

Case in point: Last year, Alden’s Twenty Lake Holdings subsidiary purchased 33 Greyhound bus stations in the U.S.

Following this, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority reportedly has been in talks with the local Greyhound bus licensee to move service from an historic downtown terminal to the Puritas Rapid transit station, seven stops out of downtown. 

What does this have to do with publishing? Not much, except that here, too, the customer comes last. 


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