Are we watching the final death knell of news in Chicago? We have already witnessed the collapse of suburban papers, and, now, we may be witnessing the end of the Chicago Tribune. The Trib has been a regional leader but in recent decades, it has been fighting to stay alive.
Now two veteran reporters from the Tribune, David Jackson and Gary Marx, are sounding an alarm with an op-ed they wrote in the New York Time. You can read it here, “Will The Chicago Tribune Be the Next Newspaper Picked to the Bone?”
They note that the hedge fund Alden Global Capital is now the Tribune‘s largest shareholder. Alden is famous for buying news groups and stripping them down for profit. Jackson and Marx note,
“Alden’s strategy of acquiring struggling local newsrooms and stripping them of assets has built the personal wealth of the hedge fund’s investors. But Alden has imposed draconian staff cuts that decimated The Denver Post and other once-proud newspapers that have been vital to their communities and to American democracy. Those newsrooms, which put a spotlight on local political corruption, have served as forums for community voices and have driven the coverage of regional television, radio and online outlets…”
“The alternative is a ghost version of The Chicago Tribune — a newspaper that can no longer carry out its essential watchdog mission. Illinois’s most vulnerable people would lose a powerful guardian, its corrupt politicians would be freer to exploit and plunder, and this prairie metropolis would lose the common forum that binds together and lifts its citizens.”
You can read the entire editorial in the MVCC Library’s New York Times database.