Tribune Blues

Alden is the deepest and most aggressive cost-cutter in the American news industry.  The company hollowed out some of America’s once-greatest local news organizations including The (San Jose) Mercury News and The Denver Post, both of which are now news organizations on life-support. 

An Alden purchase of all of Tribune doesn’t have to be a fait accompli. In fact, the threat of such a deal represents an opportunity for civic-minded local investors across the country, who could use this case to not only save a critical local news institution, but to reinvent it...

Several communities that are home to Alden or Tribune newspapers have tried to fight back. In Denver, following a sharp reduction in newsroom staff, the Denver Post’s editorial page called for Alden to sell the paper to local interests while it still provided journalistic value to its community: “As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved.” Local buyers were unable to offer enough money to interest Alden. A group now called the Colorado Media Project has opted instead to support Colorado public media and other budding nonprofit newsrooms. 

In Baltimore, a community group called “Save Our Sun” has attempted to raise both sufficient capital and community uproar to acquire the Sun from Tribune. The group – which includes local foundations, public officials, and News Guild executives, with support from local celebrities including director John Waters, TV writer and former Sun police reporter David Simon, and baseball Hall of Famer  Cal Ripken Jr., is sincere, serious-minded, and colorful, but has so far been unable to engage Alden or Tribune.

The harsh reality is that no such consortium has proved successful in the past. A civic-minded local investor might prove a much better bet. 

Read source here.