But those operations run just several sites each, while Mr. Timpone’s network has more than twice as many sites as the nation’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett. And while political groups have helped finance networks like Courier, investors in news operations typically don’t weigh in on specific articles.

“We endured cut after cut after cut. I had to lay people off,” he said. “We were under assault, really, from our own owners, and nothing that we did — not being faster, smarter, more digital — none of those things really matter when a hedge fund doesn’t really care about the community or the journalism that the newspaper it owns produces. It’s really about this quarter’s return.”
Ryckman walked away and, several months later, helped found The Colorado Sun, a website that specializes in the sort of public-interest journalism that Alden was unwilling to fund.

“Our nation desperately needs a new COVID-19 economic relief package and we cannot afford an abrupt halt in negotiations. Tens of millions of Americans remain out of work, including 11,000 journalists laid off in the first half of 2020. Everyone suffers when journalists lose jobs and we lose access to critical, life-saving news and information.

As more local news outlets close their doors amid dried up revenue streams, destructive hedge fund ownership, and tech platform monopolies, the issue has become as clear as day: local news is facing an extinction-level event. 

The NewsGuild is fighting to save the news, and the “Paths Forward Town Hall” this week provided insight into the scope of the crisis facing American journalism, and a stirring call to action from some of the leading thinkers on building a sustainable future for the news industry.

Dramatic changes in news ownership have been recent and swift. Today, hedge funds control one-third of U.S. newspapers, and all four of the largest local newspaper chains are owned or managed by these poorly regulated financial institutions. Three-quarters of the top 200 newspapers by circulation are owned or controlled by hedge funds.

Reporters from 75 or more news outlets across the United States descended on Kenosha, Wisconsin, to cover emotional and sometimes violent protests in the days after Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back multiple times by Kenosha police.

But when community members gathered for a prayer service on the shores of Lake Michigan a few days after Blake was shot, the only reporter present was from the local paper, the Kenosha News. 

When Evan Brandt began working at The Mercury as a municipal reporter in 1997, his beat focused on one community -- Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and the daily paper had 14 reporters, including a few sportswriters.

Twenty-three years later, Brandt, The Mercury’s only municipal reporter, covers nine school districts and 30 communities in and near Pottstown, a town of 23,000 people 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

“You get good at multitasking,” Brandt, 56, said matter-of-factly, a tone of weariness in his voice.

Alden Global Capital, known for plundering newspapers, plans to expand ownership of Tribune Publishing

Move is latest Alden ploy in a larger effort to gut newsrooms across the country, detailed in new, comprehensive report

NewsGuild-CWA Outlines Path for Industry’s Survival

Sept. 11, 2020 - Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund known for pillaging newspapers, plans to expand its ownership stake in Tribune Publishing as soon as Jan.