CHICAGO — Journalists at the Chicago Tribune have signed a petition to the company’s board of directors pleading for it to consider selling the venerable publisher to a local or civic-minded group.
“We need new owners,” wrote Tribune City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt on Twitter. It comes after Alden Global Capital, a group known for cutting costs and eliminating newsroom jobs, purchased a 32% stake in Tribune Publishing.
Unions representing journalists at several news outlets across the country owned by Tribune Publishing released a statement saying its members “are increasingly worried about their news organizations’ futures under ‘strip-miners’ Alden.” When Alden took over the Denver Post, the union said one-third of the newspaper’s staff was eliminated.
The public plea for protections or more journalism-oriented owners includes a social media campaign in which current Chicago Tribune journalists take the remarkable step of speaking-out against their new owners.
“The Washington Post, Minneapolis Star Tribune and LA Times are thriving with civic-minded owners,” wrote Tribune City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt. “The Chicago Tribune is in mortal danger from its new hedge fund overlord Alden. Essentially our entire newsroom is calling for investment.”
When WGN attempted to contact Alden Global Capital in New York for comment, we asked for a company spokesperson and were then transferred to someone who said “not interested, thank you” and hung-up. Two subsequent calls to the investment fund’s main number yielded another hang-up and voicemail.