Digital First Media rewards prize-winning work with layoffs
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA — Digital First Media, owner of the Bay Area News Group, plans to move copy desk work to Southern California, triggering 20 more layoffs from a shrunken roster of 92 Guild-represented employees in the East Bay.
The announcement came only a week after the East Bay news staff was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “relentless” breaking news coverage of the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.
Financial managers at Alden Global Capital didn’t need to go far when searching for a place to park a few hundred million dollars of pension funds held on behalf of news workers at The Mercury News and Denver Post.
In fact, the fund managers decided the best choice was right in front of them: They invested the San Jose and Denver pension dollars in high-risk hedge funds controlled by their own company.
Our surprising findings on where US newspapers owners stand, politically
By JULIE REYNOLDS
If you’ve ever wondered where the owners of America’s allegedly “liberal” newspapers actually fall on the political spectrum, we’ve got the info right here.
DFMworkers.org recently looked up the campaign contributions of the owners and top executives and shareholders of U.S. newspaper chains. The results surprised us, and maybe they’ll surprise you, too. Continue reading “POLITICS AND THE NEWS”→
WASHINGTON — Employees at one of the nation’s biggest news organizations are launching a campaign to fight Wall Street’s ongoing attack on quality journalism — a fight likely to intensify under the new Trump administration.
Members of The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America announced today a new phase of the #NEWSMATTERS campaign at Digital First Media (DFM), the second-largest chain of newspapers and online news sites in the country.
The campaign is aimed at resisting the slash-and-burn, asset-stripping strategy of Alden Global Capital, the secretive New York hedge fund that owns DFM.
At the Mercury, a Digital First Media newspaper based in Pottstown, Pa., the newsroom once had 16 news-side reporters. Now it has four. The paper no longer has any photographers.
This type of downshifting is taking place in newsrooms all over the country, but appears to be more extreme at DFM papers. The few reporters who remain are now struggling to cover their own beats as well as several others, a phenomenon that carries unintended consequences for both news coverage and the mental and physical health of news workers.
Just when it seems no further downsizing is possible, the Digital First Media newspaper chain greeted employees in the first weeks of 2017 with more layoffs, elimination of positions and continued outsourcing of jobs.
With accusations of media bias flung from all sectors, the rise of politically motivated ‘fake news,’ and the President-elect’s vocal disdain of reporters, 2016 was one of the most over-the-top-dramatic years we’ve seen for journalism and news workers.
For NewsGuild-CWA members at Digital First Media newspapers, the year began auspiciously. In January, a dozen units from the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain joined together in an unprecedented coalition to fight for long-sought wage increases and to launch a national #NewsMatters campaign to raise awareness about the importance of local journalism.
It’s a fight that continues as we enter a new year with nothing less than democracy at stake.
To inform and inspire as we continue our efforts, here’s a look back at some of journalism’s highlights and lowlights in 2016, plus a glance toward what 2017 promises. Continue reading “THE YEAR THAT WAS”→