Sign the letter to Alden Global Capital president Heath Freeman and demand transparency from the owner of America’s second-largest newspaper chain. The public deserves to know who’s gutting hundreds of papers for ever-greater profits — because democracy depends on journalism!
By DENNIS TAYLOR
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.
Looking north to the future of news media in 2017
By JULIE REYNOLDS
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”
Ever-higher health costs show harvesting every dollar is (still) all that matters
By Thomas Peele
Standing in a shaded backyard in Northern California on a recent Saturday afternoon as kids in Halloween costumes flittered all about, another father and I fell into a long conversation. I knew him only vaguely – one of his daughters is in the same class as one of my twins – and we bounced around a bunch of light topics, fantasy baseball, car seats, the school our children shared.
Then a local bond measure for a commuter rail district came up. I dropped a few things I knew about the agency – including how generous its employee benefits are. The man’s wife also worked for a local government and he casually mentioned that was how his family obtained its health coverage — with no employee contribution to the cost.
Try working for a newspaper, I thought. Or a newspaper owned by a cutthroat hedge fund. Continue reading “The purpose of a newspaper in the hedge fund era”
BY JULIE REYNOLDS
At Digital First Media newspapers across the country, employees are struggling with a baffling maze of new insurance plans that in the end will leave most workers spending more than ever on health care. Continue reading “Under confusing new plans, DFM news workers’ health costs rise”
Minnesota’s oldest newspaper is being eviscerated
ST. PAUL >> Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund that owns the Pioneer Press, has cut more than 60 jobs in St. Paul — half of them from the newsroom — since it acquired a majority stake in the newspaper in 2012. That represents about 25 percent of the staff and 1,500 years of experience. Another 182 people lost their jobs when Alden outsourced the printing of the paper in 2014.
And the cuts continue — eight more people have left or will be leaving the newsroom soon in a new round of buyouts.
St. Paul is a great city. It deserves a great newspaper. The Pioneer Press has been an essential source of news and advertising in the east metro for nearly 170 years. Employees at the Pioneer Press have never stopped caring or going above-and-beyond to bring the newspaper to the people who depend on us.
A conversation with Fredric Rutberg, president of New England Newspapers Inc.