New press room cuts to Tribune arouses distrust as “vulture” investor looms: NPR

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Tribune Publishing, owner of Chicago Tribune as well as the New York Daily News, The Baltimore Sun and other newspapers, cut wages, and asked journalists to take time off work in several of these newsrooms.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

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Kiichiro Sato / AP

Tribune Publishing, owner of Chicago Tribune as well as the New York Daily News, The Baltimore Sun and other newspapers, cut wages, and asked journalists to take time off work in several of these newsrooms.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Inside the Tribune Publishing newspaper chain, all eyes are on Thursday’s annual shareholders’ meeting. The hedge fund Alden Global Capital should consolidate its control over the company and cause cuts even more severe than those that the company has implemented.

Citing the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Tribune has just announced unpaid leave at its properties, including New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun. It has also permanently reduced the salaries of many of its journalists.

As the pandemic has hurt media outlets across the country, many Tribune journalists are skeptical of society’s call for shared sacrifice.

In recent years, executives have flourished while newsrooms have experienced waves of cutbacks and layoffs. Shareholders also did so recently with a $ 9 million dividend in March.

Alden is expected to tighten the pressure once it has more influence over the company’s actions. He earned the title of “vulture capitalist” from a leading analyst for increasing the profit margins of the more than 200 American newspapers he owns via Digital First Media, even as the industry sinks further and further. deeper into the financial crisis.

“We have members who sell plasma to help pay for their groceries and bills,” said Sara Gregory, who covers education for Tribune’s. Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia, and is president of the local Tidewater Media Guild. “We have people who make a lot of sacrifices to do the work that they have and that they feel called to do.”

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