Tell Gannett’s Board: Don’t Sell Out Our Communities
The vultures are circling, and they’re coming for a newspaper near you.
Digital First Media — which is notorious for gutting newsrooms across the country to turn a profit for its hedge-fund owners — is trying to buy Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper publisher.1
The owners of Digital First Media have been called “vulture capitalists” by journalists in their own newsrooms.2 The company has censored journalists’ work and fired reporters who3 criticize their ruthless tactics — which are designed to pad the bottom line.
In recent years, more and more private-equity companies have been buying up newspapers, slashing jobs, turning newsrooms into shells of their former selves and spending profits on anything BUT journalism.4
This isn’t just bad for newsrooms: It also spells doom for millions of people around the country who rely on their local newspapers to find out what’s happening. When local news disappears, fewer people participate in their communities.5
And while Gannett itself has a questionable track record when it comes to investing in news, if the company sells to Digital First it will decimate news coverage in thousands of communities.
As one journalist noted, if Digital First Media is “knocking on the door, you should lock the deadbolt.”6
Shareholders will pressure Gannett’s board to let the vultures in the door. We can’t let that happen. Tell Gannett to support communities around the country by protecting local news.
1. “Hedge Fund-Backed Media Group Prepares Bid for Gannett,” The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 14, 2019: https://www.wsj.com/articles/hedge-fund-backed-media-group-prepares-bid-for-gannett-11547427720
2. “As Vultures Circle the Denver Post Must Be Saved,” The Denver Post, April 6, 2018: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/04/06/as-vultures-circle-the-denver-post-must-be-saved/
3. “Rejected Denver Post Editorial Decries ‘Outright Censorship’ at Digital First Papers,” Columbia Journalism Review, May 7, 2018: https://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/denver-post-digital-first-media.php
4. “Finance Is Killing the News,” The New Republic, April 18, 2018: https://newrepublic.com/article/148022/finance-killing-news
5. “How We Know Journalism Is Good for Democracy,” Local News Lab, June 20, 2018: https://localnewslab.org/2018/06/20/how-we-know-journalism-is-good-for-democracy/
6. Los Angeles Times Correspondent Matt Pearce via Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/1084620072843239424