July 13, 2020 – Chatham Asset Management, the hedge fund that is McClatchy Co.’s largest creditor, won an auction to buy the bankrupt news company on Friday. McClatchy owns 30 publications in 14 states and Washington, D.C., including the Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star, the Sacramento Bee, the Charlotte Observer, the (Raleigh) News & Observer and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Throughout the McClatchy bankruptcy, The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America has done what it always does: use its collective strength to protect journalists and media workers. Since the filing of this bankruptcy, the Guild and its legal counsel have worked determinedly to ensure that union contracts will remain in force and members’ employment will continue uninterrupted.
“Throughout the bankruptcy process, we have stressed how crucial it is for the winning bidder to develop a constructive relationship with the Guild and its members. At a minimum, that requires adoption of our collective bargaining agreements,” said Marian Needham, Executive Vice President of The NewsGuild, who serves on the creditors committee. “We are deeply concerned that this venerable newspaper chain – which has won 54 Pulitzer Prizes – will now transfer to the ownership of a hedge fund more known for its drive to maximize profits than for its commitment to producing quality journalism.”
“Hedge funds and private equity have destroyed local news to the detriment of our democracy,” said NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss. “It’s a shame no civic-minded organization or individual stepped up to protect these storied institutions and the talented journalists who work there. The Guild will continue to fight for journalists and to make sure news organizations are accountable to the communities they cover.”