For immediate release
Contact: Sally Davidow
The NewsGuild-CWA today called on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to conduct a review of the proposed acquisition of Tribune Publishing by Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund that is notorious in the news industry as a bad actor.
Tribune Publishing is an essential source of local news for more than a dozen communities, including Chicago, Baltimore, Boston and Hartford.
The union, which represents more than 24,000 journalists and others in the U.S. and Canada, says the hedge fund’s SEC filings suggest that its “beneficial owners” – the investors who own or control its funds – are increasingly foreign entities or individuals.
“In an era when foreign governments and non-state actors have sought to use news outlets to undermine the public’s faith in democracy and democratic institutions, it is more important than ever to scrutinize foreign investment in news outlets on which millions of Americans rely,” said NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss.
Through the MediaNews Group, Alden already owns approximately 100 publications, including The Denver Post, The Mercury News and the Boston Herald. With its 31.6% ownership stake and three of seven directors on the board, it exerts extensive control over Tribune.
Despite Alden’s ambitions to control a greater share of the U.S. news industry, the company has refused requests by multiple United States senators to disclose whose money it is ultimately investing in outlets like Tribune Publishing and MediaNews Group. Many of its investment funds are headquartered in the Cayman Islands, an international tax secrecy haven, where its shares of MediaNews Group and Tribune are held by shell companies.
“Now more than ever, the U.S. public’s access to reliable, credible news sources is critical to the national security of the United States,” Schleuss said.
“These sources are increasingly in jeopardy, as news outlets – especially those owned or controlled by Alden – are struggling to stay afloat,” Schleuss said.
“If Alden wants to add major news outlets like the Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant and Baltimore Sun to its portfolio, it should be required to explain whose money it is investing.”
The NewsGuild-CWA represents more than 24,000 journalists and other workers in the United States and Canada, including approximately 3,000 who have joined in the last two years. NewsGuild members work at hundreds of news outlets—including big publications like the New York Times, small papers like the Pottstown Mercury and digital-only sites like Buzzfeed News. The Guild is a sector of the Communications Workers of America.