Newspapers Finally Fighting Back Against Newspaper Owners

It’s about goddamn time: 

Here in Colorado, Alden has embarked on a cynical strategy of constantly reducing the amount and quality of its offerings, while steadily increasing its subscription rates. In doing so, the hedge fund managers — often tellingly referred to as “vulture capitalists” — have hidden behind a narrative that adequately staffed newsrooms and newspapers can no longer survive in the digital marketplace. Try to square that with a recent lawsuit filed by one of Digital First Media’s minority shareholders that claims Alden has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars of its newspaper profits into shaky investments completely unrelated to the business of gathering news.

For 30 years this has been the case. Sure, Craigslist didn’t help, but all Craigslist and the Internet did was remove the ability of newspapers’ owners to steal without COMPLETELY gutting the place. Now they can’t stop stealing and/or gambling, but the safety net that was travel, automotive and classified advertising is gone.

This year began with The Post recovering from more bloodshed as it packed up to leave its namesake city, its journalists clinging to the hope that a newly launched initiative to charge for online content would improve its fortunes.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it at increasing volumes until SOMEBODY FUCKING BELIEVES ME: No amount of income will fix a fundamentally broken structure. It will only prop it up for a time. Without independence and investment this is gonna keep happening SO STOP GODDAMN FALLING FOR IT, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE PROFESSIONAL SKEPTICS, IT’S EMBARRASSING.

We get it that things change. We get it that our feelings are raw and no doubt color our judgment. But we’ve been quiet too long.

No shit.

I’m sorry, I should be cheering this, except that I’ve been writing about it since 2003 and living it since 1994 and it would be nice if the dozen people who figured this out years ago didn’t keep getting called hysterical in meetings.

The smart money is that in a few years The Denver Post will be rotting bones. And a major city in an important political region will find itself without a newspaper.

It’s time for those Coloradans who care most about their civic future to get involved and see to it that Denver gets the newsroom it deserves.

Like, how, though? Paying for news and pumping more money into these hedge-funded pits? That’s the only suggestion  I’ve seen recently that applies to ordinary people, most of who just want a fuckin’ paper on their porch and/or a website that doesn’t heave up its breakfast all over your browser.

I have suggestions if you want them. Support your local independent news outlet. Find out who’s making real news in your community and support that, pay for that, back that. Employee buyouts, another good option for profitable shops, will work only with bankers willing to lend the kind of money it would take. That would also require people who considering they are journalists are really fucking risk averse to take risks not just with their lives but with their families’ and that’s a hard row to hoe if you don’t love this in your bones.

Everybody says they do, but not everybody does. A lot of people will watch their colleagues walk out the door and not do shit because kids, mortgage, etc, and fear is a powerful motivator. It kept people silent for years when there were enough of them to stop it. Now there aren’t enough of them left.

Sometimes the entire Resistance fits in a Yugo and I honestly don’t know if there’s any gas left in the tank.


2 thoughts on “Newspapers Finally Fighting Back Against Newspaper Owners

  1. A newspaper on one’s porch is apparently a novelty. According to my local paper, three feet to the left of my front door is so much easier to deliver the paper to and the only way to retain delivery people. Sure, I guess technically it’s in front of an entry to my home if the car is the one who reads the damn paper. Just who will these delivery drivers deliver to if people cancel? *grumble, grumble* In the meantime, the paper still has lots of money to give away free copies at the grocery store along with grocery gift cards to new subscribers.

    I’m trying to support local journalism, would continue to do so if they didn’t make it so darned annoying.

    1. That’s honestly more of what’s behind the hemorrhage of subscribers in the early 2000s than digital. Consolidating delivery and farming it out resulted in crapsack customer service and then since the product was shit anyway, they raised the price!



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