by Jim Hightower
The Unreported News About Your “Newspaper”
Why would your local newspaper not even mention an important local news story? Perhaps because it’s a damning story about the conglomerate owner of the paper.
This month, hundreds of journalists working for major dailies in some two dozen cities across America joined in an extraordinary mass walkout from their jobs. They were protesting the rank greed, gross mismanagement, and abandonment of democratic duty by the owner of their papers. That owner is Gannett, a massive financial conglomerate that has grabbled control of more than 200 dailies in 43 states. This is a huge, multidimensional news story about news itself – but where was the coverage?
Big Story Number One: Unbeknownst to most people in these communities, they no longer have a local daily paper – control over everything from news content to price now belongs to beancounting strangers at Gannett headquarters hundreds of miles away.
Big Story Number Two: More fundamentally, control has moved from journalists to bankers. Gannett is owned by SoftBank, a Japanese hedge fund that has rapaciously looted American newsrooms to grab extravagant fees, salaries, and profits for its rich financial hucksters.
Big Story Number Three: The workaday hometown reporters, photographers, and others who actually produce Gannett’s papers are making a gutsy stand against the profiteer, not just for themselves, but for the essential ideals of journalistic integrity and grassroots democracy.
Biggest Story of All: Gannett’s 200+ papers cravenly joined in a concerted blanket cover-up of this momentous story, stiffing the public they’re supposed to serve and disrespecting the ethical stand of their own employees. Even Gannett’s flagship paper USA Today – which regularly reports on other labor actions – took a dive on covering the journalistic malfeasance of its own overseer.
To fight hedge fund corporatization of journalism, local news, and democracy go to newsguild.org.