DEKALB, IL — The Northern Illinois Newspaper Association on Feb. 5 posted a statement on its website calling for journalists, news organizations and the general public to rally around Tribune Company employee efforts to maintain the integrity of one of our nation’s great news organizations.
Alden Global, a New York hedge fund, bought a 32 percent stake in Tribune Publishing in November but is restricted from increasing its stake in the company to more than 33 percent until June 30, 2020.
The hedge fund has come under fire for purchasing about 200 publications through an operating company known as MediaNews Group, then making massive staff cuts at those news organizations.
The Tribune Company includes not just the flagship Chicago Tribune, but many longtime, well-respected daily and weekly publications in the Chicago suburbs, including but not limited to The Beacon-News (Aurora), The Courier-News (Elgin), the Lake County News-Sun, the Post-Tribune, The Daily Southtown and Pioneer Press.
“We feel for those Tribune Company employees, who are concerned not only for their jobs and families but also how the community at large will be affected,” NINA President Margarita Mendoza said. “Today, we call other journalists organizations of the area to join us in this call to action.”
After Alden purchased The Denver Post and eliminated more than 75 percent of its staff, the Denver City Council unanimously passed a proclamation asking Alden to either invest in local journalism or divest its interest in the newspapers it owns.
NINA is asking editors of Northern Illinois newspapers, college and high school student publications to write editorials in support of Tribune staffers and for Northern Illinois units of government to consider passing resolutions similar to that of the Denver City Council.
“A strong and well-resourced watchdog media is essential in protecting the rights of the citizens of the city and state,” the NINA statement said. “The Chicago Tribune has been, and must continue to be, a source residents, business leaders and others can rely on to keep them informed and watch out for their best interests.”
The Northern Illinois Newspaper Association was founded in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Donald Grubb, head of the Northern Illinois University Journalism Department. It remains based at NIU in DeKalb, and its members are news organizations and independent contractors in the northern one-third of Illinois.
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