After McClatchy’s bankruptcy, journalist Julie K. Brown urges Americans to subscribe to local newspapers

“With these smaller newspapers running out across the country, it is creating a collapse of local newspapers and local news and the type of information (they provide) across the country,” said Brown, known for his report on the sex trafficker accused Jeffrey Epstein. “Because there is no number of rumors and the number of local newspapers, (that) has contributed to the divisions that we are experiencing across the country.”
Brown’s comments arrive a few days after the owner of the Herald, McClatchy (MNI), filed for bankruptcy, questioning the future of his newspaper and 29 others across the country.
It is the latest in a years-long decline in local news. Late last year, the giants of the US newspapers Gatehouse and Gannett melted, leading to job cuts and consolidating hundreds of newspapers in the country into a single company. At the same time, Alden Global Capital hedge funds has become the largest shareholder in Tribune Publishing, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant. The staff protested the decision and Tribune Publishing has already done so offered a round of acquisitions to employees this year.

Data from the Department of Labor show that newspaper jobs have declined every year since 1998, with a net loss of nearly 300,000 jobs during that period. This represents a drop of almost 70% in employment.

McClatchy said he plans to stay in business and emerge from bankruptcy in the coming months. The company had tried to cut operating expenses, but it was not enough. He has experienced a net loss of hundreds of millions and an 11% drop in revenue in the first nine months of 2019. He plans to use bankruptcy to reduce legacy debt and retirement obligations and that the process will help him turn faster into a digital news company.

Brown said that while the Herald’s staff – a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper considered for its investigative reports – remains confident, the future of the document is “unknown.”

“I don’t think we know what the impact will be,” said Brown. “We have seen this across the country where some of these other chains have been bought by hedge funds and, in some cases, have dismantled some of these local newspapers. So, of course, we hope this does not happen to our newspaper and documents. owned by McClatchy. “

Media industry analyst Ken Doctor said the hedge fund ownership trend could be worrying about the long-term success of local news.

“Clearly, readers’ habits have changed, but this isn’t new, it’s 2020. This has been a transition that hasn’t worked, these companies depend on the press,” said the doctor on Sunday. However, he said there is money to be gained from owning newspapers – at least in the short term.

“The people who are doing it are the people who are willing to make those tough decisions and cut the product knowing that they are not building a product for tomorrow, but taking the money in the short term,” said Doctor.

But there is still hope for the industry in the form of new business models, such as nonprofit newsrooms or those with wealthy private owners, including the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The doctor said that funding from tech giants like Facebook and Google could help as well, although it is believed that those companies’ Internet advertising platforms are largely responsible for fueling the revenue models supported by newspaper advertising.

“There’s also a lot of push to get Google and Facebook to actually pay the licensing money to these companies and I think we’ll see a lot when the antitrust comes up,” said Doctor, referring to the growing antitrust control of many important technology giants.

Brown also invited readers to subscribe to their local newspapers.

“Most people think they pay $ 100 to $ 200 a month on their cable subscriptions,” said Brown. “Newspapers are a fraction of it. Digital subscriptions cost between $ 10 and $ 15 a month. Actually, it’s not a lot of money considering you’re investing in your community and you’re investing in people from those newspapers who are there to hold people accountable.” elected, people in power. ”


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