Of the 200 largest papers by circulation in the United States, 70% of them are owned by hedge funds. A number of ideas are being considered to help restore local ownership of local papers, including legislation that would provide incentives for hedge funds to sell their newspapers to local buyers.
Tom's next guest today is Jon Schleuss, the national president of the NewsGuild, a division of the Communications Workers of America trade union. The NewsGuild represents more than 20,000 journalists and media professionals across the United States and Canada, including the newsroom employees of the Baltimore Sun.
Mr. Schleuss (pronounced "shloyce" ) got his start in journalism a decade ago as an online editor and manager of a staff of journalists at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He later worked part time as a reporter and weekend host at the local NPR station. In 2013 he joined the Los Angeles Times as a reporter, and five years later led the campaign to secure union representation at the Times, whose newsroom had been non-union for all of its 140 years.
Mr. Schleuss's union has been closely involved in the Save Our Sun campaign to protect the Baltimore Sun from continued cuts by its current owner, Tribune Publishing and its controlling hedge-fund partner, Alden Global Capital, and to press the company to sell the paper to a journalism-centered coalition of local buyers. The NewsGuild is also working with other newspapers and with digital newsrooms across the country facing similar corporate pressures.
Jon Schleuss joins Tom on Zoom.