Daily Video

May 26, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Hedge fund known for slashing newsrooms buys Chicago, Baltimore, Boston papers

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video above, click here.

Terms to know: hedge fund: “an investment company that invests its clients’ money in alternative investments to either beat the market or provide a hedge against unforeseen market changes,” according to website The Motley Fool (article here)

Summary: Hari Sreenivasan and NPR’s David Folkenflik discuss a New York hedge fund’s recent acquisition of Tribune Publishing, a $630 million deal. Tribune Publishing has several newspapers, notably The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun, both of which, like thousands of newspapers nationwide, are nearing financial ruin.

  • The hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, already owns several newspapers and has a history of slashing small newspapers by cutting newsroom staff by hundreds.
  • The new deal with the hedge fund was met with resistance from newsroom employees as it worsens the decades’ long decline of local newspapers, signaling the fall of local journalism.

Discussion: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is involved in this multi-million dollar acquisition deal?
  • Why is this business deal causing resistance among Tribune Publishing’s newsroom workers?
  • What are some of the future impacts of hedge funds owning small newspapers?
  • How are local newsrooms a public service to their communities?
  • Where are the organizations willing to help save Tribune Publishing’s papers?
  • When is this happening? How long have local newspapers been struggling?

Focus questions:

  1. How does the consolidation of newspapers affect the journalism industry?
  2. How have activists and organizations tried to help support newspapers and save them from financial ruin?

Media literacy: What other sources and voices would you want to seek out to better understand how local journalists have been impacted by the consolidation of newspapers by hedge funds?

Additional resources:

Be sure to check out PBS NewsHour EXTRA’s new website Journalism in Action at www.journalisminaction.org

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