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CWA Newsguild

Exposing Alden Global Capital

Digital First Media is just a front, CWA Newsguild takes action "it was unusal to make news instead of report it"

Alexis Barrau's picture
Jun 20, 2016

A few years ago a secretive Wall Street hedge fund called Alden Global Capital bought Digital First Media (DFM), a management company specializing in newspapers in the United States. Since the hedge fund bought DFM, a thousand jobs have been cut and wages have failed to increase, all while the company continues to show a healthy profit. Now the Communications Workers of America (CWA)-NewsGuild has come up with a campaign called #newsmatters to helps employees mobilize to win the raises they deserve and expose Alden Global Capital for what they really are.

DFM workers have gone more than eight years without a raise and Alden Global Capital had no apparent business strategy for DFM’s newspapers then to slash the workforce and siphon off the profits for their investors. The hedge fund decided to use the profits from DFM as their own personal fund instead of reinvesting in the people who made the profits. According to the CWA News-Guild, Alden Global’ executives use a complex web of funds and business identities to hide the fact that their hedge fund, with ties to the far right, is buying up newspapers and consolidating the media.  As part of this campaign to silence the journalists, they are laying off the very reporters who would normally be investigating and reporting on this behavior.

On June 17, 2016 dozens of people rallied outside The Denver Post building to take a stand against job cuts and the corporate raiding at the newspaper.  Many journalists from around the country looking for jobs have landed in the newsroom of The Denver Post. Back in April DFM offered 26 buyout packages to the staff. According to the Colorado Independent, “If everyone takes one, the newsroom of The Denver Post will have been slashed by one third in the past year alone”.

For the journalist who showed up to the rally, it was unusual to make the news instead of report it. But standing up to their hedge fund owner was ratifyin.  “It’s the first time I’ve ever participated in anything that felt a little bit like a protest,” said Jennifer Brown, an investigative projects reporter who has been at the paper 10 years. “It felt slightly uncomfortable to start, but it felt really good to be out here and be loud about what we’ve been going through. And it’s time we speak up and say this stuff, otherwise it’s just happening. I personally feel I have nothing to lose anymore, they’ve already gutted the place. We might as well be out shouting about it.”

Protests occurred not only in Denver but also at other DFM owned papers including the Mercury News, The Monterey Herald, the Trentonian and many others.  The NewsGuild is asking for everyone to sign their petition to stand up to Alden Global.

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