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Capitalism’s assault on journalism

Ogden Newspapers, which purchased The Aspen Times and Glenwood Springs Post Independent in December, isn’t a hedge fund or private equity firm, but Alden Global Capital, the outfit that’s taken over the Denver Post and the Boulder Camera, is.

This is all part of a disturbing and dangerous trend. In 2002, 5% of newspapers were owned by hedge funds or private equity firms. By 2019 it was 23%. Alden Global itself has acquired approximately 200 papers.

These capitalistic predators make these purchases with borrowed money, which isn’t exactly good for the economy, then transfer those debts to their new companies, which requires those enterprises to take drastic austerity measures to stay afloat. That’s why the editorial staffs at the Denver Post and the Boulder Camera have been cut by two thirds. Readers are getting a higher dose of AP wire copy and fewer stories of local interest.



Capitalism has been having its usual effect of misdirected priorities on the newspaper business for a long time. The amount of news you get bears no relation to the amount of news there is to report, but how much advertising the ad pushers were able to sell for that day.

When I covered the tragic 1994 Storm King Mountain Fire where 14 firefighters died for the Glenwood Post, I got back to the newsroom tired and dirty and started to hammer out what was the biggest story in Glenwood Springs history. The managing editor poked his head out of his office and said, “Cut it short. We have a light paper tomorrow.”




He was kidding, but he might not have been. Profits rule all.

Fred Malo Jr.

Carbondale

 


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