News workers from across the country stood up Thursday in support of Pulitzer-winning DFM reporters.
Members of the Bay Area News Group newsroom staff, winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the deadly Ghost Ship Fire, publicly denounced their corporate owner’s business practices Thursday.
Journalists including Thomas Peele, Harry Harris, Matthias Gafni, David DeBolt, Erin Baldassari, Aaron Davis, Karl Mondon and Ray Chavez gathered outside the Oakland offices of the East Bay Times and issued a statement condemning the ongoing layoffs and other cutbacks by Digital First Media and its majority owner, Alden Global Capital. Veteran crime reporter Harry Harris also wrote a statement calling for new owners who recognize that true journalism is a worthy investment.
Click here to listen to Guild member Thomas Peele, a reporter at the East Bay Times, comment on the destruction caused by Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund that owns Digital First Media.
It appears to be the first public protest of its kind, in which members of a Pulitzer Prize winning team have gone public in denouncing the anti-journalism policies of their own employer. And while they held their press conference, Guild members across the nation engaged in solidarity actions, like these folks at the New York Times:
Now, a minority shareholder in the news chain, the hedge fund Solus Alternative Asset Management LP, is taking Alden to court over nearly identical claims. The lawsuit suggests that employees at Digital First Media news organizations are hardly the only ones unhappy with Alden’s stewardship — a disaster not only for local journalism, but also for some of Alden’s own hedge fund peers.
Solus alleges Alden has mismanaged its newspapers through insider transactions, self-dealing, and a murky web of Alden subsidiaries.
A detailed summary of the controversy by investigative reporter Julie Reynolds appears today at dfmworkers.org, a website sponsored by The NewsGuild-CWA, a Washington, D.C.-based union that represents Digital First Media workers in the San Francisco Bay Area; Monterey, CA; Denver, CO; St. Paul, MN; suburban Detroit, MI; suburban Philadelphia, PA; and Kingston, NY. Click here to read TNG’s press release on this topic.
For more about our efforts to defend quality journalism, visit the DFM workers’ website.