How Hedge Funds and Private Equity Firms Get Rich Mismanaging America’s Newspapers
Hey there—Weekday circulation for daily and weekly newspapers in the United States stood at 133 million in 1940. By 2018, that number had fallen by 40% to only 73 million—even though the country’s population had grown by around 200 million people within that time span. At a time when local newsrooms are most vulnerable, hedge funds are swooping in to buy them up, only to slash staff and extract every dime they can—without a hint of concern for local journalists.
Half of U.S. dailies are owned by hedge funds or private equity firms. The result has been a hollowing out of America’s newspapers. The 71,000 journalists and other newsroom employees employed before the Great Recession has shrunk to 35,000 nationwide—a 51% decline. Reduced to a fraction of their former size, many newsrooms are simply unable to adequately cover the news.
American newspapers are a lynchpin of our democracy that is being weakened by greed and vulture capitalism. Hedge funds and private equity are not going to save journalism. Corporate interests are a threat to journalists and to journalism, and their power has to be curbed if we’re going to save the news industry.