Mar 9, 2009

Employee-owned papers?

The union at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer first broached the idea of buying its threatened newspaper from Hearst Corp last month. Now the union representing workers at the San Francisco Chronicle has approached Hearst with a purchase proposal of its own. Is this something more than an effort to gain a toehold in the negotiations if the paper is put up for sale?

From the SF Weekly:
The request was made in a written set of suggestions for keeping the paper alive that the California Media Workers Guild submitted to Hearst earlier this week. "It is our intention to form a public-labor partnership to explore the possibility of acquiring the Chronicle should the paper be offered for sale," the Guild proposal states. "If necessary, we will keep the paper going on borrowed funds and volunteer labor."
Borrowed funds and volunteer labor? The former sounds like what's already been going on and the latter sounds like the very thing the guild is trying to avoid.

2 comments:

doomsday prophet said...

There's a difference between sacrificing so that bad management can dodge accountability for their mistakes, and sacrificing so that you can your co-owners can restore your company to solvency after a decade's worth of blundering.

At this point, I think the only way out for the industry is for most of these chains to go under and completely collapse, so that local ownership can rise from their ashes and start again with sane business models based on sustainability, not ROI and maximizing shareholder profits.

It's going to take a while, and it's going to be ugly, but the hole they've dug for us is probably too deep to claw out of - and even if the media chains DO get out of it, what kind of industry will these corporate raiders have created?

Anonymous said...

I agree, I would rather see local companies spring up - ones that don't own a gazillion papers.