by myddaddict, Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 07:23:32 AM EST
The Boston Globe reported yesterday on the Newspaper Guild's possible buyout of several Knight-Ridder papers, in the wake of a shareholder move to force the newspaper chain to explore a sale. The Newspaper Guild is part of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
What does this buyout mean for workers, and for the media audience generally? More on the flip...
But there is an interesting pattern to note in the papers under consideration:
The nine newspapers identified by the union as potential targets are the San Jose Mercury News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Akron Beacon Journal, the Duluth News Tribune, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Monterey Herald and the Grand Forks Herald.
A pretty fair number of those papers are in swing states. And while that is probably a coincidence, we can't help but consider the content ramifications of a union-owned newspaper. What will the editorial page be like? What about the reporting? Will these papers tussle over stories with the corporate-owned media in the same markets? Will the greater diversity of opinion, if it pans out, help shape the debate in those localities?
Understandably, CWA is holding off on addressing these questions, since it wants to attract the broadest possible swath of investors. But it's hard to imagine that there isn't some internal excitement over the ability to shape public opinion over local labor-related stories, at the bare minimum.
The emergence of union-held mass media is an exciting possibility, because it holds the potential to rival or surpass the conservative religious media empire. Organizations like Workers Independent News are doing a great job of laying the foundation for such an empire, but much more needs to be done. CWA's efforts should be loudly commended, and other unions - even across the AFL-CIO/Change to Win rift - should enthusiastically join in.
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