The Debate over the Change in Media Ownership and the Public’s Interest


The Debate Over the Change in Media Ownership And the Public's Interest: A Review

By Bruce Kyse and Allegra Jordan

In the U.S., every generation has wrestled with the question of how it will be informed about the public policy issues, economic opportunities and issues regarding community identity. These debates are impassioned, given how vital news is to healthy civil society.

Historically, the two most contentious issues are:

  • the public’s desire for a diversity of media outlets;
  • the public’s concern about the owner putting private interests (political, personal or financial) ahead of the public’s well-being.

This report provides a review of the public trust debate that emerged (and is emerging) during three major phases of newspaper ownership: the era of independent ownership from the early 1900s to the mid-1960s; the rise and dominance of publicly traded newspaper companies from the 1970s to 2005; and the current shift to investment firm ownership.

Each generation of newspaper owner has faced a unique set of economic and competitive challenges. Newspapers in the first half of the 20th century battled each other for dominance in local markets. Newspapers in the second half of the century had to compete against two new technological mediums, first broadcast and then the Internet. Competition has forced newspapers to adapt to remain relevant.

The underlying economics of the newspaper industry are similar for all parties. Newspapers – regardless of their ownership – are dealing with a sharp, decade-long decline in revenues and circulation. Owners can control some operational decisions and profit margins. They make myriad decisions that differentiate their news and products from the competition. Owners run businesses well or poorly; they make decisions to acquire or divest; they make decisions on whether or not to invest in a business.

However, owners are also the public face of the voice that consumers invite into their homes. As a result, the ownership discussion has shifted to a focus on resources: Which companies will be more likely to invest and build sustainable business models to pay for enough reporters to adequately cover a community?

Where Do These Debates Occur?

No governing body directly regulates the newspaper industry. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates television, radio and to some extent the Internet (through cable regulations). But as long as the newspaper industry operates within the rule of law and steers clear of cross-medium antitrust violations, the industry polices itself with explicit protection from the U.S. Constitution. The public trust debate occurs: (1) on the editorial pages of newspapers; (2) intra-family or intra-industry; (3) in foundations and trade associations established by the newspapers themselves to assist the news industry function; (4) in academic books and articles; and (5) at the fringes of regulatory debate (the U.S. Labor and Justice departments, FCC, Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. court system).

This review summarizes discussions of the public trust that emerge when newspaper ownership changes. The literature is found in family histories, academic books and articles, in interviews with industry executives and analysts, and through searches.

Three Phases of Newspaper Ownership and the Public Trust Debate

Phase One: Independent Newspapers, pre-1960s

Until the start of the 20th century, newspapers held a monopoly on community news and the ability of businesses to connect with individuals or other businesses through print advertising. As new mediums emerged, so did other options.[1] But newspapers continued to be the dominant source of news – both local and national – in every community.

Newspapers thrived after World War II by capitalizing on the explosion of consumerism and the invention of mass marketing. Even with competition from radio and television, newspapers captured at least 30 percent of total U.S. advertising dollars and considerably more in mid-sized to small markets.[2]

By the 1950s, local newspapers were monopolies primarily owned by families or wealthy individuals and were independent. Newspapers were handed down from generation to generation, but almost always kept in the family. In 1953, 1,300 of the 1,785 daily newspapers in the U.S. were family-owned and
-operated. [3] The owners lived in or nearby the community served by the newspaper, and the newspaper’s success was tied, directly and indirectly, to the well-being of the community.

The challenges of independent ownership and influence

While newspapers reaped the financial benefits by being the dominant source of news and advertising in most communities, concerns arose about the powerful men running powerful newspapers exerting undue influence, such as William R. Hearst’s role in starting the Spanish-American War.

Large cities often had more than one newspaper (typically a morning paper and an evening paper) with at least some degree of choice afforded to readers. Where it existed, competition for readers also forced some level of accountability for accuracy and story selection.

But monopoly newspapers serving small and medium-sized cities could be subject to the same biases, whims and special interests of their owners. These owners also had powerful friends and business associates in the community. Would the owners either directly or indirectly influence reporters and editors to slant the story in a particular direction? Were some topics or individuals considered sacred cows that never appeared in the columns of the local paper? Were the facts intentionally misrepresented? These are worst-case scenarios, of course. But even the most benevolent of owners had their own views on local politics, education and business. How would the owner’s best interests – either the power to influence or make money – play out in the editorials, reporting and story selection?

According to media historian Eli Noam in his book Media Ownership and Concentration in America:

Discussion of media concentration is not new. It has been part and parcel of historic discussion of media. The fewer choices, the greater their economic power. The fewer voices, the greater their political and idea power. Such fears go back in the United States to its early history.…[4]

Phase Two: The Public Corporation, 1960s-2005

According to the industry summary, “The Newspaper Industry in Crisis” by Harvard Business School:

In American newspapers’ heyday in the 1970s, 98 percent of them were local monopolies, and some companies achieved an operating margin between 20 percent and 40 percent. The number of independent newspapers declined over time as big players weeded out the competition. Changes in technology and the relaxation of regulation of newspaper ownership accelerated the trend.[5]

As reported in the previous section, 1,300 daily newspapers were owned by independent publishers in 1953. By 1980, the number of independent newspapers was about 700. And by 1988, the newspaper industry was dominated by about 12 large publicly owned companies.

What changed? In general, newspapers became highly coveted cash-generating businesses. In the 1960s, owners of several larger newspapers started expanding their holdings. If one newspaper produced extraordinary profits, imagine what two, three or four well-run newspapers could do. The result was the creation of newspaper companies. The buying frenzy started in the mid-1960s and continued for almost three decades.

As newspaper companies grew in size, the impact on the industry was significant. To stay competitive, the leading newspaper companies upgraded production with offset color presses, new inserting equipment and improved distribution capabilities. They also expanded into adjacent communities with zoned news sections, added business and entertainment sections, and established bureaus in Washington, D.C., and state capitals. In 1985, more than 600 U.S. newspapers had bureaus in Washington, D.C.[6] The American Journalism Review reported more than 500 statehouse reporters working for newspapers in 1998, an average of 10 statehouse reporters per state. And while smaller newspaper groups couldn’t afford capitol bureaus, they were able to tap into an extensive network of news services provided by the major newspaper groups.

Newspaper companies go public

The investment being made by the new newspaper companies in the 1960s and 1970s didn’t come without a cost. Even with the high profit margins at most papers, the fierce competition for readers, advertising and new property acquisitions required a steady infusion of cash. Several newspaper companies found that investment capital on Wall Street. Between 1967 and 1988, seven of the top 10 newspaper owners became publicly traded companies.

Although the need for capital to expand the company was a strong driver for seeking public investment, each company had its own uniquely positioned motivation. According to Philip Meyer in The Vanishing Newspaper, companies had a different order of priorities. These priorities included: 1) raising capital to acquire more newspapers/other media (Gannett 1967), 2) investing in technology, presses and creating efficiently run operations with shared operational costs, 3) avoiding battles between generations of families (Knight Ridder), 4) Diversifying and gaining independence from powerful trade unions, and 5) creating financial and operational discipline.

Here are overviews of the public trust issues the New York Times, Gannett, Knight Ridder and McClatchy considered when going public:

New York Times. Diversification, business discipline and independence from unions were critical reasons behind the management shift from private to public. According to Susan E. Tifft and Alex Jones’ book on the history of the New York Times, The Trust, the mission to protect high-quality journalism required the company to go public for two reasons:

  • Capital would allow the Times to diversify its holdings through acquisitions. Such diversification would allow it to be more independent of its unions with which it struggled;

 

  • Public pressure would lead to better business management. The Trust quotes the Times’ general counsel James Goodale: “Unless there was some public pressure brought on us that would embarrass us with respect to our profit, we would never make a profit, and therefore we would never knock off the unions. … We didn’t have a planning process, we didn’t have any goals, we didn’t have any of the usual things public companies [have].”[7]

The company went public on Jan. 14, 1969, on the American Stock Exchange with two classes of stock. The class of stock owned by the family retained a majority of the voting rights so it could protect the civic mission of the company. The shares immediately plummeted from their original price once underwriters realized how undisciplined the company’s business was.[8]

Knight Ridder Newspapers. Both Knight and Ridder went public on April 22, 1969 as separate companies and merged in 1974.. The move to public ownership was made in part due to the U.S. tax laws, which prevented the accumulation of “excess reserves” by forcing those reserves to be paid out in dividends or in an acquisition. The Knight family retained almost 60 percent of the shares after the initial offering. However, by 2002, 90 percent of shares were owned by institutional investors.

The change imposed important business discipline on both the Knight and Ridder families. Knight Ridder chairman (1982-1989) Alvah Chapman detailed how bracing the change in discipline was for the Knight family in an interview with Meyer: “They never had seen an operating statement. It just never had been done. There was a board of directors consisting mostly of people who worked for the Knights, and it met just once a year. They passed out numbers, and they took up the numbers at the end of the board meeting. They didn’t let the directors even keep the numbers to ponder over.”[9]

McClatchy. McClatchy was a private company that acquired newspapers in mid-sized markets up and down the West Coast. As a private company there was no board, and decisions were made quickly and informally. McClatchy did not become a public company until 1988, and this decision was made to provide liquidity for the estate and orderly transition after the death of key family members. Like the New York Times, two classes of shares were issued: “The company went public in February 1988 and its Class A common shares are listed on The New York Stock Exchange. But the company’s Class B common stock, which controls a majority of shareholder voting power, is not publicly traded.”[10]

Gannett. Gannett went public in 1967. The company sought cash primarily for acquisitions and helped educate Wall Street about the value and business of papers. Unlike Knight Ridder, Gannett sought to buy newspapers that were local monopolies. According to Philip Meyer’s interview with former Gannett chair Al Neuharth, a local monopoly controls flow of information between a retail merchant and the customers. “That’s why Neuharth called owning the newspaper ‘a license to steal.’ Big-city papers had more chaotic markets and a greater likelihood of competition. They were also more likely to have to deal with unions.”[11]

Despite the lure of investment and acquisition capital, some large newspapers companies did not turn to Wall Street, but still managed to participate in the consolidation of community newspapers. Family-controlled newspaper companies expanding their holdings during this time included Hearst, Newhouse (Advance) and Cox. All three remained in the top 25 newspaper companies (as measured by circulation) in 2010.

Consolidation, at least in the last third of the 20th century, paid off. Company revenues and profits grew on a relatively steady line. So did paid circulation, which grew consistently until the 1980s. Whether public or private, the newspaper business posted healthy revenues and profits during these expansion years.

Challenges of newspaper corporatization

As newspaper companies formed, added properties to their portfolio and, in many cases, became publicly traded, two interconnected public interest questions were:

  1. Will the demand for shareholder value trump the public’s interest in quality journalism?
  2. Will the media concentration – especially cross-media ownership – help or hurt the public interest by limiting choice of media outlets?

Shareholder value or public interest? At the time newspaper companies were going public, the families often were focused on journalism at the expense of excessive profits. There was no obvious intent, and certainly no logical reason, to sacrifice quality journalism for the sake of “shareholder value.” In fact, to ensure high-quality journalism and family control when companies went public, several companies – including the Times, The Washington Post and Dow Jones – issued two classes of shares to ensure the original owners’ control of decisions that they deemed affected the quality of news.[12]

Shortly after Knight went public, founder John S. Knight wrote to his brother, James, “I think we have objectives other than simply trying to see how big we can become. … Sometimes the lure of bigness tends to make newspaper publishers forget their prime responsibilities.”[13]

Knight Ridder took advantage of its newfound access to capital by upgrading its journalistic mission. After leaving the company, Alvah Chapman, former chair of Knight Ridder, looked back fondly on the early years of public ownership:

We made decisions like merging Knight Ridder after we went public. We expanded our Washington bureau, doubled the size of the Washington bureau, after we went public. … In my 15 years, from 1974 to 1989, Knight Ridder’s stock grew 23 percent, compound growth rate. We had 15 straight years of increased earnings per share. We won 37 Pulitzer Prizes in that period of time. … We were in the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America twice. …That’s not so now.[14]

Even Wall Street-conscious Neuharth took a risk in 1982 with USA Today, an expensive long-term investment. “If you want to look at the numbers, our stock went to hell when we announced USA Today … so we paid no attention to Wall Street. Had we, we wouldn’t have launched it, (or) we would have folded the tent after the first year.” [15]

The conflict between shareholder value and quality journalism hit its zenith during the 1990s. After two decades of expansion and increased market values and stock prices, the newspaper industry started to plateau. Newspaper companies – many of them now multimedia companies – faced new challenges with a recession of the early ’90s, increased newsprint prices and growing competition from cable. Meanwhile, Wall Street analysts were increasingly looking for consistent performance from quarterly earnings reports.

John Morton, a former journalist and a media analyst, said investors lost interest in long-term analysis of media companies and became “enamored” of short-term outlooks. “In effect, institutions were saying: Don't tell me how these companies will do a year or five years from now. Tell me what's going to happen to the stock price next quarter.”[16]

The quest for strong quarterly earnings manifested itself in forced subscription and advertising price increases, as well as paging cutbacks and staff reductions – something the newspaper industry as a whole was not used to. These performance expectations also made it harder to make long-term investments in journalism. Newsrooms felt the pressure of being a public company, as Meyer explains in The Vanishing Newspaper:

The emotional burden was heavy. From the news-side perspective, the main tool for soothing earnings was the contingency budget. Under normal circumstances, a budget is a planning tool. Under the contingency system, editors had to produce several layers of planning with each budget. If revenue fell below a certain point, a contingency plan was triggered which meant, in effect, a budget cut in the middle of the planning year. There were no layoffs in those years, but projects got postponed and staffs were thinned through attrition when advertising was down. [17]

From 1990 into the mid-2000s, newsrooms in publicly and privately held newspaper companies began to contract. This didn’t happen in large, sweeping newsroom reductions. Those mass layoffs were yet to come. But the mainstream newspaper corporations that had acquired the majority of mid-sized to large newspapers became much more measured in controlling newsroom expenses. One example, those 600-plus newspapers with bureaus in Washington, D.C. in 1985 were down to fewer than 300 by 2008.[18]

Cross-media ownership debate: According to historian and media economist Eli Noam, media consolidation has a long and contentious history. For the most part, the public wants to be able to compare and contrast media outlets. That’s why the federal government created media antitrust laws and cross-media ownership restrictions.

At the same time these new publicly traded companies were buying newspapers, they were also expanding holdings into other mediums, both broadcast and radio. To a large degree, the cross-media ownership was at the heart of media concentration debates in the second half of the 20th century. Public companies like Gannett, Belo, The New York Times, Tribune, Media General and E.W. Scripps purchased hundreds of individual stations and small family-owned broadcast groups, with the goal of creating diversified media companies. Even private companies, including Hearst and Cox, diversified into broadcast to benefit from cross-media efficiencies and sales.

Formed in 1934 to regulate telephone monopolies, the Federal Communications Commission was also given the responsibility of assigning the limited number of broadcast licenses. The agency was given the directive of determining whether an airway license would serve “the public interest, convenience, and necessity.”[19] While the primary mission of the FCC was to prevent monopoly of radio and broadcast frequencies in a single market, the pursuit of broadcast by growth-minded newspaper companies got the FCC’s attention in 1975 with the enactment of the newspaper and broadcast cross-ownership rule. The ban prohibited the ownership of a daily newspaper and any "full-power broadcast station that serviced the same community” as a way to ensure a broad number of media sources in each community."[20]

As diversified media companies have lobbied to eliminate cross-media ownership restrictions, the FCC has continued to revise, but not eliminate, regulations. Each time, the FCC draws public criticism for bowing to big media conglomerates. But others argue that cross-ownership might actually be good for local journalism.

In a 2012 article in Columbia Journalism Review, Steven Waldman, senior adviser to the chairman of the FCC, makes the following case for selected cross ownership:

Newspapers are still laying off reporters by the thousands, and a major FCC report found that neither local TV stations nor independent websites have sufficiently filled the gap, especially when it comes to labor-intensive accountability reporting on courts, schools, municipal government, state legislatures, and other important civic areas. So, if an occasional merger can save a local newspaper, we shouldn’t automatically rule it out just because it is a merger.[21]

Phase Three: Private Investment Firms, 2005-2014

Newspaper ownership has changed dramatically during the last decade. Many newspapers have changed ownership multiple times, from public to private and, in some cases, back to public again. In a 2014 report on newspaper ownership change, the investment-banking firm Dirks Van Essen & Murray reported a dramatic shift in those entities selling and buying newspapers.

In 2000, the marketplace for daily newspapers could have been summed up by the movie title “The Usual Suspects.” The public newspaper companies dominated both sides of the ledger – the buyers and sellers. Gannett, Lee Enterprises, Media General and Tribune all made significant acquisitions, while Thomson sold all of its U.S. newspapers. Large privately held newspapers companies, such as Community Newspaper Holdings and MediaNews Group, also were active in the marketplace.[22]

By 2014, the trend in selling and buying newspapers had changed significantly:

With the amount of leverage taken on by acquiring companies in the years prior to the financial crisis of 2008, it’s no surprise that the top sellers have been companies taken over by lenders. But the buyer pool is a much more diverse bunch. Two types of buyers – local interests and investor groups – did not appear at all on the list 14 years ago. Local interests would include buyers such as John Henry with the Boston Globe and Glen Taylor with his acquisition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune this year. Moreover, family-owned newspaper companies, which generally emerged from the 2008 with strong balance sheets, have been among the most active buyers. Private equity firms, including Stephens Capital Partners (Halifax Media Group) and Versa Capital Partners (Civitas Media), are the top acquirers. BH media, a unit of publicly traded Berkshire Hathaway, is also near the top by itself. [23]

Who has been selling and buying newspapers between 2012 and June 2014? According to Dirks Van Essen, the trend has shifted significantly toward private investment.[24]

Sellers Buyers
43% - Lender-controlled 28% - Private equity
27% - Public newspaper companies 19% - Family-owned groups
11% - Private equity 17% - BH Media
10% - Large private companies 13% - Investor groups
6% - Family-owned groups 12% - Local interests
4% - Independents 11% - Public newspaper companies

 

The composite ownership of the country’s newspapers has shifted significantly since 2004. Large newspaper companies that didn’t exist in 2004 include New Media Investment Group (which owns the GateHouse chain), Digital First, Civitas, Warren Buffett’s BH Media and 10/13 Media and New Media Investment Group. By 2016, these five investment entities owned 900 daily and weekly newspapers. This trend toward consolidation under acquisition-minded investment companies is not likely to abate, according to recent Moody’s outlook on the newspaper industry:

Spin-offs will accelerate the publishing industry’s consolidation, since survivors will choose to better-capitalized publishers acquire smaller targets at attractive prices, cutting overhead costs and other redundancies in the process. Other companies will consider mergers.

What about the journalism debate?

With all the ownership changes and the recent corporate maneuvers to separate the broadcast and print divisions, such as both Gannett and Tribune have done, the public interest debate is not likely to subside any time soon. The challenge is in quantifying cause and effect. For example, there are clearly fewer reporters in any local market than there were 10 years ago. But is that the result of ownership changes, or merely the correction of a diminished business model?

Between 2004 and 2011 the top eight public newspaper companies’ market value dropped $40 billion from $49 billion to $9.0 billion.[25] By 2016, three of these public companies had been sold, and the market value for the remaining companies was only $4 billion. To understand why $45 billion of market value for newspaper companies evaporated over 12 years, it’s necessary to understand two major issues occurring outside the major changes faced by newspapers: (1) loss of classified and display print advertising to the Internet, and (2) the reduction in a newspaper’s circulation income.

These changes in revenue along with the market meltdown of 2008 created a perfect storm for newspapers. The impact of these losses were staggering. Newspaper companies – both public and private – were forced by economics to reduce staffing, paging and distribution. Many small papers cut down on frequency of publishing. As a result, between 2008 and 2015, newsrooms eliminated almost 20,000 positions for editors, reporters and photographers. That amounts to a 37 percent decline in seven years. [26]

ASNE Annual Newsroom Census

YEAR TOTAL GAIN/LOSS
2008      52,600      -2,400
2009     46,700    -5,900
2010     41,500     -5,200
2011    41,600     +100
2012    40,600    -1,000
2013     38,000    -2,600
2014  36,700  -1,300
2015     32,900  -3,800

So how much of this decline was the result of pure economics, and how much was the result of ownership? It depends on whom you ask. Some industry analysts place blame on publicly owned media companies that had to report strong quarterly profits. Others point to the shift to private equity and investment companies that have no direct reporting line to shareholders or community.

Regardless of historical accountability, for the current generation of news consumers these issues emerge in the public interest debate:

  • How will today’s owners, with lower profit margins, prioritize the public interest?
  • Under what conditions will institutional investors prioritize public service over predictable, growing returns?
  • Under what conditions do private investment companies prioritize public good services over profits?
  • Will independent newspapers with reduced profit margins perform expensive investigations?
  • Will newspapers led by wealthy individuals prioritize the public interest?
  • What are the minimal standards for a community for news regarding the public agenda, economic marketplace and community identity?
  • What role should stakeholders play to ensure that communities have the information they need to thrive?

John Morton, a former Wall Street analyst and newspaperman, placed much responsibility on the publicly held media companies during the meltdown years. In a 2006 editorial for the American Journalism Review, Morton uses blunt language in blaming the investor:

Public ownership of newspaper companies is not good for journalism. A fundamental problem is that institutional investors, who inevitably wind up owning the vast majority of shares in publicly traded companies, have goals that basically are inimical to the journalistic mission of newspaper publishing. These investing institutions are mainly interested in financial return in the form of growth in profit and share price. …That newspaper companies might have some objective other than enriching shareholders–say, publishing excellent newspapers­–is incidental to the concerns of institutional investors, if it is given any consideration at all. … Seeking a good return on investment is not evil. Indeed, it is at the heart of our free-market economy. But pursuit of a robust return to the exclusion of everything else can have evil effects on companies that provide services deemed essential to our democratic government. Newspapers, of course, provide such a service, being the sole type of media that gathers and distributes mass amounts of news to citizens.[27]

Others have echoed Morton’s criticisms and added some of their own:

  • Loss of journalistic independence and control (1993);
  • Reductions in resources;
  • Diminishment of quality and public service;
  • Focus on short-term results.

More recently, in a 2013 article, John Soloski of the University of Georgia seems to conclude that public media companies might be the lesser of two evils. He raises the question of how communities will be informed in the future under the new type of owners – investment institutions.

The ability to use bankruptcy to shed debt, force union concessions and void long-term contractual agreements makes ownership of newspapers highly attractive even in bad economic times. But such a change in ownership may not bode well for the quality of journalism practiced at these newspapers. Despite the financial problems of the existing publicly traded newspaper companies, management’s roots are in journalism. This is not the case with institutional owners.[28]

Bruce Kyse is current publisher of the Calaveras Enterprise and the former publisher of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Kyse has more than 40 years of experience in the news industry and has held jobs ranging from reporter at several papers in California to digital media executive for the New York Times Company.

Allegra Jordan is a leadership coach and consultant with Gold Gable Advisors. Jordan has worked at a high level in numerous industries in 16 countries and on five continents.

[1] Philip Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2004), 35.

[2] Philip Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2004), 36.

[3] David Collis, Peter Olson and Mary Furey, “The Newspaper Industry in Crisis,” Harvard Business School, 9-709-463 (January 12, 2010): 5-6.

[4] Eli M. Noam, Media Ownership and Concentration in America (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009), 7.

[5] David Collis, Peter Olson and Mary Furey, “The Newspaper Industry in Crisis,” Harvard Business School, 9-709-463, Jan. 12, 2010, pp. 5-6.

[6] Pew Research Journalism Project, “The New Washington Press Corps,” July 16, 2009.

[7] Susan E Tifft and Alex S. Jones, The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family behind The New York Times (Boston, New York and London: Little, Brown and Company, 1999), 468-471.

[8] Ibid, 469-470.

[9] Ibid, 176.

[10] “About Us,” The McClatchy Company, accessed July 18, 2014, http://www.mcclatchy.com/2006/05/23/179/overview.html.

[11] Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age, 174, 182.

[12] Picard and van Weezel, “Capital and Control: Consequences of Different Forms of Newspaper Ownership,” 26

[13] Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age, 174, 180.

[14] Ibid, 184-5.

[15] Ibid, 184.

[16] “Talking Wall Street Blues, As Recent Events Emphasize, Money Trumps Ethics on the Street,” American Journalism Review, July/August 2002.

[17] Meyer, The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age, 185

[18] Pew Research Journalism Project, “The New Washington Press Corps,” July 16, 2009

[19]Communications Act of 1934"

[20] Obar, Jonathan (2009). "Beyond cynicism: A review of the FCC’s reasoning for modifying the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule". Communication Law & Policy 14 (4).

[21] “How to Fix the Media Ownership Debate, A Modest Proposal for Harnessing Mergers to Boost Local Reporting,” by Steve Waldman, Columbia Journalism Review, Dec. 20, 2012

[22] “The Changing Landscape of Newspaper Acquisitions,” Dirks Van Essen & Murray, July 2014

[23] Ibid.

[24] The Changing Landscape of Newspaper Acquisitions, Dirks Van Essen & Murray, July 2014

[25] Soloski, “Collapse of the US newspaper industry: goodwill, leverage and bankruptcy,” 313.

[26] American Society of Newspaper Editors, annual newsroom census.

[27] John Morton, “The Tragedy of Public Ownership,” American Journalism Review 28; no. 3 (June/July 2006): 68.

[28] Soloski, “Collapse of the US newspaper industry: goodwill, leverage and bankruptcy,” 327.