McClatchy Co., America’s second largest local news company, filed for bankruptcy Thursday as part of a strategy to restructure its debts and reposition itself for a more digital future.
If the court accepts their plan, hedge fund Chatham Asset Management LLC would take over and operate McClatchy as a privately held company. Chatham Asset Management also happens to be the principal owner of American Media, the publisher of tabloids including The National Enquirer, the Globe and the National Examiner.
It’s an announcement that hits too close to home. McClatchy owns some of the papers we read every day, such as The (Raleigh) News & Observer, The (Durham) Herald-Sun and The Charlotte Observer.
McClatchy’s filing highlights a larger issue plaguing journalism today: the decline of local news.
Local journalism is dying in plain sight. Over the past 15 years, more than one in five papers in the U.S. has closed, and employment at newspapers dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2018. Now, according to the Brookings Institute, over 65 million Americans live in counties with only one local newspaper — or none at all.