So here we are in 2020 on the verge of losing our great independent, American newspaper, The Miami Herald.
The Herald and its parent company, McClatchy Co., are on the block. The 163-year-old company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. McClatchy’s crunch includes $530 million in unfunded pension liabilities to thousands of retirees and some current employees.
For now, it looks like hedge Fund, Chatham Asset Management, owner of the National Enquirer’s media company, could take the McClatchy and The Herald over to the private side. McClatchy owns more than 25 daily papers in 14 states.
The Herald’s Guild of Writers is opposing the move, asking the Bankruptcy Judge to find another buyer, fearing that Chatham will chop it up like a Pollo Tropical tropichop. (That reminds me – I haven’t eaten lunch!)
But to paraphrase the 1960s animation, Underdog, “There is no need to fear, Knight Ridder is here.” At least you might think a foundation named after the founders of the newspapers chain, whose mission is to “invest in journalism” would be gearing up to save the day. But so far, all we have heard is crickets.
Knight Foundation has an endowment of more than $2.4 billion. Like Jesus said in Luke 4:23, “Physician, heal thyself.”
The Knight Foundation should step up and invest in the chain that made it one of the wealthiest foundations in the country. If the Herald and other papers in the chain go down, then the Knight Foundation has failed in its mission.
“We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy,” according to the Knight Foundation website.
Physician – heal thyself before you wreck yourself.