Sunday, November 05, 2017
Billionaire Ricketts insists his local newspapers pay their own way; when they tried to unionize, they got shut down
Billionaire Joe Ricketts, who owns a newspaper company specializing in local news, shut down his papers (DNAInfo, Gothamist) abruptly a few days after his 100+ employees had voted to unionize.
Andy Leland and John Leland have a detailed account in the New York Times here. The Times article embeds a copy of what visitors see when trying to visit one of the sites. Callum Borcher of the Washington Post weighs in here.
Ricketts maintains that his venture had to pay its own way and be profitable. This is unlike the case with me (I have some means but orders of magnitude less than him), or even companies like The Washington Times, a conservative newspaper said to be published for its speech value and not money.
But it’s interesting also that the paper had specialized in local news. I can recall a gay paper that tried to start in Minneapolis shortly after my own layoff from my career that insisted it would remain local. I don’t recall how it did.
Joe Ricketts has an interesting perspective on his refusal to let his own businesses unionize. I guess he has the right to shut them down, it they’re really his.