An article from November of this year talks about Macquarie's buying spree of local newspapers all around the United States.
JUST weeks after completing the $1.35 billion takeover of Southern Cross Broadcasting, Macquarie Media Group has gone on a shopping spree in the United States, spending $182 million on 33 newspapers and publications to tap regional advertising demand in the world's largest economy.
The company bought 22 titles from Chesapeake Publishing, mostly in eastern Maryland, and 11 titles from Brown Publishing, a family company in rural Ohio. The deals would make it the fifth-largest owner of small market community newspapers in the US, Macquarie Media said.
Small market community newspapers... owned by a giant holding company/bank located in Australia. Seems there's not anything that's not too attractive for other countries to invest their money in, but I want to talk about this from the standpoint of media consolidation.
I'm certain that being able to consolidate a lot of these so-called local papers and have, say, the printing done no longer in one place but in some central distribution center has got to save on money. And it isn't as if this type of thing isn't new. When I lived in Alvin, Texas, I sold newspaper advertising for the Sante Fe Bulletin, which town was nearby to Alvin. I don't know if it is still the same way, but at the time, every week we'd load up in the car and drive down to Galveston, to the Galveston Daily News building, to dummy up the paper and get it in for print. I don't recall thinking it was unreasonable for the Galveston paper to own the Santa Fe paper and them to be sharing print facilities. And in fact, at the time there was a corporation that owned a lot of newspapers all around the country, can't remember who it was now, but it's probably long gone and swallowed up by some new big newspaper fish.
So, on the one hand, the idea that one company owns multiple local newspapers shouldn't be new or startling. And who could argue with a company wanting to save money for their shareholders, etc. by paring down as many costs as possible and sharing news? (An example: If you compare the Weatherford online paper with the Cleburne online paper, you'll see a basic template with a number of the SAME articles in the SAME layout.) And, newspapers have been in decline for awhile-I've read a number of reasons for why that may be, but I don't intend to address that here except to say that especially a local newspaper would want to be able to make a profit and be in business, just like anyone else.
Even so... even with an editor that lives in the area.... it just doesn't seem right that a LOCAL newspaper would be run at a cost benefit-for profit corporation that doesn't even headquarter in this country. And whose goal IS to snarf up as many local newspapers as possible.. for profit.. Should the FCC's nod to media consolidation be used for THAT???
With the relaxed cross-ownership rules that Kevin Martin of the FCC just rammed through, despite the public overwhelmingly being against it, what could happen now is that Macqaurie could own not only the local newspapers, but the local DFW television stations.. and the radio stations. do we really want ALL our news in this country to be served by an Australian corporation? It just seems... unamerican.
Here's, incidentally, an interesting link as to what major media companies own what stations, etc.