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A hedge fund, ten Iowa newspapers and the future of local journalism

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

First we hear the latest on Alden Global Capitol's attempt to buy Lee Enterprises which owns 10 Iowa newspapers. In the past, Alden's purchases have been followed by shrinking newsrooms. How could this impact your local newsroom?

On November 22, 2021, a hedge fund with a history of gutting newsrooms across the country began a bid to buy Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises.

Lee owns 75 daily newspapers across the country, including 10 mastheads in Iowa. Among them, The Quad-City Times, Sioux City Journal, and The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe breaks down the bid with Wall Street Journal reporter Benjamin Mullin.

Tony Baranowski, the co-publisher of the Iowa Falls Times-Citizen, is no stranger to the challenges presented to newspapers in the current environment. But he's hawkish about the potential of hyperlocal news outlets to create a compelling product for their communities.

Last, Kyle Munson founded the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation in hopes not of producing more content for newspapers but to fix the "infrastructure" problem he says is keeping them from a sustainable future.

Guests:

  • Benjamin Mullin, media reporter for the Wall Street Journal
  • Tony Baranowski, co-publisher of the Iowa Falls Times-Citizen
  • Kyle Munson, board president of the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation
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Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa