Local journalists protest buyouts with bagpipes, signs outside Virginian-Pilot office

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A group of journalists protested continued cuts to local newspapers Tuesday outside the Virginian-Pilot office in Norfolk.

The protest comes after Alden Global Capital bought a percentage of Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Virginian-Pilot, Daily Press and Virginia Gazette.

Alden Global is a hedge fund known for cutting from companies to maximize profits. The company is now offering buyouts to many of Tribune’s senior staff members.

On Tuesday, several dozen staff members and supports demonstrated outside the Pilot building on Brambleton Avenue.

The demonstration included funeral music by a bagpipe player.

The staff say cutting local jobs means cutting journalism and storytelling in Hampton Roads.

“They (Alden) have a track record of cutting newsrooms to the bone and leaving the local community with nothing as far as local news, and we think that this is the potential death knell for the Pilot and a lot of other papers within the company,” said Ryan Murphy, a reporter at the Pilot and also a union joint bargaining representative.

The union representing the journalists, Tidewater Media Guild, sent a news release Tuesday morning announcing the protest on Brambleton Avenue.

Here is an excerpt from the statement:

“While negotiating the terms of the most recent buyout, a labor representative for Tribune told union members that the offer was so good, they expect people will want to “sing glory hallelujah” for the chance to “gracefully” exit the company.
But we’re not celebrating. No one’s singing hallelujah.
Rather, we are mourning the loss of jobs – the loss of editors, reporters, photographers, designers, copy editors and editorial assistants – and the impact Tribune’s greedy cuts have on local journalism. We detest that Tribune is putting pressure on veteran journalists in our newsrooms.”

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