Chicago’s Sun-Times newspaper has new ownership, which includes a local labor group. In a purchase completed last month, labor joined with other investors to keep a controversial publishing company from taking over the Windy City’s second largest newspaper, which was established following a merger in 1948.
Former politician Edwin Eisendrath spearheaded the purchase campaign, joining forces with labor leader Jorge Ramirez. Ramirez represents the Chicago Federation of Labor, an umbrella organization of 320 area unions.
A new voice
Because of organized labor’s involvement in the group, some journalists were concerned about bias and the paper’s credibility. Eisendrath and Ramirez have both promised to keep distance from the paper, letting its management run operations. One change at the paper, Eisendrath says, is that it will emphasize working class voice to reflect the concerns of average citizens.
The newspaper investment is a way to diversify the federation’s interests while impacting a larger audience in Chicago. Chicago is the country’s third largest city with a strong industrial history tied to its central location along Lake Michigan.
Reaching the people
The newspaper industry has been suffering from lost advertising revenue in the digital age. The New York Times recently bought out several editors in effort to reduce expense.
As technology changes and business interests continue to challenge workers’ rights, unions continue to evolve and find new ways to reach their audience. While many unions publish their own newsletters, the involvement at the Sun-Times offers a unique connection with the community as a whole. Community outreach and involvement is essential to representing the many workers and their different, but interconnected, needs.