Why I Detest Hedge Funds, Chicago Tribune Showcases Reasons

If you ever wondered what the call letters for WGN (radio or TV) stand for now might be the time to find out. Because the root of the meaning is slowing dying.

Col. Robert McCormick was a legendary businessman and mover and shaper of Chicago. He is best known as the owner and publisher of the famed Chicago Tribune. He rightly had proclaimed that newspaper as the “World’s Greatest Newspaper” as it was a long-time preeminent source of news for the region. When the company bought a radio station and television station the idea for the call letters fell into place.

WGN.

Now the newspaper has fallen into the grubby and destructive hands of a hedge fund known for destroying local journalism.

When it comes to hedge funds it comes as no surprise I rank them alongside those who sold cure-all elixirs door-to-door at one time in our nation. They are best termed as “vulture capitalists”. Soulless, too.

Now comes news that the newspaper will likely be saying goodbye, by the end of next week, to some of its best-known names who, with their bylines, have allowed readers to know a credible reporter was writing the story. The reason for this madness is the newspaper is fully under the control of a hedge fund known for severe cost-cutting. No regard for talent and experience, or the needs of the citizenry to have a newspaper designed to impart information to all the neighborhoods and communities that rely on the Tribune.

Instead, there is now a voluntary buyout underway as Alden Global Capital sinks their teeth into the meat and bone of a newspaper that has been a regional necessity for readers. If the new owners accept the reporter’s buyout they will be gone by Friday, June 18th.

I have no problem with money being made by a business, but I do have deep concerns when the goal is money over ‘anything else’. In this case, ‘anything else’ is the local news that will be short-changed from being reported. I do not wish to be viewed as having only sentimental or nostalgic “back in the day” perspectives that are brought to this issue. While I was raised with a daily newspaper in our Hancock home, and have subscribed to at least one daily paper during all my adult years my purpose of writing this post is due to a long-lasting truism.

Journalists do work continuously to get the facts sorted, copy written, and edits made under deadlines and tremendous pressures so that we can learn the news we need to know as citizens.

Short-term profits for hedge funds at the expense of iconic news operations or the needs of news consumers are appalling. We need regulations to stop and undo the consolidation of our news, (be it radio, newspapers, or broadcast television), into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

And so it goes.

Problem Finding A Kayak Or Paddleboard? Blame COVID

This type of story intrigues me as to how the pandemic plays havoc with areas of society and business that no one could have predicted. There have been scores of these tangential stories that demonstrate the impact of a deadly virus.

Recommended pandemic safety protocols have encouraged many to get outside, meaning there’s been no damming the flow of adventurers trying to get on the water. But a supply shortage has crunched the pipeline of retail and wholesale paddlesports goods, including paddles and personal floatation devices, that has limited the nationwide availability of desirable paddlesports gear.

It’s a problem “extremely evident” to anyone looking to buy such goods, from individual recreators to paddlesports instructional schools to large retailers, according to Spencer Cooke, a North Carolina-based sales representative for multiple national paddlesports-related manufacturers.

Manufacturers are only now catching up with demand after facing local pandemic-related shutdown orders or shuffling their production lines to create medical equipment like PPE, Cooke explains. That has increased manufacturing lead times by months.

Cooke says that for more than a year, some paddlesports manufacturers have been sold out until spring 2022.

“If [a company buying paddlesports gear] is just now getting into it, and they didn’t buy it months ago, the likelihood is they’re probably not going to have it in the next four to six months,” Cooke explained.