Campaign to put LA Times in hands of the people

A crowdfunding campaign in the US is attempting to raise $660m to buy The Tribune Company, which owns publications including the LA Times, in order to prevent it from being taken over by media conglomerates

Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, Beyoncé and the general public are being asked to use their dollars to buy one of the US’s biggest media companies through a crowdfunding campaign.

The Tribune Company, which is the country’s second largest newspaper publisher – with ten titles including the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Times – is up for sale for $660m (£421m). It looks set to get into the hands of either Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, which houses The Sun, Sky and Fox News, or the Koch brothers – famously funders of climate denial campaigns and of the right wing political group, the Tea Party.

But campaign group The Other 98% has set up a buyout campaign on crowfunding site Indiegogo, to free the company from ending up in the hands of those who, according to the group, do not have the interests of citizens in mind.

At the time of going to press, the initiative had raised more than $100,000 (£63,800) to take over the Tribune – which also manages 23 TV stations.

The group is encouraging citizens to get together to emulate something like the buyout of the Green Bay Packers American football team, which is owned by thousands of Americans who have more than $24m (£15m) worth of shares in the team.

In its campaign informtion, The Other 98% said: “Instead of sitting back and allowing whichever victor to manipulate us through the media, we’ve decided to stage an intervention. And we want you to join us.

“Corporate consolidation is killing the newspaper industry, help us free the press.”