Stripped for Parts: American Journalism on the Brink

The story of one secretive hedge fund that is plundering American newspapers and the journalists who are fighting back.
by
Year Released
2023
Film Length(s)
99 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL

Introduction

Hedge fund Alden Global Capital is quietly gobbling up newspapers across the country and gutting them, but no one knows why-- until journalist Julie Reynolds begins to investigate. Her findings trigger rebellions across the country by journalists working at Alden-owned newspapers. Backed by the NewsGuild union, the newsmen and women go toe-to-toe with their “vulture capitalist” owners in a battle to save and rebuild local journalism in America. Who will control the future of America’s news ecosystem: Wall Street billionaires concerned only with profit, or those who see journalism as an essential public service, the lifeblood of our democracy?

Featured review

“The collapse of local news is a deep threat to democracy and the fabric of communities. But we can't turn this around without comprehending how we got here. Stripped for Parts vividly shows the causes and consequences of the decimation of community journalism.”
Steve Waldman
Steve Waldman, Founder and President, Rebuild Local News

Reviews

“Goldsmith is an amazing storyteller, able to take the important and little-understood topic about how US newspapers are being destroyed by corporate greed and explain it in a compelling way. Everyone in a community that is vulnerable to the loss of their journalistic “voice” needs to watch Stripped for Parts.
Mike Blinder
Publisher and editor, Editor & Publisher Magazine
“Absolutely essential viewing for anyone concerned about the future of local journalism and democracy. A fire is raging inside the theater of local media and democracy, and Goldsmith’s film is the alarm bell we had better heed.”
Thomas N. Gardner, PhD
Professor of Communication, Westfield State University
“The public finally has a documentary that clearly shows what has happened, and is still happening to local news, while giving hope that the numerous nonprofit newsrooms starting up around the nation may restore some of what is being lost. This is a must-see film for anyone who cares about preserving and restoring journalism critical to our republic."
Brant Houston
Journalism Dept, College of Media, U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Awards and Screenings

Best Documentary, United Nations Association Film Festival, 2023
Rose F. and Charles L. Klotzer First Amendment Award for Free Speech in Service of Democracy - 2023, Gateway Journalism Review
Maysles Bros. Lifetime Achievement Award-2023 St. Louis Inter’l Film Festival
Santa Fe International Film Festival, 2023
Double Exposure Film Festival, Washington, DC, 2023

Director Commentary

I’ve been reading newspapers since I was seven years old. As a documentary filmmaker, journalism and newspapers, as subject matter, have been my “beat.” The recent collapse of the newspaper industry, resulting in “ghost newspapers” and “news deserts” and the shrinking of local journalism throughout the country, has caused me to mourn the loss--but also on the lookout for the next great journalism story to tell. When I came across this story, of journalists standing up for their own profession, their communities, and for our democracy, I instinctively knew I had it.

The “Denver Rebellion” they called it, triggered by an editorial writer blasting the “vulture capitalist” hedge fund owners who were “murdering” the daily he worked on. And whose editorial, in turn, had been informed by two years of investigating by another journalist who used to work for the same hedge fund. Their emotions were fresh, and their passions came through, with heat and with candor. What a find!

What I didn’t know was there would be five years of battles: of journalists becoming activists, excoriating their owners without hesitation, sounding the alarm for their readers, of what would be lost if we, the collective “we”, let these greedy, unregulated hedge fund owners have their way.

The resultant film is my “value added” to the essential democracy-depends-on it conversations many are having, and subsequent public policy decisions we must consider: What do we do about hedge funds in newspapers? How do we revive, re-invent, and rebuild local journalism? And how do we sustain, in the wake of a business model that has collapsed in the digital age, a true and vibrant “public service journalism”?

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning

Film/Audio Languages

  • English

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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