Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is criticizing a recent Federal Communications Commission decision approving the more than $3 billion acquisition of Cox Media by a private equity firm.
In an editorial in USA Today Thursday, Whaley and Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner, say the deal paves the way for Dayton to lose its daily newspaper, a move proposed by the company Apollo Global Management last fall.
Apollo wants to scale back publication of the Dayton Daily News and two other Ohio papers to three days a week.
Mayor Whaley says the change from daily publication would foster a local-news crisis in a region of nearly 1 million people.
“Having a paper that's published every single day is important not only for the sake of journalism, but for local government. And, when you think about the past year and the year that we've had," Whaley says, "imagine if we didn't have a paper that was published every single day. People wouldn't know what's going on. And that's really necessary, I think, for our entire community.”
"2019 was a hard year in Dayton, Ohio. A trying, difficult year. Dayton has been tested again and again by nearly every imaginable type of crisis. Through it all, Daytonians have looked to the local newspaper, the Dayton Daily News, to keep the community informed. Imagine if none of those headlines had been written the following day. No striking documentation of the devastation of tornadoes. No heart-wrenching stories of a community wrapping its head around a mass shooting. No coverage of the tragic murder of a 30-year veteran of the Dayton Police Department. To say nothing of stories following a local corruption scandal, the demolition of a local hospital or the burgeoning redevelopment of Dayton’s downtown."
Under federal law, companies are prohibited from owning both a daily newspaper and a television station in the same market as Cox Media had been grandfathered in to do. Reducing the affected newspapers' publication allows Apollo to get around the rules and move forward with the acquisition.
Requests for comment from the Atlanta-based Cox Media Group were not immediately returned.