won a prestigious Polk Award for its coverage of the killing of George Floyd and the aftermath.

“The communities that have papers owned by very wealthy people in general have fared much better because they stayed the course with large newsrooms,” said Ken Doctor, on hiatus as a media industry analyst to work as C.E.O. and founder of Lookout Local, which is trying to revive the local news business in smaller markets, starting in Santa Cruz, Calif. Hedge funds, by contrast, have expected as much as 20 percent of revenue a year from their properties, which can often be achieved only by stripping papers of reporters and editors for short-term gain.

Alden has made deep cuts at many of its MediaNews Group publications, including The Denver Post and The San Jose Mercury News. Alden argues that it is rescuing papers that might otherwise have gone out of business in the past two decades.

And a billionaire buyer is far from a panacea for the industry’s ills. “It’s not just, go find yourself a rich guy. It’s the right rich person. There are lots of people with lots of money. A lot of them shouldn’t run newspaper companies,” said Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and the former editor of The Chicago Tribune. “Sam Zell is Exhibit A. So be careful who you ask.”

beaten a retreat from the industry. And there have even been reports that Dr. Soon-Shiong has explored a sale of The Los Angeles Times (which he has denied).

“The great fear of every billionaire is that by owning a newspaper they will become a millionaire,” said Mr. Rosenstiel.

Elizabeth Green, co-founder and chief executive at Chalkbeat, a nonprofit education news organization with 30 reporters in eight cities around the country, said that rescuing a dozen metro dailies that are “obviously shells of their former selves” was never going to be enough to turn around the local news business.

“Even these attempts are still preserving institutions that were always flawed and not leaning into the new information economy and how we all consume and learn and pay for things,” said Ms. Green, who also co-founded the American Journalism Project, which is working to create a network of nonprofit outlets.

Ms. Green is not alone in her belief that the future of American journalism lies in new forms of journalism, often as nonprofits. The American Journalism Project received funding from the Houston philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, the Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective, which also bought The Atlantic. Herbert and Marion Sandler, who built one of the country’s largest savings and loans, gave money to start ProPublica.

“We’re seeing a lot of growth of relatively small nonprofits that are now part of what I would call the philanthropic journalistic complex,” said Mr. Doctor. “The question really isn’t corporate structure, nonprofit or profit, the question is money and time.”

operating as a nonprofit.

After the cable television entrepreneur H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest bought The Philadelphia Inquirer, he set up a hybrid structure. The paper is run as a for-profit, public benefit corporation, but it belongs to a nonprofit called the Lenfest Institute. The complex structure is meant to maintain editorial independence and maximum flexibility to run as a business while also encouraging philanthropic support.

Of the $7 million that Lenfest gave to supplement The Inquirer’s revenue from subscribers and advertisers in 2020, only $2 million of it came from the institute, while the remaining $5 million came from a broad array of national, local, institutional and independent donors, said Jim Friedlich, executive director and chief executive of Lenfest.

“I think philosophically, we’ve long accepted that we have no museums or opera houses without philanthropic support,” said Ms. Lipinski. “I think journalism deserves the same consideration.”

Mr. Bainum has said he plans to establish a nonprofit group that would buy The Sun and two other Tribune-owned Maryland newspapers if he and Mr. Wyss succeed in their bid.

“These buyers range across the political spectrum, and on the surface have little in common except their wealth,” said Mr. Friedlich. “Each seems to feel that American democracy is sailing through choppy waters, and they’ve decided to buy a newspaper instead of a yacht.”

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ViacomCBS stock tanks, losing more than half its value in less than a week.

Shares of ViacomCBS, the media goliath led by Shari Redstone, took a nosedive this week, with the company losing more than half of its market value in just four days.

Thes stock was as high as $100 on Monday. By the close of trading on Friday it had fallen to just over $48, a drop of more than 51 percent in less than a week.

There’s no better way to say it: The company’s stock tanked.

What happened? Several things all at once. First, it is worth noting that ViacomCBS had actually been on a bit of a tear up until this week’s meltdown, rising nearly tenfold in the past 12 months. About a year ago, it was trading at around $12 per share.

That rally came as the company, like the rest of the media industry, had made a move toward streaming. It recently launched Paramount+ to compete against the likes of Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and others. The service tapped ViacomCBS’s vast archive of content from the CBS broadcast network, Paramount Film Studios and several cable channels, including Nickelodeon and MTV.

licensing agreement with the NFL that will cost the company more than $2 billion a year through 2033. As part of the agreement, ViacomCBS also plans to stream the games on Paramount+, which is much cheaper than a cable bundle.

As the games, considered premium programming, shifts to streaming, “the industry runs the risk of both higher cord-cutting and greater viewer erosion,” Mr. Nathanson wrote.

On Friday, an analyst with Wells Fargo also downgraded the stock, slashing the bank’s price target to $59.

But the market decided it wasn’t even worth that much. It closed on Friday barely a quarter above 48 bucks.

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The top editor at NewsNation, a new cable news entrant, departs amid staff turmoil.

The highest ranking editor at NewsNation, a newcomer to cable news that markets itself as delivering “straight-ahead, unbiased news reporting,” has resigned. She is the third top editor to quit in recent months as some staff have complained of a rightward shift at the network.

Jennifer Lyons, NewsNation’s vice president of news, had decided to depart the channel, effective immediately, the company’s staff were told at a meeting on Tuesday.

Sandy Pudar, the news director, left on Feb. 2, and Richard Maginn, the managing editor, resigned on March 1.

Ms. Lyons did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Texas-based Nexstar Media, which owns NewsNation, said in a statement that it was Ms. Lyons’s decision to leave and that the search for her replacement was underway.

Bill Shine, a former Fox News co-president who was hired to lead communications for the Trump White House. The concerns among employees were detailed in a New York Times article earlier this week.

“Despite reports to the contrary that you may read, we’re committed to the vision of unbiased reporting,” he said during the meeting, according to a recording of the comments obtained by The New York Times. “But obviously along the way there will be growing pains. In order for us to establish our product and to grow our viewership we’re going to have to try new things to gain some traction.”

Mr. Sook, asked by a staff member about Mr. Shine, said he had not been in the NewsNation building and did not dictate content.

“This guy was in the room where it happened 25 years ago and helped to build the channel to where it is,” Mr. Sook said of Mr. Shine’s experience at Fox News. “Why would we not avail ourselves of his expertise?”

“NewsNation” launched on Sept. 1 as a prime-time national newscast on the cable channel WGN America. It promised an antidote to the more partisan programming of CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. On March 1, WGN America was rebranded as NewsNation and more news shows were introduced.

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Why Oprah’s Meghan and Harry Special Won’t Have a Streaming Home

Oprah Winfrey pulled off what has become a rare television event: the tell-all interview that turns into a cultural moment. On Sunday, an audience of more than 17 million watched bombshell revelations tumble out of the mouths of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry as they described their lives under the palace gaze in a two-hour CBS special that rivaled any of the royal dramas on the Netflix series “The Crown.”

Social-media discussion of the show has continued since the credits rolled, leaving many people who missed it wondering where they could stream it. For the next 30 days, the special will be available on CBS.com and the CBS app. But after that, it will not have a home on any streaming platform.

That’s because, from the start of negotiations, Ms. Winfrey’s company, Harpo Productions, the owner of the program, envisioned the special as something suited to a big broadcast network, three people with knowledge of the deal said. Harpo did not even attempt to sell the streaming rights to Netflix or Paramount+, the streaming platform owned by CBS’s parent company, ViacomCBS, the people said.

Harpo’s old-school strategy of avoiding subscription-video-on-demand services came about partly because of the complications presented by Ms. Winfrey’s deal to make programs for Apple’s streaming platform, AppleTV+, the people said. Ms. Winfrey’s AppleTV+ deal includes an interview series, “The Oprah Conversation,” which has featured Barack Obama, Dolly Parton and Mariah Carey. Another wrinkle was the roughly $100 million production deal that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry struck last year with Netflix, the people said.

do not require a subscription and consistently draw the largest audiences for live viewing. Harpo also liked the idea of appearing in the Sunday night slot after “60 Minutes,” the highly rated CBS News show where Ms. Winfrey was a special correspondent in 2017 and 2018, the people said.

As part of the $7 million deal, ViacomCBS won something valuable: the rights to broker international distribution on behalf of Harpo. The program aired Monday on ITV in Britain and will be available in more than 80 countries.

cut a deal with Ms. Winfrey to produce a documentary series about mental health that is scheduled to stream on AppleTV+.

Some industry observers were surprised by the CBS deal because of another corporate entanglement: Ms. Winfrey’s long relationship with Discovery Communications, the cable giant that invested in her cable network, OWN, over a decade ago. David Zaslav, Discovery’s intensely competitive chief executive, decided to continue the investment even after OWN experienced growing pains early on. The company now controls the network, which has become a ratings success. Discovery also recently launched its own streamer, Discovery+, where Ms. Winfrey hosts an interview series, “Super Soul.” (The company bought advertising time on the CBS special and provided a commercial featuring Ms. Winfrey.)

It turns out that digital television, originally meant as a convenient alternative to clunky cable, can be just as knotty and cumbrous as the business it’s trying to replace.

The morning after her interview with the Sussexes, Ms. Winfrey appeared on “CBS This Morning,” a program anchored by her close friend, Gayle King, where she presented extra material that didn’t make the special. CBS announced on Tuesday that it will show the special again Friday night at 8.

John Koblin contributed reporting.

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Journalists Rebel at NewsNation, a Newcomer in Cable News

On Sept. 1, the day of the “NewsNation” premiere, Mr. Trump tweeted: “Good luck to Sean Compton, a winner at everything he does.” That night, the show drew an audience of 130,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. Since then the ratings have steadily dropped. Episodes in the week of Feb. 8 had an average audience of 58,000, and fell to 37,000 on March 1.

The show had the in-house code name “Project Neutral” during its planning phase. To lead the newsroom, Mr. Compton hired Jennifer Lyons and Sandy Pudar, two well-regarded veterans of the Chicago station WGN-TV.

An early warning sign for many people at the show came Sept. 22, when it broadcast a one-on-one interview with President Trump, an interview conducted just outside the White House by a “NewsNation” anchor, Joe Donlon. Mr. Compton had helped arrange the interview, as “NewsNation” noted on its website, and he accompanied the anchor to the White House.

Four “NewsNation” staff members said that, in their view, Mr. Donlon had not sufficiently challenged Mr. Trump’s false claims. And some of the anchor’s questions — he asked the president to describe his biggest accomplishment and what he enjoyed about his rallies — struck them as soft, they said. Steve Johnson, The Chicago Tribune’s TV critic, agreed, slamming Mr. Donlon’s performance in a review that called the segment “a 15-minute prime-time opportunity for the president to repeat campaign talking points without having to answer on matters of fact or logic.”

Ms. Pudar, the news director, resigned abruptly on Feb. 2. The next day, FTV Live, a cable industry website, broke the news of Mr. Shine’s involvement in “NewsNation,” further inflaming the staff, according to six people at the show.

Mr. Shine is a onetime lieutenant to Roger E. Ailes, the network’s late chairman, who was ousted in 2016 after facing accusations of sexual harassment. Mr. Shine himself was pushed out of Fox News in 2017, after he was accused in lawsuits of enabling Mr. Ailes’s behavior. The next year he joined the Trump administration as its communications head. He did not respond to requests for comment.

On Feb. 5, Mr. Compton led a meeting of key “NewsNation” staff members, about 40 people in all, according to the six people. He offered his view of the show during the meeting, saying it offered “friendly, vanilla news,” an approach, he added, that was “not working,” according to two people with knowledge of the meeting. Asked about Mr. Shine, Mr. Compton said he was “just a consultant” and urged the staff to keep an open mind about him.

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