The entrance signage for the United States Department of Justice Building in Washington D.C. (Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH — U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio, D-17th District, is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to more closely scrutinize the acquisition of Pittsburgh’s alt-weekly by the same company that owns the city’s largest newspaper.
Deluzio sent a letter to Assistant Attorney Jonathan General Kanter, of the DOJ’s antitrust division, saying he was concerned that allowing a subsidiary of Block Communications, which owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to purchase Pittsburgh City Paper could violate antitrust laws.
The Post-Gazette bought City Paper last month from the owners of the Butler Eagle newspaper in Butler County, which had owned the alt-weekly since 2016.
“Should the same parent company effectively control these publications, I am concerned that our region will lose a diversity in viewpoint in the ever-decreasing coverage of local, state, and national affairs,” Deluzio wrote in his letter to Kanter. “The trends suggest that further consolidation will leave Western Pennsylvanians with a weaker free and open press.”
In addition, a portion of the Post-Gazette’s employees are currently on strike over unfair labor practices, which Deluzio points to as another area for concern in the acquisition.
“To have employees of the Post-Gazette and the City Paper under the same employer, who has illegally imposed working conditions and unlawfully surveilled workers engaged in union activities, raises serious alarms,” Deluzio wrote.
The News Guild Communications Workers of America, which represents the Post-Gazette’s newsroom staff, wrote to the DOJ last month to express its concern about the City Paper acquisition and the impact the deal could have on the wider community.
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