Campaign to Buy Los Angeles Times Hopes to Crowdfund $660 Million

Photograph by Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

Nicole Carty, 23, speaks during a meeting for participants of Zuccotti Park’s Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York.

Want to buy the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and six other daily newspapers? No, I don’t mean at the newsstand.

The Other 98%, a nonprofit organization, has setup a crowdfunding campaign to buy Tribune Co.’s newspaper business. The initiative is meant to prevent the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch or some other billionaire from buying it.

The campaign is looking to raise $660 million in the next 31 days so it can outbid the Kochs – the high-powered, libertarian brothers known for hosting $50,000-a-plate fundraising events for Republican candidates, according to the pitch on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site. The group promoting the campaign was founded in 2010 with the mission “to kick corporate lobbyists out of DC,” according to its website.

In the case of the stop-the-Kochs campaign, the group doesn’t want “press freedom to be subject to the benevolence or non-benevolence of a billionaire,” according to Nicole Carty, one of the organization’s activists. “The press belongs to the people,” she said.

The newspapers were valued at $623 million last year, according to bankruptcy filings, making crowdfunding target of $660 million a competitive bid.

So far, $20,395 has been pledged. Only $659,979,605 to go.

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