They're doing it because they're afraid of Alden Global Capital's plans for all of the papers owned by Tribune Publishing.
Alden, a New York-based hedge fund, recently became the largest shareholder in the struggling publishing company. Alden has a terrible reputation in the newspaper industry due to its history of slashing jobs and sucking up short-term profits from other papers it controls.
"We're doing everything in our power to try to stop them," Gary Marx, a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Tribune, told CNN Business.
The Chicago Tribune is trying a similar tack by seeking out local ownership. Jackson and Marx told CNN Business on Monday that they've already been reaching out to potential buyers for the past few weeks. Some of their newsroom colleagues are also involved in this informal effort.
"There have been some expressions of interest," Jackson said.
But "we're not in the deal-making business," Marx added.
So they're not involved in any specific talks — they are just trying to get the word out "about the urgency of the matter," Jackson said.
"We believe that Alden is an existential threat, not just to this newspaper but to every newspaper in the chain," Marx said.
Alden increased its ownership stake in Tribune to 32% last November. Hundreds of Tribune staffers responded with a letter decrying the hedge fund.
'We're not martyrs. We just really like journalism.'
The reporters went ahead, and the op-ed ran on NYTimes.com Sunday. If the Tribune becomes a shell of its former self, they wrote, "Illinois's most vulnerable people would lose a powerful guardian, its corrupt politicians would be freer to exploit and plunder, and this prairie metropolis would lose the common forum that binds together and lifts its citizens."
"Those who stay do so because we believe in what we do," Maxwell wrote. "We're not martyrs. We just really like journalism. And we fear for what our community would be without a vibrant daily newspaper. So I've made peace with my decision. I know that most any day here could be my last. I also know it's a gift to do what you love for a living."