ALLENTOWN, Pa (WLVT) - The Morning Call has a long history covering the Lehigh Valley, and its headquarters at Sixth and Linden streets have stood for 100 years.
Now the reporters at the Allentown newspaper will be working from home indefinitely, after owner Tribune Publishing announced it is vacating the buildings of five newspapers across the nation, including 101 N. Sixth Street in Allentown.
Reporters and editors had been working from home during the pandemic, but the announcement means the newsroom is shutting down. The Morning Call will still publish a newspaper.
Staffers will be allowed back to collect their belongings by the middle of next month.
We had a chance to speak with Paul Muschick, a columnist who has worked at The Morning Call for 16 years. He says it's good to be in a newsroom with colleagues, but that doesn't mean quality will suffer.
"The Morning Call will continue the high-quality journalism that we've been doing for a long time regardless of we're all in one location or spread out like we have been for the past four or five months because of the pandemic," he said.
We also spoke with Kayla Dwyer, who reports for The Morning Call and belongs to the Morning Call Guild formed last year to negotiate a contract for newsroom employees.
"It's not only yet another disinvestment in local journalism but it's the writing on the wall," she said. "You know hedge fund Alden Global Capital is now the company's largest shareholder with a 32 percent stake. and Alden Global Capital has a history of gutting newspapers it acquires including stripping it of real estate."
The Morning Call had actually sold the building a few years ago and was renting space with other tenants.
“Out of an abundance of caution we do not anticipate having employees that can work remotely coming back into the office for the remainder of the year and into 2021,” Tribune spokesperson Max Reinsdorf said in a Morning Call report. “With no clear path forward in terms of returning to work, and as the company evaluates its real estate needs in light of health and economic conditions brought about by the pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close the office.”
Dywer and Muschick both say the best way to help The Morning Call or any local daily newspaper is to subscribe, and keep reading.