News

As New York vulture fund Alden Global Capital takes steps to take majority control of Tribune Publishing, The NewsGuild-CWA has requested a federal inquiry into Alden’s secretive offshore ownership structure.

Calling a hospital to see if a bed was available for a COVID-19 patient isn’t part of Houston television news anchor Chauncy Glover’s job description. Neither is guiding a viewer online to find a place to be vaccinated.

He’s done both, and isn’t alone. Listeners and readers across the country are reaching out directly to journalists for help during the coronavirus pandemic, and many are responding.

Today some of [Hartford Courant’s] young reporters fear for its future. Gathered downtown on a drizzly October afternoon, they have a new mission: finding a civic-minded rich person to buy their publication. Their hope is to rescue the Courant from what they see as the clutches of investors out solely for profit rather than to uphold democratic ideals and expose social ills. Emily Brindley, an energetic 25-year-old who leads the paper’s coronavirus coverage, summarises her view of its existence under its current owner, a New York hedge fund: “At best, we’re numbers on a spreadsheet,” she says. “At worst, we’re not even on a spreadsheet.”
“The people who provided the money for the purchase just wanted to make sure that Nantucket continues to have its own newspaper,” Stanton said. “We’re seeing newspapers all over the country close. Small newspapers are closing or being bought, and then you’ve got towns without any independent news.”
An Alden purchase of all of Tribune doesn’t have to be a fait accompli. In fact, the threat of such a deal represents an opportunity for civic-minded local investors across the country, who could use this case to not only save a critical local news institution, but to reinvent it.
The hedge fund has a reputation for making deep cost cuts at titles it acquires, which has triggered employee efforts at several Tribune papers to find local buyers to take over the publications individually, since Alden began amassing its stake in the company in late 2019
“They fashion short-term business plans that cut newsrooms to the bone — destroying the watchdogs of our democracy,” Schleuss said. “Our thousands of members will continue to fight hedge fund ownership of local news.”
A hedge fund that owns a big stake in Tribune Publishing Co. is seeking to buy the newspaper chain behind titles including the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News.