Washington Post: Local Newspapers Caught in Hedge Fund’s ‘Mercenary’ Strategy

Image via Evan Brandt.

Several local newspapers have been caught in Alden Global Capital’s strategy of buying newspapers, drastically cutting jobs, and then selling the real estate, write Jonathan O’Connell and Emma Brown for The Washington Post.

The New York City hedge fund’s newspaper business, Digital First Media, the parent company of West Chester-based Daily Local News, is currently eyeing Gannett, which operates the largest chain, by circulation, of daily newspapers in the country.

At The Delaware County Daily Times, the staff went from 125 people six years ago to 25 today, according to Bill Ross, executive director of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia. Two years ago, the paper’s old building was sold by Digital First Media for $2 million.

Last year, Digital First Media also announced the closure of the longtime home of The Pottstown Mercury and gave employees the choice of working out of the newspaper’s Eagleview printing plant or from home. The paper’s old Pottstown office is currently on the market for $500,000.

They are “going to take the profits as a result of cutting our staff and hurting the community that we serve,” said veteran reporter Evan Brandt.

Read more about the plight of local newspapers in The Washington Post here.

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