NY hedge fund slated to take over Morning Call, other Tribune newspapers

Written by on May 21, 2021

NY hedge fund slated to take over Morning Call, other Tribune newspapers

By Tyler Pratt

May 21, 2021

Photo | Ben Stemrich / WLVR

Shareholders of The Morning Call’s owners have voted to sell the company to a New York hedge fund. 

Tribune Publishing, which puts out The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News, in addition to the Call, voted on May 21 to sell the paper to one of its major investors, Alden Global Capital. 

The more-than-$600 million dollar sale sets up Alden to be the second-largest U.S. newspaper owner behind Gannett, which publishes USA Today and other dailies across the US. 

The move has possible implications for the future of local journalism in the Lehigh Valley since Alden has a history of slashing newsrooms to increase profits.

Peter Hall, a reporter at The Morning Call, and also chair of the Morning Call Guild, spoke with WLVR News earlier this year about rumblings of an impending sale. In 2020, Tribune Publishing reduced the paper’s staff by 17% through voluntary buyouts, then it shut down the paper’s Allentown newsroom.

Hall said he’s concerned about what may happen if Alden makes more cuts.

“This means the business of the people is not necessarily always reported to them. And that wrongs going on in our society go unchallenged,” Hall said.

The Morning Call Guild issued a joint statement with other newsroom unions right after the announcement of the shareholder vote, saying they were saddened by the news and that, “Tribune shareholders chose to put profit and greed over local news in our country.”

Alden President Heath Freeman said in a statement, “Local newspaper brands and operations are the engines that power trusted local news in communities across the United States. The purchase of Tribune reaffirms our commitment to the newspaper industry and our focus on getting publications to a place where they can operate sustainably over the long term.”

A spokesperson Tribune Publishing could not be reached for comment in time for publication

Members of the Morning Call Guild say they hope to find a Valley investor to purchase the newspaper and keep ownership local.  But the guild isn’t saying where it stands in the search. 

A Maryland hotel executive had been in talks to buy Tribune Publishing, but the completed sale to Alden ended that bid. 

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