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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A Manhattan-based hedge fund on Tuesday agreed to buy local newspaper giant Tribune, representing the latest blow to the local news industry, which is already struggling to survive the pandemic — let alone the internet era.

Why it matters: The deal means that some of the country's most historic local newspapers, from the Chicago Tribune to New York Daily News, will be in the hands of an investment firm known for cutting journalists at local papers to maximize profits.

  • The acquisition will also create one of the largest local publishing giants in America.
  • Alden Global Capital already owns hundreds of local papers through its majority ownership of MNG (MediaNews Group) Enterprises, which controls papers like the Denver Post and the Boston Herald.
  • As a part of the agreement, Alden agreed to sell Baltimore Sun, The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, and a few other smaller papers, to a Maryland-based nonprofit.

The big picture: The rollup of big newspapers chains like Tribune has killed thousands of local newspaper jobs over the past few years. Research shows those jobs aren't usually being replaced, leading to thousands of local news deserts across the country.

What to watch: Americans trust local news more than any other type of news. But without a sustainable business model for local, newspaper companies are getting gobbled up for close to nothing.

  • Alden purchased the remaining shares of Tribune Publishing Tuesday, valuing the entire company for $630 million. McClatchy and its 30 titles sold last year for $312 million.
  • By comparison, the buzzy new audio app Clubhouse, which launched in September, is valued at $1 billion.

Go deeper: Big city papers face headwinds

Go deeper

Feb 17, 2021 - Economy & Business

Alden Global Capital to buy Tribune in deal valued at $630 million

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for cutting journalists at local papers to maximize profits, is buying out the remainder of Tribune Publishing, the parent company to the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and other local papers.

Driving the news: With the sale, the two companies also announced that The Baltimore Sun would be acquired by a nonprofit backed by a Maryland-based hotel billionaire.

Feb 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Gannett, McClatchy team up to sell ads

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Two of the country's biggest local news companies are joining forces to sell national ads to their combined reach of over 300 local communities.

Why it matters: There aren't many great options for Fortune 500 companies to buy ads at the local level without having to transact with hundreds of different outlets individually. This partnership aims to address that problem.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

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