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 The Times Herald, The Mercury and The Reporter, all Montco-based daily newspapers, is currently eyeing Gannett, which operates the largest chain, by circulation, of daily newspapers in the country.
At The Delaware County Daily Times, another Digital First Media property, 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 for $2 million.
Last year, Digital First Media also announced the closure of the longtime home of The 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.