Orlando Sentinel pleads for white knight investors
Orlando Sentinel

Orlando Sentinel
The Orlando Sentinel fears a takeover that could threaten local journalism.

The Orlando Sentinel on Friday published an editorial beseeching white knight investors to rescue the newspaper from a hostile takeover that Alden Global Capital has been pursuing for the paper’s parent company Tribune Publishing.

In the unusual public call for support, Sentinel editors express contempt for Alden, their potential corporate owner, and characterize the moment as existential for the newspaper’s future.

“Alden’s history with newspaper ownership is akin to a biblical plague of locusts — it devours newsroom resources to maximize profits, leaving ruin in its wake,” charges the editorial headlined, “Deliver us from Alden so the Orlando Sentinel can continue covering Central Florida.”

Alden Global Capital has been maneuvering for more than a year to acquire Chicago-based Tribune Publishing. Other papers in the group included the Sentinel’s sister in Fort Lauderdale, The Sun-Sentinel of South Florida, along with the company’s flagship Chicago Tribune, and the New York Daily News, The Baltimore Sun, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot, the Hartford Courant, and The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

In recent weeks talk has emerged of possible white knights, investors saying they’re committed to retain strong journalism at one or more of the company’s newspapers. The Sentinel editorial names a few: Baltimore hotel executive Stewart Bainum; Swiss billionaire Hansjörg WyssMason Slaine, a former media executive who lives in South Florida; and Orlando’s Craig Mateer, the founder of Bags Inc., which runs visitors’ services at Orlando International Airport, Walt Disney World and other tourist centers.

Someone, anyone, the Sentinel urges, should save the paper so it might continue a public service mission the editorial describes as “to keep the public informed and hold government officials like Joel Greenberg accountable.”

The editors cite what happened to Alden-acquired newspapers in Denver, St. Paul and elsewhere, when newsrooms were decimated with job cuts, and where local journalism withered. The editorial notes that the Sentinel already has suffered its own deep newsroom cuts, from a 170-person newsroom staff in 2010 to fewer than 80 today. “With Alden as our owner, however, it could get much, much worse,” the piece warns.

“Our deepest hope is that the investors who are emerging as a possible antidote to Alden will prevail so the Orlando Sentinel and other Tribune Publishing newspapers can continue serving the public by reporting the news, and keeping you informed,” the editorial concludes.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


9 comments

  • Ron Ogden

    April 2, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    If the Sentinel and similar old Roosevelt-era rags like the St. Pete Times hadn’t driven away their readers with their unrepentant polemicism, these “journalists” wouldn’t find themselves in this situation, weeping piteously amid the ruins of their newspapers, begging alms in the dirty streets of newspaper land. If they want to quote the Bible, they should try Galatians 6:7 (KJV).

    Reply

  • Joe

    April 2, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    Cancelled their paper maybe 10 years ago? They wanted to be a left wing Democrat endorser. I hope they go broke.

    Reply

  • Lewis Messer

    April 3, 2021 at 9:57 am

    I canceled my subscription recently after 25 years as the constant assault against our Governor became too much to bear. They have created their own situation – let them fail.

    Reply

    • Gary

      April 4, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      In other words, you don’t want to hear anything that opposes your belief in one person because it may make you think. You probably think Fox News is the best source, and here we are.

      Reply

      • Ron Ogden

        April 4, 2021 at 2:10 pm

        Although your note was not addressed to me, let me say that I do not want to hear continuous, unremitting, calculated, intended and programmatic criticism of anyone, regardless of position or party. But that is what we have been getting out of the media for far far too long. If it were reasoned, respectful, objective and justifiable criticism, that would be one thing. But no.

        Reply

        • Gary

          April 5, 2021 at 12:07 am

          I agree in part with your comment, but it’s not a good reason to abandon one of the most important resources that keeps a check on our politicians, gov’t and democracy etc…and that is newspapers like the Sentinel. I am more worried about the damage that Fox News has done to 50% of this country that is too lazy to read national mainstream newspapers when all of them are reporting the same evidence, but only believes in one source (Fox News opinion tv hosts and their conspiracies.

          Reply

  • Thomas palmer

    April 4, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Yeah, let the government control the message. Who needs watchdogs?

    Reply

  • martin

    April 4, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Print media is dead. Anything they do print is weeks old. Investigative reporting has gone the way of the doodoo bird. It is all one sided political opinion, badly disguised as news.

    They can all fall into a sinkhole.

    Even this website leaves stale stories up that are worse then month old bread.

    Reply

  • martin

    April 6, 2021 at 11:31 am

    My point exactly. This “story” has been up since April 2. It is old and stale.

    Reply

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