The two major Florida newspapers fall under Tribune Publishing’s portfolio, along with the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and others.
“We remain committed to serving the community with journalism that makes a difference in our readers’ lives,” said South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson. “Our mission inspires us every day, and that doesn’t change with new owners.”
Alden President Heath Freeman also took an optimistic tone. “Local newspaper brands and operations are the engines that power trusted local news in communities across the United States,” Freeman said. “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.”
But some have criticized Alden as a “vulture” firm looking to strip assets from newspapers, including firing staff. In April, the Orlando Sentinel editorial board published a piece asking a white knight investor to swoop in and top Alden’s offer. The New York Daily News made a similar effort.
Maryland businessman Stewart Bainum Jr. did flirt with a deal, that would have valued Tribune at $680 million. Alden’s deal ultimately went through for $633 million after Bainum failed to come through with the necessary funding.
Some unions have already criticized the sale.
“Today, Tribune Publishing shareholders voted to put profit and greed over local news in our country,” read a statement released on behalf of Tribune paper unions. “While we are saddened by the turn of events, we know that our work over the past year — to build allies in the community and to raise awareness about Alden — is not in vain. Those allies will support us as we fight against Alden to protect local news and the cuts that they will inevitably try to make.”
Added NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss, “I am disturbed and upset. Yet, I cannot help but be optimistic. As journalists, we enter this field with a mission and a purpose to listen and report the truth. That mission has always been under attack, yet we continue to persevere.”