The Atlantic Daily: Newspapers Are Dying an Unnatural Death

Inside Alden Global Capital, the secretive hedge fund gutting America’s newsrooms

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A secretive hedge fund called Alden Global Capital is snapping up some of America’s most storied newspapers and gutting them for short-term profit. But to describe it as a vulture of a company isn’t quite right, one former Chicago Tribune reporter told my colleague McKay Coppins:

“A vulture doesn’t hold a wounded animal’s head underwater. This is predatory.”

In our new cover story, McKay explores the company’s “simple” business model: “gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring as much cash as possible” out of the property until it either folds or is left “a desiccated husk of its former self.”

Alden’s notoriously tight-lipped co-founders, Randall Smith and Heath Freeman, are becoming major media moguls despite appearing to care little about the industry’s fate. “No one has been more mercenary or less interested in pretending to care about their publications’ long-term health,” McKay argues.

And their company isn’t slowing down: Alden purchased both The Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune in a deal this past May, making it the country’s second-largest newspaper owner by circulation.

Read McKay’s story online or in the November issue of our magazine.

The news in three sentences:

(1) Gunfire and violence erupted amid protests in Beirut, killing six people. (2) An FDA panel unanimously recommended Moderna booster shots for high-risk Americans and those 65 and older. (3) The Trump aide Steve Bannon may face criminal charges for failing to comply with the January 6 commitee’s subpoena.

Today’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Set a spooky mood: The 1982 film Halloween III: Season of the Witch is an overlooked installment in the horror-movie franchise. You can rent it online.

Find more films that deserve a second look on our critic’s list.

A break from the news:

All right, these photos are technically news. But they’re animal news, which means they’re adorable.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.