Alden Global Capital Closes Richmond, Virginia's 'Style Weekly'

Alden Global Capital boosted its image as the Evil Empire of publishing this week by closing Richmond, Virginia’s Style Weekly, a 39-year-old alternative paper.

"Style Weekly will cease publishing after the Sept. 8 edition," Brent Baldwin, editor-in-chief, posted on Facebook. "We thank our talented staff for their award-winning efforts and our loyal readers for their support. Thank you, Richmond."

The closing drew quick negative commentary. 

"I’m disappointed and frustrated with Alden’s decision. Former editor-in-chief Jason Roop posted, according to WTVR. 

North Carolina’s INDY Week added that Style is “owned by Alden Global Capital, a cannibalistic hedge fund known for sucking the life out of the publications in its portfolio by gutting staff and selling off real estate.” 



INDY Week added: “The INDY is lucky. We are not owned by a hedge fund, but our owner has publicly stated he's interested in selling the paper.

The first issue of Style, then a monthly, was published in November 1982. 

Style had a fun, witty and sometimes irreverent tone,” Roop notes. “But it was always backed by a love and appreciation for Richmond and its people."

But even small local weeklies are at the mercy of the M&A mania now affecting the news business. 

Landmark Communications Inc. sold The Virginian-Pilot, Inside Business and Style Weekly to Tribune Publishing, then known as Trionic, for $34 million three years ago, according to Virginia Business. Tribune, which also owned numerous big-city dailies, was acquired earlier this year by Alden for $633 million. 

Editor & Publisher writes this week that the impact of the Tribune acquisition “was profound, making Alden Global Capital the owner, in effect, of more than 200 newspapers across the land. It was a deal rife with drama, as the Tribune newsrooms publicly pleaded for some other savior.” 

Commenting on Alden’s motivations, Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan tells Editor & Publisher: "They want to maximize profit, which tends to mean cutting staff sharply, eliminating many of the things that make for good journalism. They sharply increase consumer cost and take advantage of all these papers have developed over the years — the institutional knowledge and the goodwill in the community."

Alden Global Capital executives did not reply for a request for comment by Editor & Publisher. 


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