The Week: A vulture swoops down on Gannett

The Gannett chain was the most voracious acquirer of local papers in the news business, said Brooke Sutherland at ­Bloomberg​. Now “the hunter has become the hunted.” The hedge fund Alden Global Capital this week offered $1.4 billion to buy Gannett, which publishes USA Today and dozens of other daily papers across the country, including The Arizona Republic, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and The Cincinnati Enquirer. Alden’s subsidiary, Digital First Media, already has a growing roster of papers — including The Denver Post and The Orange County Register — and a notorious record of decimating newsrooms. Alden believes that “the future of newspapers lies in consolidation and the cost cuts that it enables.” That strategy of buying and cutting is exactly the one that Gannett pursued as it grew into the biggest newspaper owner in the country. Alden is following Gannett’s own logic, taken to its furthest extreme. So far, wherever Digital First has gone, “a bevy of job cuts” has followed.

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