The hollowing-out of the Chicago Tribune was noted in the national press, of course. There were sober op-eds and lamentations on Twitter and expressions of disappointment by professors of journalism. But outside the industry, few seemed to notice. Meanwhile, the Tribune’s remaining staff, which had been spread thin even before Alden came along, struggled to perform the newspaper’s most basic functions. After a powerful Illinois state legislator resigned amid bribery allegations, the paper didn’t have a reporter in Springfield to follow the resulting scandal. And when Chicago suffered a brutal summer crime wave, the paper had no one on the night shift to listen to the police scanner.
...If you want to know what it’s like when Alden Capital buys your local newspaper, you could look to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where coverage of local elections in more than a dozen communities falls to a single reporter working out of his attic and emailing questionnaires to candidates. You could look to Oakland, California, where the East Bay Times laid off 20 people one week after the paper won a Pulitzer. Or to nearby Monterey, where the former Herald reporter Julie Reynolds says staffers were pushed to stop writing investigative features so they could produce multiple stories a day. Or to Denver, where the Post’s staff was cut by two-thirds, evicted from its newsroom, and relocated to a plant in an area with poor air quality, where some employees developed breathing problems.