Pioneer Press journalists call on hedge fund owners Alden Global Capital to invest or sell up

Journalists from around the country protested outside Alden's HQ on Tuesday.
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Pioneer Press staff Mara Gottfried

Journalists at the St. Paul Pioneer Press joined the calls of others across the country who are working under the yoke of Alden Global Capital.

The hedge fund has been raking in big profits after years of slashing newsroom jobs at papers it owns, including the Denver Post and the L.A. Daily News as well as the Pioneer Press.

On Tuesday, reporters from Digital First Media newspapers (the parent company owned by Alden) descended on the hedge fund's headquarters in New York to call on its owner to "invest or sell."

Among those in attendance was Pioneer Press reporter Nick Ferraro, who described Alden's stewardship of the newspaper as "a slow, painful bleed."

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"Since Alden took over in 2012, the St. Paul Pioneer Press has lost more than half of our newsroom employees through layoffs, buy outs and attrition," he said.

In solidarity, Pioneer Press journalists who are members of the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild put a rare show of public defiance, echoing the call for Alden to get out of the news business, if it's not willing to invest in it.

While PiPress reporters have joined calls to "invest or sell" before, the newspaper has held back from publicly attacking its ownership in its news pages or on its website.

Dave Orrick, a PiPress reporter and Guild rep who last week described the frustration employees are feeling in St. Paul, says they are more intent on finding a potential buyer for the company, rather than going down the Denver Post route of repeatedly, and publicly, calling out Alden.

Nationally, the guild has been gradually ramping up the pressure for probably two years," he said. "Locally, we’re gonna remain fairly reserved because we believe it’s in the best interest of the PiPress and the community."

Both Orrick and Ferraro have said that it's the St. Paul and wider Minnesota communities that pay the price of Alden's cost-cutting, as a lack of investment curtails its coverage of important events.

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