Alden’s Randall Smith needs to apologize for supporting Trump

Earlier today, I wrote to Randall D. Smith, a Tribune director and the principal of Alden Global Capital,  urging him to condemn the recent assault on the U.S. Capitol by the supporters of President Donald J. Trump. I also called on him to denounce the president for inciting that assault, to condemn the attack on journalists perpetuated by the rioters and the president; and to apologize for his financial support of Trump.

Mr. Smith and his wife contributed $100,000 in 2019 to the Trump Victory Fund in August 2019.

Smith has major media interests through Alden Global Capital’s 70% ownership stake in MediaNews Group and its 31.6% stake in Tribune Publishing. Alden also owns 1.8% of Gannett Co. and 5.9% of Lee Enterprises. The hedge fund tried unsuccessfully to purchase McClatchy Co. in August 2020, with plans to cut hundreds of journalists from local news.

It’s absolutely unimaginable that Smith would continue to stand by someone who incited an insurrection and has attacked journalists and factual news for the last five years. 

Read the letter here.

Photo: Uprising against Alden in Denver, courtesy of John Leyba.

Here are resources for journalists covering the chaos

We saw a violent mob attack the U.S. Capitol last week. During the insurrection the mob also targeted journalists: they stole and destroyed equipment, threatened reporters and scrawled “Murder the Media” on a door inside the building.

In response to right-wing messages calling for attacking journalists and planning violence at state capitals, the NewsGuild and other journalism organizations are providing resources for journalists and other media professionals working during this difficult time.

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Pittsburgh, Toledo Guild locals charge owners with manipulating news coverage of riot at the Capitol

The Pittsburgh and Toledo locals of The NewsGuild-CWA are charging their papers’ owners with manipulating news coverage of Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol to paint President Donald Trump in a positive light and to muddy the waters about who was responsible for the mayhem. The papers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade, are owned by brothers John and Allan Block, and endorsed Trump for president in the 2020 election.

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Journalists’ Union Calls for Removal of Members of Tribune Board of Directors

Cites breach of fiduciary duties by Alden directors

Jan. 6, 2021; original release Jan. 5, 2021

CONTACT: Sally Davidow (202) 368-3324

The Chicago News Guild has called for the immediate removal of three members of the Tribune Publishing Board of Directors, citing a breach of fiduciary duties in a recent filing of regulatory disclosures. A shareholder proposal sent to Tribune Board Chairman cites misconduct by Tribune directors Randall D. Smith, Dana Goldsmith Needleman, and Christopher Minnetian related to the recently disclosed action of Mr. Smith – Alden Global Capital’s founder.

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Relief bill could save thousands of local news jobs

Updated Dec. 28, 2020 – After six days of uncertainty, President Donald J. Trump signed the COVID relief bill on Dec. 27, marking an important victory for journalists, readers, the news industry generally, and millions of others.

The relief bill in front of Congress includes a NewsGuild-supported provision that will expand Paycheck Protection Program loans to local newsrooms across the country.

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