Richmond’s alternative weekly newspaper Style Weekly printed its final issue today after nearly four decades of covering news and culture in the River City.
The paper 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.
The publisher posted a brief note on Facebook Tuesday stating that the paper’s September 8 issue would be its last.
“We thank our talented staff for their award-winning efforts and our loyal readers for their support,” wrote Editor-in-Chief Brent Baldwin. “Thank you, Richmond.”
Founded in 1982, the paper was owned by Tribune Publishing, which was acquired by Alden for $633 million earlier this year. Two days after buying the media giant, Alden began offering buyouts, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Alden, the second-largest newspaper publisher by circulation in the country, is known for making steep cuts and essentially bleeding its papers dry.
The news highlights the grim economic outlook of alt-weeklies, made more precarious by the pandemic.
Just as COVID-19 began to sweep the nation, The Stranger, Seattle’s iconic alt-weekly, laid off 18 employees; Euclid media, which owns seven alt-weeklies including the Orlando Weekly and the Detroit Metro Times, furloughed 70 percent of its staff. Minnesota’s City Pages shuttered last fall.
Neiman Lab, a news industry think tank, pondered whether COVID spelled “total annihilation” for the alt-weekly industry.
This week, the death knell came for Style. We pour one out for you, comrades.
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.
Like everyone else in our industry, we are struggling to swim upstream. To help support local journalism, please consider joining our Press Club.
As it continues to die on the vine, I can only foresee a worse future for society where there are even fewer checks on politicians, governments and corporations, and power becomes further entrenched in the hands of those who already have it.
— Rich Griset (@RichGriset) September 7, 2021
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