Baltimore Sun’s New Owner Causes Uproar

A conservative billionaire has just purchased the Baltimore sun which is the city’s paper of record and you can imagine how that’s going.

Owner of Sinclair Media Group, David Smith in partnership with conservative commentator Armstrong Williams purchased the Sun for about “nine figures.”

After holding a 3-hour meeting, Smith told employees that they had to change their actions.

Not only did Smith buy the Sun he purchased a “community of newspapers.”

He’s known for calling print media “so left wing as to be meaningless dribble, which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away. Just no credibility.”

Accounts of what took place during the meeting were published in the Baltimore Banner, whose founder lost the bid to buy the Sun.

Below is what they reported:

 

The in-person meeting ran nearly three hours and was full of tense exchanges, people at the meeting said. Smith was noncommittal about both the long-term continuation of a print edition and retention of current staff.

Smith seemed to try and pit reporters against each other, asking them to rank who was the best in the newsroom. Several times throughout the meeting, he said he has “no idea what you do.”

Asked about people’s job security, Smith said everyone “has a job today” and said he would not make wholesale changes until he better understood the operation.

Reporters repeatedly pressed Smith for answers about whether they would continue public service journalism that didn’t necessarily translate to page views or subscriptions. Smith maintained he was focused on money.

Clad in a suit, Smith spoke glowingly of Fox45, which is known for segments like “City in Crisis.” The news station, Sinclair’s flagship, regularly conducts unscientific online polls — with results that are likely not representative of the region — to gauge viewer interest.

The Sun has been a dying newspaper and if it wasn’t it’s previous owners would not have put it up for sale. It’s funny how people act when a new owner takes over and is actually concerned about making money.

More from the Banner:

“I think it will mean disaster,” John E. McIntyre, an editor at The Sun for 34 years, said of Mr. Smith’s ownership. Mr. McIntyre took a buyout in 2021 and now does occasional freelance work for the new crosstown rival, The Baltimore Banner.

“What I expect is that he will make good on what he said, to turn The Baltimore Sun into the same thing that his Fox45 TV station is: a megaphone for right-wing disinformation and contempt for the city of Baltimore,” Mr. McIntyre added.

The Baltimore Sun Guild, which represents journalists at the paper, said in a statement after the staff meeting: “The editorial direction that he described — focused on clicks rather than journalistic value — concerned many of our members, as did his attitude toward vulnerable communities in the city that we love.”

Imagine that a man who bought a business is concerned about making money.

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