Baltimore Sun Sold to Chairman of Sinclair TV Stations

The Baltimore Sun, the largest newspaper in Maryland, has been sold to David D. Smith, the executive chairman of the nationwide Sinclair network of television stations and other media.

Mr. Smith, who grew up in Baltimore, bought Baltimore Sun Media, which includes The Sun, in a private deal from Alden Global Capital, an investment firm that has become the country’s second-largest newspaper operator. Sun Media also includes The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., and several other Baltimore-area publications.

It was unclear how much Mr. Smith paid for Baltimore Sun Media.

Triffon G. Alatzas, the publisher and editor in chief of The Sun, said in an email to the newsroom on Monday that Mr. Smith had bought The Sun “to support his hometown newspaper.” Mr. Alatzas said Mr. Smith would meet the staff at The Sun on Tuesday.

In an interview with the paper, Mr. Smith said, “We have an absolute responsibility to serve the public interest,” adding, “I think the paper can be hugely profitable and successful and serve a greater public interest over time.”

Like many city newspapers, The Sun has seen its circulation and advertising revenue erode as readers have moved online to get their news. Alden, which acquired The Sun in 2021 when it bought the Chicago-based Tribune Publishing newspaper chain, has been aggressive cutting costs.

The Sun, which dates from 1837, is also facing competition from The Baltimore Banner, a nonprofit subscription website that started publishing in 2022 after hiring some of The Sun’s best reporters. The Banner was started by Stewart Bainum Jr., a hotel magnate and former politician who tried unsuccessfully to buy The Sun.

The Sun will now have a local owner for the first time in nearly four decades. It had been owned by Times Mirror, a Los Angeles-based media company that included The Los Angeles Times, before it was sold to the Tribune Company.

Baltimore Sun Media has more than 150 employees across its publications, with more than 230,000 paid subscribers for its print and digital editions.

The Sun will remain distinct from Sinclair, which is based in Maryland and owns about 200 television stations, including the Fox affiliate in Baltimore. In 2018, Sinclair drew a backlash when anchors at its stations were ordered to read an editorial about media bias. Mr. Smith fiercely disagreed with the criticism of the scripts.

Mr. Smith is the latest wealthy investor to try to revive a news organization in recent years. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong purchased The Los Angeles Times in 2018, and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, bought The Washington Post in 2013.

Baltimore Sun Media has earned 16 Pulitzer Prizes. The Capital Gazette won a special Pulitzer citation for its coverage of a shooting attack that killed five employees in its offices in June 2018.

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