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Baltimore Sun managing editor to retire months after the paper was sold

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Sun’s longtime managing editor is retiring and will soon be replaced by another newsroom veteran — the first major staffing shakeup since the newspaper was sold to media mogul David D. Smith and his partner, conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, earlier this year.

Sam Davis, 64, became the newspaper’s first Black managing editor in 2016 after joining its newsroom as an editorial assistant in 1980. The west Baltimore native said he had planned for this year to be his last before retiring, the newspaper reported Tuesday in a story announcing the change.

“It just seemed like a good time to maybe move on,” Davis said. “I’ve just been doing this for a long time.”

Smith, executive chairman of the Sinclair broadcasting chain and an active contributor to conservative causes, bought The Sun from the investment firm Alden Global Capital, which is known for cutting costs and gutting newsrooms. The new owner’s political involvement and the coverage style of his television stations have drawn concern from Sun staffers and media experts.

Sinclair Broadcasting Inc. owns or operates 185 local television stations across the country and is known for infusing a right-wing sensibility into its news products. In 2018, the company ordered its anchors across the country to read a statement that largely echoed what former President Donald Trump had said about “fake news.”

The Sinclair-owned Fox station in Baltimore frequently airs coverage blaming the city’s Democratic mayor, Brandon Scott, for gun violence and failing schools. And Smith has become a prominent player in local politics.

Tricia Bishop, the opinion and features content director who started at The Sun in 1999, will take over newsroom management later this month. Bishop has worked as a reporter, editorial writer, columnist and op-ed page editor.

“I’m both honored and humbled to have been chosen to follow in Sam’s footsteps,” Bishop said.

Publisher Trif Alatzas wrote in an announcement to staff that Davis will work as a consultant in coming months to help build The Sun’s new parent company.

“Thanks to new, local ownership, we are making investments in the business as we launch our new company,” Alatzas wrote. “We are focused on innovating and making key changes in an industry that needs to be even more nimble, urgent and collaborative so we can better position our business for the future.”

Baltimore Sun Media, winner of 16 Pulitzer Prizes, publishes seven other publications aside from the Sun. The Sun was founded in 1837 and has since become the largest newspaper in Maryland.