Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Storms Still Ahead for the Chicago Tribune

For the Chicago Tribune, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2008 was a fateful day.

On that day, the newspaper published its in-depth investigation of the Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich scandal; two days earlier, its parent company, Tribune Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“That day said the business model is broken,” editor Gerould W. Kern said at a May 21 panel of industry leaders titled “Make Media Matter.”

Before and since December, the newspaper suffered numerous layoffs, lower print circulation and a $13 billion debt load which real estate mogul Sam Zell took on when he purchased the company in April 2007. Zell invested $315 million in equity in the company in an $8.2 billion dollar buyout.

“Reporters are losing their jobs and people are getting lower quality,” said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit industry education resource. “It’s a lot to do with helping Sam Zell pay the debt, which he isn’t able to do completely anyway.”

Not all newspapers are saddled with debt. But the Chicago Tribune has plenty of company in the pool of struggling papers trying to conquer the Internet and other new technologies, while seeking to overcome economic challenges and attract younger audiences. Experts fear the Tribune’s financial trouble is negatively affecting the credibility of the paper, and with advertising revenues falling, the Tribune must search for other revenue streams and ways to deliver its content. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

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