Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tribune Co. Papers Were Thin,
Now They'll Get Skinny

Tribune Co. is trimming the margins of its daily newspapers in an effort to improve its financial margins. All its daily newspapers -- including the Chicago Tribune -- will adopt a web width of 44 inches in the coming months, the company confirmed Tuesday.

Web width is a measurement of the size of a roll of paper for the presses, and for consumers it translates to the width of four broadsheet pages. By reducing the web width, the papers should realize a cost savings because less newsprint is required.

"Over the next several months, Tribune newspapers will convert to a 44-inch web-width, just as hundreds of other newspapers across the country have already done," a Tribune Co. spokesman said.

"This conversion will have no impact on content and little or no impact on advertising, as we standardized ad sizes across our newspapers earlier this year," the spokesman said.

Tribune Co.'s Baltimore Sun has had a 44-inch web width (or a broadsheet front page width of 11 inches) since late February. The other company papers will complete the conversion in late 2009 and early 2010.

The Chicago Tribune, like the Los Angeles Times, currently has a 48-inch web width, or a 12-inch broadsheet front page, although the Tribune's present layout is for a 46-inch web, the company said.

The South Florida SunSentinel, Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, Hartford (Conn.) Courant and the Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., have a 46-inch web width and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., has a 49-inch web width.

The longtime industry standard width was 54 inches, which meant a 13 1/2 inch front page, but it gradually has been reduced in the last decade. The Tribune began reducing its size in 2001.

Overseeing modifications to the presses will be crews from Goss International and Pressline Services Inc., according to, which first reported the change.

-- Chicago Tribune
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