Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chicago Tribune now almost indistinguishable from Chicago Sun-Times

The slow decline of newspapers gave way last year to the rapid decline of newspapers.
Sad news for ink-stained wretches like myself.
Perhaps nowhere has the decline been more apparent than at my hometown Chicago Tribune. Once self-titled the “World’s Greatest Newspaper,” the paper seems to be fading fast.
Ever since real estate magnate Sam Zell’s ill-timed, debt-laden takeover deal, the Tribune has been in a downward spiral. Zell bought the parent Tribune Company in April 2007 right before the newspaper advertising market tanked and financial markets took a tumble. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2008.
The Chicago Tribune’s editorial department has seen major job cuts and the company is now looking to outsource its foreign coverage.
Last September, the Tribune launched a major redesign that shrank the size of the broadsheet newspaper along with its news hole and emphasized graphics and photos.
On Monday, the Tribune debuted a tabloid version of the paper for newsstand sales. For now, the home delivery version of the paper remains a broadsheet.
The premiere edition of the tabloid Trib used the same cover photo as cross-town rival Sun-Times. The main difference between the cover design of the two was the Trib’s decision to sell the lower fifth of the front page as an ad. The big color mattress sale ad was ugly and added to the overall cheap feel for the new paper. But hey the newspaper needs the money, so I can’t blame them.
It’s likely the Tribune will eventually switch completely to a tabloid format to save money.

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