Certainly, the newspaper has lost its status since 2000, when Tribune Co. bought the Los Angeles Times. Still, its sale to an out-of-town owner could end Tribune’s run as the most influential media outlet in Chicago. There are a couple of reasons to avoid that.
As a stand-alone entity, the paper would surely lose resources and staff, jeopardizing the sort of important journalism it still does.
First, it’s clearly better for Chicago to be home to one of the largest private companies in the U.S. Big corporations with engaged CEOs and headquarters here are part of the stew that makes us a great city. Think of St. Louis, where Belgium’s InBev bought locally owned Anheuser-Busch Cos. Next time the town needs a new stadium, it’s doubtful the brewer’s execs would pick up the phone.
Second, Chicago Tribune unmoored from a corporate parent is diminished. As a stand-alone entity, the paper would surely lose resources and staff, jeopardizing the sort of important journalism it still does, such as recent series on flame retardants, pension scams and debt problems in the suburbs. Who will pick up the torch? Certainly not thinly staffed “hyper-local” news sites or ambulance-chasing TV stations.
What’s more, Tribune is the only media outlet in Chicago willing to maintain the civic responsibility of vetting every candidate for public office, now that the Chicago Sun-Times has renounced that duty.
* The Question: Do you care if the Tribune is sold to an out-of-towner? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.
- Posted by Rich Miller
- grand old partisan - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:32 pm:
Hey, we have an out-of-town Mayor - why not an out-of-town newspaper!
The Illinois ownership has been a failure. They might as well have been owned by the Koch brothers.
Crain’s is just right up there when it berates the Sun-Times, - a paper that just keeps getting better, when it says: “now that the Chicago Sun-Times has renounced that duty.”
If we want to talk about renouncing any duty to be a sane, fair, and impartial news organization, no need to look farther that the Crainnies and the Tribbies. -Sheesh.
Based on their editorial page, the Trib was bought out by Martians or the aliens from the movie “They Live”, some time back, so foreign or out of town ownership may be moot now… That paper was once something really great. It is a shadow of those days when the powerhouse combo of paper, TV/Radio/ and Da Cubz ruled the media landscape.
No - since they don’t endorse local Democrats (in a Democratic State, County and City) ever - any out of town owner (with the exception of Rupert Murdoch) has a better chance a doing a fair job of political analysis and endorsements than sticking with an out of touch and unfair local team.
If Murdoch buys the Trib we may able to enjoy the ongoing saga of the AFSCME/Quinn conspiracy to redistribute the wealth of our oppressed Illinois millionaires. Fox can toperate it to double-down on the crazy.
I voted no. We still need local voices who care in Illinois, whether you agree with them or not. Will they be diminished as a stand alone newspaper? Sadly, this may happen. An example is the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Chicago Sun-Times purchased all the collar county dailies and Pioneer Press local weekly papers a few years back. The results for the most part for the local Pioneer Press papers has been abysmal, with skeleton crews manning what is left of that chain. Local suburban news went from being strongly covered to being barely covered. The dailies are also struggling for relevance and resources and now their editorial offices are all being consolidated.
I know it is a new media world out there, but . . .
I grew up in Chicago where the Trib, SunTimes, and Wally Phillips there every morning. Jobs moved us around the country. Always found at least the Sunday Trib at local bookstores. Moved back to Illinois and the regional distributor stopped carrying it. Have not missed it. Too many other options and any major story gets covered multiple ways. 60 Minutes just had a story on how big city papers are struggling to survive. If the locals do not support the local institutions how are newspapers supposed to be around?
—First, it’s clearly better for Chicago to be home to one of the largest private companies in the U.S. Big corporations with engaged CEOs and headquarters here are part of the stew that makes us a great city. Think of St. Louis, where Belgium’s InBev bought locally owned Anheuser-Busch Cos. Next time the town needs a new stadium, it’s doubtful the brewer’s execs would pick up the phone.
Is Crain’s seriously saying that the Busch’s were engaged in Saint Louis before the InBev takeover?
Wait, they seriously compared Saint Louis–a city of about 320,000 to Chicago? Even when compared by metro areas, they still aren’t comparable.
But let’s go back to the Busch’s being engaged? The Busch’s lack of engagement with their own company let alone Saint Louis is the whole reason InBev was able to buy the brewer fairly easily.
The difference since InBev bought Busch? Not much. Apparently there is a difference in where they are sending some of their potential MBAs, but that’s about it.
No - Because of the abysmal coverage of the Illinois pension issue, particularly when contrasted with the St Louis Post Dispatch’s coverage (and the clear demarcation of news vs. editorials) of the St Louis City Police and Fire pension issues.
I voted yes, but mostly out of nostalgia for the golden days when newspapers were owned by a wealthy family (like Marshall Field). Some years they made money, some years they didn’t, but they covered the city and provided readers with news about our public business.
I was once a delivery boy for the Small family’s flagship, the Kankakee Daily Journal. It wasn’t a great paper by any stretch of the imagination, mostly AP stories, high school sports and the police blotter (they ran Doonesbury on the opinion page so they were hardly “liberal” media, whatever that means). But like them or not, the Smalls were boosters for their city, and that’s part of what I want in a daily paper.
So yeah, I care and I would much prefer it if one of Chicago’s wealthy families steps up and tries to create something from the wreckage that is the Tribune. Anybody from out of town is simply going to focus on the bottom line, and that won’t serve anyone well.
Funny that Crain’s mentions St. Louis, where Lee Enterprises has eviscerated the once-proud jewel of the Pulitzer crown, gutting coverage to pay bonuses to the bosses. The worst of vulture capitalism. Agree with Word, though, that Chicago Trib fans can’t do worse than Zell.