When Sam Zell took over the Tribune Company last year, I was cautiously optimistic. He seemed to have a healthy urgency about changing the hidebound thinking at the company and its newspapers.
But as recent months have demonstrated, the only thing more dangerous than a stodgy bureaucracy is a a leader bent on destroying it without the skills and ideas to build anew.
Zell, who pledged a new dawn at the Trib and other media properties, is instead recycling the worst ideas spawned by three decades of desperation over falling newspaper circulation.
Cut reporters? Yup, done that.
I often think rural newspapers have a much bigger impact on their communities than their colleagues at the fancy metro dailies.
The obit for Tom Gish, the editor of a Kentucky weekly, is one example of that.
It's also an amazing reminder that very, very few things are truly new. Gish, the obit says, has been publishing the work of citizen journalism for decades.
The Trib had an interesting article today about Mayor Daley's budget conundrum.
Some aldermen are saying Daley should cut the millions of dollars City Hall spends on public relations contractors and staff spokespeople.
It's a little unclear to us how hizzoner's PR tab could be so high, because in three years of trying, the Daily News has NEVER received a return phone call from a mayoral flak.
Which brings up an even better proposal: pay them per call.
Porn star Ron Jeremy
Tribune innovation officer Lee Abrams
The true test of a newspaper has always been the Sunday edition.
It's the one people have the most time to read, and the one journalists have the most time to report and write.
A good Sunday paper provides a mix of thought-provoking enterprise reporting, lively features -- and, of course, news about whatever happened on Saturday.
That's not what subscribers of the Tribune saw when they picked up yesterday's metro section.
This was a news section that I, in all likelihood, could have written, reported, photographed and edited singlehandedly in the course of a day or two. And I'm...more
Some critics are calling for CNN to reassess its work with citizen journalists because one of them created an apparently erroneous report that Apple chief Steve Jobs had suffered a major heart attack.
Of course, nobody argued that Bloomberg News should conduct a head-to-toe reassessment of its newsgathering four weeks ago, when the service reported Jobs HAD ACTUALLY DIED.
I think it's great to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of traditional and new approaches to reporting. But it's important to apply some balance.
Lately, the discussion about citizen journalism seems to focus on individual miscues. And the...more
You'll notice a few changes to the way we display news articles in the coming days.
We will be highlighting the excellent work of our crew of seasoned freelance beat reporters by including a tag line on their articles with a bit of information about their backgrounds. We'll also be changing their bylines to reflect the beats they cover.
For example, Paul Bowker, who produces the best coverage you'll find anywhere of the Chicago Public Schools, will now be credited as "Paul Bowker / Education reporter."
Similarly, we'll be spotlighting the great journalism produced by our volunteer neighborhood reporters by...more
We're examining the possibility of moving the Daily News offices
sometime in the next few months.
Should we come to your neighborhood?
We're looking for an office located in a diverse, centrally
located neighborhood with a supportive local business community.
We're going to need about 1,000 square feet, and we need to be near
bus and El stops.
If you've got suggestions, drop us a line.
Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when one of you is a
blowhard sports columnist and the other is a flailing
But the Sun-Times amazed me the other day by covering the
departure of its biggest star with a three-line news brief.
Oprah's pedicures get more coverage than this.
Meanwhile, the Trib manages to provide full coverage, but tops
it with a headline that mispells 'columnist.'
Some days are better than other in the news biz, I guess.
A prototype of the new Trib redesign
Which raises the question: What would happen if the Tribune Co.
took all the money wasted on redesigning its media properties and
put it towards covering local news?
Wouldn't that be wild? The Trib could do stuff like send reporters
to cover the Chicago Board of Education. And the Chicago Housing
Authority. And the sewage district. It would almost be like a
PAPER... filled with NEWS!
Imagine for a moment that it's 2005, and Dan Rather's just been canned as the CBS Evening News anchor.
The folks at the Tiffany network need a new face to replace a veteran journalist leaving a high-profile news position. And they wouldn't mind spicing up their ratings, too. One of the suits jumps out of his chair.
"I've got it!" he shouts. "Let's get that guy... he produces that television show... the one with the bird... my kids love it."
"Bingo!" says another suit.
And so the producer of Sesame Street becomes the new...more
Word on the street is that Trib managing editor Jim Warren is
the latest Zell casualty, and that there's a bitter goodbye memo
floating around the building.
Anyone want to send us a copy?
Ald. Gene Schulter is now on Facebook! Won't you be
The Huffington Post's Chicago page is up and running as of today.
I've talked with a ton of people over the past few weeks about what this might mean for Chicago, us, and HuffPo.
The answer is: Who knows?
In the short term, they'll be linking to our stories, along with those of lots of other Chicago independent media organizations. We're all likely to see a traffic bump, and a bunch of new readers can easily find our stories. It's a win for everyone.
In the long term, it's possible they could hire some...more
Will the Sun-Times be the first major metro newspaper to fold