Chicago-area newspaper publishers are
retrenching as the year draws to a close, with major cost-cutting initiatives from Sun-Times Media and the Tribune Co. Most recently, Sun-Times Media announced that it will close six of its suburban
newsrooms with an eye to consolidating all editorial and production activities in the company’s main Sun-Times building in downtown Chicago.
Sun-Times Media will close suburban newsrooms in Aurora, Glenview, Gurnee, Joliet, Tinely Park and Merrillville, Indiana, and relocate about 70 employees, including editors and production personnel, to the Sun-Times headquarters building.
Suburban reporters will work from the field or from home via laptops and mobile devices. Some workers involved in production may be laid off. In addition to saving money on rent and
streamlining production, Sun-Times execs said the moves are part of a push to transition to a “digital first” company.
As noted, Sun-Times isn’t the only Chicago publisher cutting back.
Earlier this week, the Tribune Co. revealed that its flagship newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, will be dropping its contract with the Associated Press in early
January, along with a number of other Tribune papers, including The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel,Hartford Courant, Morning Call of Allentown, PA, and
the Daily Press of Newport News, VA. The Los Angeles Times is the only Tribune paper that will continue its membership in the AP.
Tribune execs may be cutting costs to make the newspapers more attractive to buyers.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Tribune Co. was considering divesting some or all of its newspapers, and is meeting with bankers to lay the groundwork for negotiations. Tribune is currently scheduled to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of this year, following four years of legal wrangling between creditors, lenders and bondholders over control of the company.
It has already secured permission from the FCC to transfer its TV and radio licenses to creditors, including JPMorgan Chase, Oaktree Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon.