“Obituary” for the Chicago Sun-Times

I have read the words ten or more times today: “The Chicago Sun-Times this week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.” I keep setting the article in my local paper aside, and then keep coming back to it. Somehow I think when I look again, the words might be gone, but what’s gone is the American journalistic institution, established in 1844, that was home at one time or another to such luminaries as: Mike Royko, Irv Kupcinet, Ann Landers, Roger Ebert, just to name a few.

The newspaper will still be published during the bankruptcy proceedings. The parent company Sun-Times Media Group, Inc. will be looking for a buyer. There is hope that the name will live on. But the paper hasn’t been the same as I remember it as a Chicago native for quite a while. The Rupert Murdoch era (starting in 1984) saw the paper turn to the sleazy and the sensational. Then the paper was turned over to Hollinger International, controlled indirectly by the infamous Conrad Black who is now behind bars for fraud and obstruction of justice.

Black left the legacy of a $608 million tax bill. More recently, the paper has tried to restore its working class roots, but alas, too little, too late.

Each newspaper in trouble has its own story, and a separate set of factors that may have brought each to their knees. For those on the “media death watch” there may be glee, for me, I’m still remembering being on the northbound commuter with the conveniently sized paper in my hands, turning pages.

For more on the “demise” of newspapers in general read my post:  https://communicatorsandcommunications.com/2009/03/16/a-jurassic-park-kind-of-world/

For more about a once great newspaper read the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Sun-Times


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