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August 18, 2008

The Death of the Chicago Sun-Times?

The newspaper business here in Chicago—like that of the rest of the country—has fallen on hard times. The broadsheet Chicago Tribune apparently wants to turn into USA Today (or Maxim), though thankfully we haven't yet seen any evidence of a redesign. Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times, the local tabloid, is solving its problems by rehashing old Mike Royko columns.

Now, Royko, author of a biography of the first Mayor Daley, is something of a local legend. He once suggested that the city's motto be changed to "where's mine?" and has openly speculated as to what sort of person would put ketchup on a hot dog (we'll concede that he had excellent points on both counts). Nevertheless, such moves reek of desperation.

Dewey Beats Truman

Extra! Extra! Read all about 60 years ago.

Naturally, that makes us wonder if other desperate papers will follow the Sun-Times's lead. Maybe the LA Times can relive the Kennedy assassination, or the Chicago Tribune can remind us that Dewey defeated Truman. How about old H.L. Mencken columns in the Baltimore Sun? Think on it, media overlords!

Of course, rebranding wire reports remains a possibility. The Tribune Company's chief innovation officer was dissuaded from labeling them "from the newsroom" because, as an editor pointed out, "we would be lying if we said that." We'd like to suggest "short bytes." It's snappy and the "bytes" spelling is vaguely evocative of the internet, which is totally hip.

The original version of the final paragraph can be found in the Gelflog post "The Death of the Chicago Tribune?" published July 21, 2008.

Hat tip to Gapers Block.

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