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Tribune Company Files for Bankruptcy Protection

By PAM BERNS

Crain’s reports today that the Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors today. No doubt, poor advertising revenue last quarter had a lot to with this decision. But how does a company get to a point where it owes J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. $8.6 billion? That’s billion, not million.

The recent changes to the Chicago Tribune have poured fuel on this crisis. What made Sam Zell make the rudimentary changes to the design while laying off many writers whose work made the Trib what it was to Chicago?Making all the headlines oversized, the photos huge and cutting content don’t make me want to buy this newspaper. Less is not more.

Media is definitely affected by the economy. But you can’t just blame Wall Street and the internet. I predict that we will see a lot more media properties bite the dust in the near future. It seems like many publishers think that they can throw large hotos on every page and write about their advertisers and the public will be enthralled.  We aren’t. We need more than editorial geared to satisfy advertisers. We crave investigational features and news that can enlighten those of us who cannot be there to experience news as it enfolds. Take away those foreign reporters, photographers and analysts, and we find our products so “dumbed down” we no longer trust the product. And that’s a shame.

Published: December 08, 2008