About this blog

Loumug

Our blogger's identity is top secret, but you can call him Lou Grant. He's got the inside dish on doings at the Trib, Sun-Times and other Chicago media companies.


Recent posts

Lougrant

A Who Did It? Was Eric Zorn mugged?


Have you got a minute, gentle reader, for a cause? In today's “Change of Subject” Eric Zorn discusses Charity Mugging. But, wasn't this the same discussion, with a different spin, that appeared earlier this month in Slate? If Zorn found the topic by himself, where, who and what cause solicited him and provoked this column?


The Blog Ghetto


Our blog pages have been reorganized. It was part of that reformat/ reboot both Geoff and I discussed this morning. My bottom line: I don't like it. The new blog pages exposes the weak side of the site. Plus, instead of just the five or six blogs we had before, most of which were never updated, now we have more than a dozen. Whatever was worthwhile is now going to be lost among even more dead pages.

 

This is not good.

 

For some time at...more


Daily News Redesign


I've been muttering under my breath about the design of the ChiTownDailyNews for some time now. Over the weekend I discovered there would be a significant redesign of the site. Reporters Notebooks, really blogs, would take a more central stage in the redesign. That's about all I learned.

 

Now, finally at 7:30 AM on Monday, I've gotten my first peak.

 

Finally, some photojournalism dominating the first page. Nice big pictures connected to a story that is appearing inside. The evergreen pictures of dogs, bicycles and sailboats, mostly...more


#CFMC; Twittering at the Chicago Media Future Conference


I felt rather anonymous at the Chicago Media Future Conference held today at Columbia College. There's something nice to be walking through a room of people you know and who don't know you. It can be lonely too, of course. But that illusion was shattered when chicagocarless writer Mike Doyle blew my cover.

Of course it has never been much of a cover. It has been and remains more of a convenience that is losing any value. I was reminded about the beginning of this idea of anonymous blogging when I contacted John Kuzcaj,...more


Electronic media: the new top dog?


Coming out of the Community Media Workshop Making Media Connections Conference I'm struck by how much I have to learn. Each of the conference sessions provided opportunities to learn something new. Much of the conference centered on how to replace newspapers in the new media world. So, in consideration, is it fair to assign the label loser to the printed word? Are we at a point where we can say that the daily newspaper is no longer the top dog?

Although the long-term trend is that newspapers are in decline,...more


Adee discusses ChicagoNow future at CMW Conference


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The search for the Nile; sources unknown


Michael Oneal's Monday article, “Lenders may get control of Tribune Co.” suggests that unnamed sources are putting forward a plan to take the Tribune Co. out of the control of Sam Zell. However much employees and readers are taken with the idea that Zell and his minions would be shown out the door onto Michigan Avenue, the story refuses to give names.

Sources, what soures are we discussing? “A source with knowledge of the situation... “ Okay, that would be someone in what camp? Zell's, the creditors?

Later in the story it is bankruptcy experts....more


Trousers? At the Tribune? Come on!


The Daily Record publishes strong words from former (Baltimore) Sun publisher Michael E Waller about current Tribune Co management: “if this ownership continues its ways, it will be forced to liquidate.

“Tribune management confuses innovation with idiocy,” he said. “I could wear my underwear over my trousers and Tribune would think that’s innovation. Everybody else would think I was wacko.”

That's really unfair to Tribune management. The informal Trib dress code calls for designer jeans, not trousers.

 


Blogging for pay and profit; Unlikely, but possible


For the past few months I've been following the challenges of two friends. As the economy collapsed they moved from Michigan to Ottawa. The woman, an American citizen, felt isolated. Taking care of small children, she wasn't able to compete with Canadian subjects for jobs. This morning she wrote me:

Lou,

I thought you would be a good person to ask this question to. How does one get paid to blog? Do you have to be a writer to do it? I hear and see ads for people to be...more


The Committed Indian; Snark and in-depth report informs and entertains


In the shadow of the United Center, standing on a sidewalk just east of the doors and across from the sculpture of the Chicago Blackhawks a young man is hawking something. From the parking lot across the street you can hear him: “Committed Indian, $3.”

This is Sam Fels working the crowd on game day. Fels is the publisher, writer and circulator of the Committed Indian, it is in direct competition with the Chicago Blackhawks official game day program, “Chicago Blackhawks Magazine” and was inspired by the Blue Line.

The Blue Line is...more


Who is the "World's Greatest Newspaper" Now? Sun-Times A/R has the answer


 

As you can tell this week, I'm being wonky. For the past three days I've taken a look at the numbers provided by the Sun-Times Media Group annual report to shareholders. Today, employee counts:

 

...more


2008 2007     % Change
Production 564 598 5.69%
Sales & Marketing 509 637 20.09%

A questionable "move" by the Sun-Times Media Group; Is Ashland ready for primetime?


 

While looking at the Sun-Times Media Group's annual report to shareholders I remembered that the company plans to move all its printing operations into the Ashland Avenue plant. Here's the quote: “the Company currently produces most of its suburban newspapers at a 100,000 square foot owned plant, in Plainfield, Illinois (which is held for sale at December 31, 2008) and a 65,000 square foot leased building in Northfield, Illinois. The Company closed its older, less productive facility on South Harlem Avenue in 2006, in 2007 closed its Gary, Indiana facility and announced it will consolidate its three printing operations by closing and...more


Survival is an option; Sun-Times moves bring the future into reach


 

For months this column has used the rough cash burn rate of $15 million a quarter to describe the problem facing the Sun-Times Media Group. In the last week the company has released its 2008 annual report to shareholders and announced a significant layoff.

 

Combined with the price increase of the Sun-Times, the moves are finally moving the company into a position where survival is possible. Here are the details.

 

1 The Sun-Times increased the price of its daily newspaper to $1.00. There are a...more


A Mea Culpa to the ChuffPo


Someplace in the Internet I wrote about finding Huffington Post pieces that were attributed to the "Huffington Post News Editors" but were actually aggregated news articles from other on-line publications, expecially the Chicago Sun-Times.

NOT SO.

In reviewing the entries, Google News attributes the articles to the Huffington Post News Editors, but the Huffington Post itself attributes that news to the publication and sometimes even to the writer. So, this is a shame on Google situation, not a shame on ChuffPo situation.

For the record, here are the list of articles I found mishandled by Google. I apologize for the...more


Replacement for Quigley today


The final gasps of the 2008 election are coming. That would be the decision by Democratic Party officials on the replacement for 5th Congressional District Representative Mike Quigley as he resigns his post as Cook County Commissioner. During the long aggregate two blogs showed up, both new, that hold the promise of watching Cook County closer than any newspaper.

 

I've come to believe that the hierarchy of news is failing to cover the middle area between the neighborhoods and the larger world. The 5th Congressional District and Cook County Government are both examples...more


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