About this blog


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


Tribune Corporate staff didn't cross pollinate-- Zell

Sam Zell in South Florida, talking to the Sun Sentinel staff, discussed the peculiar nature of the old Tribune Co. regime. In Washington, he said, when the corporate office forced all the newspapers to use the same office, walls were built between the offices and even the entrances to the office were separate.

"How much cross fertilization exists?" he asked after discussing the failure of the Corporate staff to utilize the TeenLink idea of the Sun Sentinel in other properties. Reflecting...more

Reed leaves CST

Cheryl Reed's departure from the Chicago Sun-Times is very troubling. She says, "I am deeply troubled that the editorial board members were not allowed to address concerns raised about the Obama and McCain editorials. Instead, wholesale rewrites were done by people who aren't even on the board."

This follows decisions earlier in the history of the Sun-Times Media Group to force centralized editorial decisions on the supposedly independent boards.

"It is the responsibility of the...more

Sun-Times, 18 months in cash

Did I say the upside of a sale of the Sun-Times assets might be the closure of the Chicago Sun-Times? Shame on me.

Asked by Elizabeth Brackett Tuesday on Chicago Tonight about the possibility of selling off the suburban publications, Cyrus Freidheim, the publisher of the Sun-Times, said the company would consider all options.

Bleeding more than $50 million a quarter, the company does have a cash and short-term instruments stache of $297 million....more

Surprise: the Sun-Times up for sale

The Sun-Times Media Group put itself up for sale today. Does that seem like old news? Well, you are not losing your mind; in fact the sale of the Chicago Sun-Times has been floated for years.

The difference in this sale is the consideration of all alternatives "to enhance shareholder value… (including) joint ventures, strategic partnerships and the sale of the Company or any or all of its assets."

It has been a rough...more

Photog draws Zell's salty response

LAObserved is keeping a close eye on Sam Zell. This week, in a video-taped meeting at the Tribune Co.'s Orlando Sentinel he ended an answer to photographer Sara Fajardo with a fuck you, they said.

He "whined to higher-ups" when columnist Steve Lopez knocked on his door in Malibu.

And, he tugged his ear in a photo. Which is something like giving the middle finger to your supervisor if you are a LA Times pressman according to LA Observed.

Election coverage

Election coverage is all over the map, with many small publications not even bothering to show up. Three publications caught Media Insider's eye on election eve, the Pioneer Press News-Star, covering Chicago's North Side, Windy City Times and Extra. Each at least tried to cover the primary. In the issue on streets Monday, February 3rd, here is what we found.

First up, the News-Star.

"GOP ward chief races steam up," the Pioneer Press News-Star proclaimed on page one of the January 30th issue. There in paragraph two is true democracy at work as we meet Kenneth...more

Zell makes 1st real estate moves at Tribune Co.

The first real estate transactions of the Zell-owned Tribune Co. occurred this week. Most of the ink was spent analyzing the $130 million sale of the KTLA news properties in Los Angeles to Hudson Capital LLC.

However, further under the radar was the purchase of Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Hartford Courant and Baltimore Sun property from the Times Mirror Chandler Trust for $175 million. The sales exercised a below-market price option that was negotiated in 2006,...more

Red Eye heavier than Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times and the Red Eye sat together on my porch this morning. But picking them up, together, shock: the Red Eye was heavier than the Sun-Times. The Red Eye has been eating the lunch of the Sun-Times for a while in vending machines, now it is taking it to the tabloid in advertising.

At only 32 pages, the Red Eye is still smaller than the 52 page Sun-Times. But it has advertising inserts, called FSIs by the newspaper industry,...more

Happy Birthday to the CST

Tomorrow is our birthday the letter from Michael Cooke states on page 3 of the Friday edition of the Chicago Sun-Times. "The headline on the front page of that first Chicago Daily Sun and Times was indicative of the kind of newspaper we would become: "Majczek tells of $5,000 'gift' to Ill. legislator.'

"It was the latest development in one of the most famous stories in newspaper history, the 'Call Northside 777' murder case…"


LA Times and Jim O'Shea revisited

The consternation over the termination over Jim O'Shea is finally resolving. A number of great pieces are helping to put the problems of the publishing industry into perspective. Here are a few that you may have heard about, or not: David Simon's Washington Post piece, discussing the Baltimore Sun, a Tribune Co. property, that has seen massive job losses appeared in the week before the O'Shea sacking. The Baltimore Sun features prominently in a storyline of the HBO series "The Wire" this season....more

Defender down to one a week

The day of the Chicago Daily Defender is numbered. According to Stella Foster of the Chicago Sun-Times the daily will become a weekly effective February 13. It will be competing against several other periodicals for readers in its new frequency, including N'Digo and five of the Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group newspapers distributing on the South Side and the South Suburbs.

Gregory Tejeda's blog has about as good a perspective on the past of the Defender...more

AFDI means no more penguins here

"Do you know what AFDI means?" I didn't, but offered to Google the abbreviation. In question was a screed from new Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell. Here it is in its entirety:

There's been a transformative change in the Transformative Change e-mail box. It's gone. Use this e-mail box to send your ideas, and I want to see a lot of them. We've now officially moved into the mode of AFDI.



Body Count

Michael Miner, of the Chicago Reader, wrote an excellent piece in his media blog about the roughly 30 news room terminations at the Chicago Sun-Times. But since the gaze of the journalists seems fixed on the newsroom, here is a rough body count for some other departments: Advertising is said to have lost 40 and about 10 drivers were let go as their routes were terminated. It is a story of early retirements and voluntary career setbacks throughout the company.


Hillary writes a high school essay

YIKES!! Is this person really running for the Presidency? "What Maine South means to me" by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hidden back in the sports pages of the Wednesday Sun-Times, this 360 word essay would have threatened the continuing education of the Wellesley-bound future first lady if submitted with her application.

It appears to have been ghostwritten by an intern:

"High school was an eye-opening time for me. This was the late '60s, and the...more

Super Bowl 42, Tellander XLII

Why do people go into sports journalism? Well, for one thing, the stories often write themselves and of course, like the professional athletes they often pander to, sports journalists are paid to go to sporting events. Isn't that cool? Become a sports journalist, get free tickets, food, access to celebrities. Oh yeah, you have to write about what happened. It could be worse, you could work a sanitation truck or be a cop or just about anything…

But there is...more