Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's not Randy Michaels's Tribune any longer

Posted By on 06.15.11 at 12:07 PM

trib.jpg
An abiding engine of change at the Chicago Tribune in the post-Colonel McCormick era was the legacy of rigid, isolationist, right-wing Republicanism that younger journalists felt compelled to demonstrate the paper had moved beyond.

Randy Michaels wasn't around as the boss nearly as long as McCormick — who ran the Tribune as owner and publisher from 1926 until he died in 1955. But when Michaels, brought into the Tribune Company by Sam Zell, resigned under fire last October, there was work to be done. David Carr had written in the New York Times that under Michaels, the Tribune Tower “came to resemble a frat house.” His team's “use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective shocked and offended” employees.

The public could believe it. For all its surviving merits, the Tribune under Michaels had become a study in diminished gravitas.

So on Wednesday the city woke to a Tribune overhauled. It's fatter, newsier, and more serious looking, including online. Transformed, no. But it makes me think of the guy who hasn't been to the dentist in ages who finally shows up and gets his teeth cleaned. I looked at the front page and thought, "The plaque is gone."

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