Tribune dropping tabloid edition | Bleader

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tribune dropping tabloid edition

Posted By on 08.31.11 at 01:30 PM

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This is the last week the Tribune will be sold on newsstands as a tabloid. An experiment begun in January 2009 — the assumption of this blogger being that the Tribune was testing the waters and eventually would go all in as a tab — ends Friday.

Editor Gerould Kern explained in a memo to his staffers that their paper had decided to go in a different direction. "We invested significantly in the newspaper to bring readers 44 additional full news pages per week in local, investigative, business, world and nation, opinion and entertainment news coverage," he wrote. "These enhancements, we believe, are best displayed on the larger pages afforded by the broadsheet format. The broadsheet format projects the image we wish to convey to consumers: The Chicago Tribune is the premier newspaper for readers who are serious about the news.

"More than 90 percent of our newspaper subscribers are home-delivery customers who get the broadsheet edition, while only a small number of single-copy readers pick up our tabloid edition on the newsstand. Elimination of the tabloid helps us streamline operations, reduce costs, and thereby support investments in our broadsheet edition and on the web."

I heard an interesting reaction from across the street. Newsstand sales are far more important to the Sun-Times than the Tribune, and offering Sun-Times readers a bigger, fatter alternative to the now rib-thin tab they'd been buying for decades was an act of aggression calculated to nudge the Sun-Times over the lip of the grave.

But now the Tribune distributes the Sun-Times and it will soon take over printing it. "The city's halfway to a JOA [joint operating agreement]," a Sun-Times reporter told me. The competition has become a revenue stream.

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