Recent Comments

Re: “Sun-Times Media has new owners and a new stepbrother, the CNC

I can't say what needs to be done to make Sun-Times Media thrive from a business perspective. But as a news organization, it needs more staff. Talk to anyone who subscribes to their papers and they'll say the same thing - there's nothing in it. You can't expect people to keep paying for something and spending their time looking at it when they don't feel like they're getting anything out of it. The Aurora Beacon News covers dozens of schools, yet it has one sports reporter to cover those and the local colleges. That's better than the Naperville Sun and Elgin Courier, which have none. The Elgin Courier has two reporters to cover a dozen towns. The Naperville Sun's editor was laid off and not replaced, so who directs the coverage? Most of the copy editors and designers in the suburbs were laid off, so now the paper will be edited and designed by folks in Chicago who neither know nor care about the suburbs. I'm sure they'll do a great job though. And there's a really high likelihood that they'll recognize when a councilman's name is misspelled by the freelancer who is writing the story that used to be written by a staff member who would have spent years learning that beat and the pertinent issues.

I used to work for one of those suburban papers and was fortunate enough to leave because I found a new job, not because I was laid off like most of my other colleagues. My dad - who proudly proclaims that if there's only one paper left in the country, he will subscribe to it, because he likes reading the paper that much - says all the time that he should just cancel the paper he gets because there's nothing in it. Now if he can no longer see the value, can you really expect anyone else to see it? Sun-Times Media is in a vicious cycle of staff cuts which lead to poorer content, which leads to fewer readers, which leads to less ad revenue, which leads to more staff cuts. Someone needs to figure out how to stop this cycle.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Journalist on 12/23/2011 at 9:52 PM

Re: “Class warfare—who to blame?

Skeptic, I think this one went over your head. It's satire, read it more closely. It's like Jonathan Swift writing about what a great idea it would be to eat Irish babies.

Posted by Journalist on 10/25/2011 at 9:58 AM

Re: “If twitter was a virus, we'd be hysterical

Think about how every business and media organization is constantly pushing Twitter, and then think about the fact that only 13 percent of people use it. All these businesses and media outlets are so worried they're going to get left behind on this one and that this will be the next big thing, but the reality is that most people think Twitter is stupid and have no desire to use it.

Posted by Journalist on 08/29/2011 at 4:29 PM

Re: “At What Point Will There Be Nothing Left of the Sun-Times But the Hyphen?

Regarding the issue of mistakes on the web, I can tell you exactly why this happens. I'm a former copy editor at a suburban Sun-Times Media paper so I know the process. Most copy editors start their work day at 2:30 or 3 p.m., but the organization has a "web first" philosophy that it is pushing relentlessly, so any article that is written in the daytime goes up to the web right away with only one editor looking at it who is editing for content, not as a copy editor. Sometimes the reporter just sends it straight to the web without anyone reading it, because the wonderful editorial system they purchased allows that. So that story might sit up there most of the day with all kinds of errors in it, until the copy editor finally comes in for his shift and gets to that story, which might not be until 4 or 5 p.m. Then the changes will be made, but by that time most of the people who are going to read it have already looked at it with all the mistakes. Of course now that they laid off so many copy editors it will probably take even longer to edit these things and many articles, especially in features sections, might not get copy edited at all.

The Sun-Times also seems to have a belief that copy editors and designers are interchangable and that anyone in the newsroom can work as a copy editor. Veteran copy editors know this isn't true but no one is asking our opinion.

Everyone who works for a Sun-Times Media paper is trying their hardest to get out of there or trying to just hold on until they can retire. No one has any faith in management and it's a routine joke in the newsroom to discuss how long we have until the company finally shuts down, with estimates usually around 6 months. Of course, no matter how many people leave and what key positions they have, they will not be replaced. This company does not have long to live.

Posted by Journalist on 05/15/2011 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Layoffs of People We Know

Veteran Scribe, they laid off an editor at the Joliet Herald and a reporter at the Naperville Sun. I don't feel it is my place to name names, but they keep trimming where there is nothing to trim. The Naperville Sun now has three reporters to cover a city of 150,000. And no one is too confident there aren't more cuts coming too. The company likes to space these out to keep the employees on edge and prolong the misery for everyone.

Posted by Journalist on 03/24/2011 at 1:13 AM

Re: “"On the first day of unemployment . . . "

It's kind of ironic that those of us who work for Sun-Times Media have to rely on the Reader to keep us informed about what's going on in our company, because we're always the last to know. Thanks for spreading the word.

Posted by Journalist on 12/16/2010 at 7:36 PM

Re: “A Hard One to Spin

The company line about the new computer system being so much more efficient is a joke. It has been in use in the company's suburban papers for a month, and everyone agrees it takes them longer to do anything than it did in the previous system, and most people still don't really understand how it works. The executives are so clueless, but you never see their names in these layoffs. Instead we pick on photo editors and editorial assistants.

Posted by Journalist on 10/28/2010 at 10:52 PM

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