long gone | Chicago Reader

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Re: “They Used to Drive by Night

What will be interesting is to see what happens in Joliet after the dust clears. It's a viable market with a great deal of community loyalty.

At some point the STMG suits will wring the last blood out of the property and it will probably fold altogether, or continue as pale imitation of its steadily weakening self, its few pages jammed with mostly irrelevant news written off site but still labeled local.

And that combined design/editing system they are apparently putting some much faith in ... well, it ain't like that hasn't been tried before. Copley did it back in the 90s. Turned out to be such a clusterf they ended up selling the paper to Conrad Black.

The corporation, first Hollinger and now the current clowns, bleed off so much money that no suburban property could remain profitable. As a former mid-management employee, I can't tell you how demoralizing it was have some little tool like Fred Lebolt tell you "It doesn't matter how well Joliet is doing when the rest of the company isn't." The guy's a real motivator and an Internet "genius." Yeah, right. How does he keep a job when everything he touches turns to merde?

That said, there's still a lot of potential in small market print/digital properties. A streamlined news operation with dedicated ad sales that are no longer anchored to a dying behemoth like Sun Times Media Group could probably do all right.

You rich dudes down in Joliet might want to start thinking about that. It might not be as profitable as the casino was, but you could still turn a buck. And at least have a paper that doesn't consider the city and its inhabitants a bunch of rubes like current Chicago ownership does. You wouldn't even need to buy the name now that it's so tainted. Nor a press, since that can be outsourced locally. Distribution costs would drop considerably in a smaller geographic footprint.

All you really need is some good news, ad, circulation and marketing staff. And hey, I know where you can find some ...

Posted by long gone on 11/12/2010 at 5:20 PM

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