Why I'm not cancelling my Chicago Tribune subscription

At least not yet

The massive exodus of talent from the Chicago Tribune is, according to former editor Ann Marie Lipinski, indeed “staggering.

An estimated 40 journalists are taking the buyouts being offered by the paper’s new owners, the Alden Global Capital hedge fund. The slaughter has generated an impressive number of readers who, in protest, are cancelling their subscriptions. Especially impressive is the stampede of regular readers of conservative columnist John Kass (see https://johnkassnews.com)

As upset as this crass demolition of a great newspaper makes me, I’m not cancelling my subscription. Because I don’t want this important voice in Chicago journalism to fail.

This isn’t new. I was a reporter (science and technology writer) for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984 when Rupert Murdoch bought it from the Field brothers. Murdoch was widely despised in the business and, as some observers confidently predicted, would trash and eventually kill the Sun-Times. Popular columnist Mike Royko, the entire editorial board and other top-notch journalists fled to the Tribune and elsewhere.

Leaving the rest of us behind. Some of us didn’t have the opportunity to leave and a few, like investigative door-kicker Charles Nicodemus* stayed. (Disclosure: A few months later I was offered and took a great job in corporate public relations. About two years later, the corporation was consumed in a take-over and my job was eliminated. The Sun-Times asked me to return as a columnist and editorial writer, and I did,.)

It didn’t get much attention at the time, but the people who stayed at the paper were heroic. They fought like hell to keep the paper going, doing great journalism with a depleted staff. In the face of ridicule and censure.

Yet they persevered. The paper went through several ownership changes, innumerable management purges and a bankruptcy. Yet, the Sun-Times still is plugging away, defying the doomsayers and doing great journalism with a small staff. They deserve high praise for keeping Chicago a two-newspaper town.

So, I likewise admire the Tribune journalists who stay to keep the fight going despite the immense odds against them. They will be working for a newspaper whose reputation will be relentlessly trashed. They will work in the shadows of the the departed writers and editors who get all the attention. The challenges will be huge.

So, don’t blame them if the newspaper doesn’t succeed. Honor them and support them.

*Nico, as he was called in the newsroom, exemplified the gritty determination to keep the Sun-Times a strong voice. Read Michael Miner’s Nico’s obit in the Reader to get a feel for Nico’s courage and his achievements. Chief among them was his nearly single-handed investigation that kept Chicago from making the huge mistake of constructing the new central library in an old Goldblatt’s department store building. Thank Nico for the Harold Washington Library.

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Tags: Chicago Tribune


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  • I don't agree with you on this Dennis. Those marquee columnists who left with be replaced (except John Kass) by younger, less paid WOKE journalists out of the WOKE journalism college factories. To support them is to support ideas and ethics I do not adhere to.

  • In reply to Studebaker Hawk:

    With all due respect, Studebaker Hawk, I suggest reading the replacement columnists before you judge their ideas and ethics. The departing columnists were rookies once.

  • In reply to Studebaker Hawk:

    With all due respect, Studebaker Hawk, I suggest reading the replacement columnists' work before you judge their ideas and ethics. That's my plan. If they are good writers, I will read their work even if I don't agree with their ideas.

  • Sorry to repeat myself -- the first comment took a while to appear.

  • Unfortunately, Dennis, from what I could tell, all the members of the Guild who attacked the Kass column on Soros as anti Semitic are still there. I can’t read a story with Megan Crepeau’s byline without thinking of her unjustified attack on Kass. It affects my perception of her articles. I don’t see any resemblance of objectivity between those reporters and you and Nicodemus.

  • Too late - I only kept it because of Kass - when I heard he was bugging out, I immediately cancelled along with a note to publishers why (not that they'll care since they seem determined to turn the paper into a leftist propaganda rag at every turn)

  • Dennis? For more than 20 years I have been involved with the immigration-reduction movement that has on the whole gotten no responsible coverage from those pretending to be journalists. What makes you think that a new generation of reporters and editors are somehow going to return us to the days of presenting both sides of the story to an American public that deserves nothing less? Today's mainstream media have no respect for the rule of law and national sovereignty, and this can be seen in how they portray illegal aliens as "victims" of an immigration policy that "lacks compassion." If you can show me where the principles on which this republic was founded include rewarding people who break our laws, then maybe I might buy your argument about why you're not cancelling your Tribune subscription. Know what I think? People who stick with the Tribune are willing to settle for less, i.e. embracing willful ignorance. Sorry, but that's what I'm hearing. Show me where I'm wrong.

  • Chicago no longer has any reporters who are remotely curious, especially when it comes to questioning government, big business and public unions. There are a few exceptions. The copy for all the stories on influence peddling, graft, crime, etc., is this: "Nothing to see here."

    Maybe the new and young reporters will dig into a story and end up exposing the deep layers of corruption in Chicago, but most likely they won't. The recent J-school grads don't want to get a story they want to change the world to woke.

  • Thank god that race-baiting anti-white racist Duh-leen Glanton is gone. Maybe she could take her mule back to Atlanta.

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