Chicago Sun-Times

15 take buyout offer at Sun-Times

The Sun-Times building. (AP)

The Sun-Times building. (AP)


Fifteen editorial staffers from The Chicago Sun-Times took buyouts Friday, Sun-Times Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk has confirmed.

The news was first reported by Robert Feder.

According to Feder, the staffers will receive 20 weeks of severance pay and “be gone from the Sun-Times newsroom by Monday.” Among the employees taking buyouts are the four Sun-Times photographers who were rehired in March after being laid off in 2013 with the rest of the Sun-Times photography department.

In February, Feder wrote the Sun-Times planned to cut between 12 and 15 jobs, more than one-fifth of the paper’s guild-affiliated newsroom staff. At the beginning of February, the paper laid off two video producers.

Wrapports LLC, the parent company of the Sun-Times, has undergone big changes in recent months. Read more

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Sun-Times plans to cut at least 12 jobs

Robert Feder

The Chicago Sun-Times hopes to eliminate 22 percent of its newsroom staff through buyouts and layoffs beginning Wednesday, Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes.

The cuts are expected to target between 12 and 15 of the newspaper’s 68 positions affiliated with the Chicago Newspaper Guild, Feder writes. The guild voted to accept a buyout offer made by Sun-Times parent company Wrapports LLC Tuesday.

The staff reductions are the latest in recent years. In 2013, the paper laid off its 28-person photo staff. In March, the paper announced it would rehire four of those photographers. Earlier this month, the paper cut two video producers after claims made in 2013 that it planned to double down on video production.

Wrapports LLC has undergone big changes in the past several months. Read more

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Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 3.22.13 PM

Facing a flood of incivility, news sites make reader comments harder to find

When the Los Angeles Times redesigned its website earlier this year, it became harder to find the opinions of people like iamstun1, jumped2, and Shootist.

Those are the screen names of some Times readers who are among the most prolific authors of online comments. Their writings, like the rest of the reader comments, no longer appear at the bottom of stories on latimes.com.

Instead, comments for each article remain hidden unless users click on an icon along the right side of the screen.

Screenshot from latimes.com

Screenshot from latimes.com

That opens a separate page where readers can peruse the thoughts of iamstun1 on the federal budget bill (“Republicans really are scums”), jumped2 on the Senate torture investigation (“EVERYONE involved in releasing the CIA report and harming our Military should be tried for TREASON and HUNG”), and Shootist on a flash flood that damaged homes and forced evacuations throughout Southern California (“couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of pantywaists”). Read more

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Sun-Times confirms sale of suburban papers to Tribune

Chicago Sun-Times | Tribune Publishing

Chicago Sun-Times parent Wrapports LLC will sell 38 suburban newspapers — six dailies and 32 weeklies — to Tribune Publishing, confirming a report by Robert Feder earlier this month.

Wrapports boss Michael Ferro says the move out of the burbs will allow the company to “focus on our international digital strategy.” Wrapports announced earlier this week that it was launching a national network of sites that will ““offer content in a manner similar to websites such as Deadspin and Buzzfeed.”

Employees at the suburban papers will become Tribune Publishing employees at some point and will leave the Sun-Times’ newsroom. The Sun-Times said in 2012 it would close its suburban offices and move most employees into Chicago digs. Terms of the deal aren’t public yet, according to a Wrapports press release. Read more

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What is going on at First Look Media?

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are nine media stories.

  1. What’s going on at First Look Media?

    Matt Taibbi has left the company, Pierre Omidyar announced Wednesday. "Our differences were never about editorial independence," Omidyar writes. (First Look Media) | Andrew Rice reported earlier in the day that Taibbi "has been absent from the office for several weeks." "I don’t comment about internal matters," First Look executive John Temple told Rice. (New York) | "First Look exec on its radical culture of transparency: "I don’t comment...we’re a private company, so why would we?" (@tomgara) | "what has happened is bad and dumb and needless and not matt taibbi’s fault" (@johnjcook) | Omidyar gadfly Paul Carr published his half of an off-the-record conversation with Taibbi.

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Sun-Times owner says it’s imitating BuzzFeed, Deadspin with national network of news sites

Chicago Sun-Times | Robert Feder

Are you ready for dc.suntimes.com? tampa.suntimes.com? newyork.suntimes.com? The Chicago paper’s owner, Wrapports LLC, announced a “mobile-first app network” Tuesday with local editions rolling out in 70 U.S. cities and, eventually, international editions.

How dc.suntimes.com looks on my phone.

How dc.suntimes.com looks on my phone.

The sites will offer aggregated content from local news sources as well as from some Sun-Times writers (the Chicago edition includes links to content from the rival Chicago Tribune). It’s part of an effort to “offer content in a manner similar to websites such as Deadspin and Buzzfeed,” Wrapports’ release says.

The sites are in beta and will officially launch on Friday. The Sun-Times Network takes the place of Aggrego, the local-content initiative Wrapports launched last year, Sun-Times spokesperson Dennis Culloton tells Poynter. Read more

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N.Y. tabs met in secret lovenest

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories, then let’s get to the weekend.

  1. A New York Post/New York Daily News collaboration? Joe Pompeo reports the rival papers had unsuccessful discussions about “a number of potential business deals that would have made unlikely bedfellows of enemy combatants.” “Many deal points were on the table,” a source tells him. Another source tells Pompeo talks about a digital-only Daily News are “not about if, they’re about when.” (Capital)
  2. Earnings: Broadcast ad revenues way up, print ad revenues down nearly 8 percent at Meredith. (MediaPost) | McClatchy had “a rocky third quarter,” plus what it called “important events that have sealed our financial flexibility” — some substantial assets sales. “An unfriendly commentator might describe those ‘events’ as a yard sale,” Rick Edmonds writes.
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Could Sun-Times reporter’s resignation affect governor’s race?

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Will Sun-Times reporter’s resignation shake Illinois governor’s race? Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief Dave McKinney quit publicly yesterday, saying the paper suspended him after Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner — a former investor in the Sun-Times’ parent company — tried to get a story squashed because he’s married to a Democratic consultant. (Dave McKinney’s blog) | Sun-Times EIC Jim Kirk responds: “I call the shots. While I’ve been here, our ownership and management have never quashed a story and they have always respected the journalistic integrity of this paper.” (Poynter) | To make this story even more gothic, the Sun-Times endorsed Rauner last Friday, breaking a policy it set in early 2012. | “But, at a minimum, the ongoing story certainly will give the [campaign of Rauner's Democratic opponent, Gov.
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Reporter quits Sun-Times, cites ‘chilling effect in the newsroom’

Dave McKinney’s blog | Crain’s Chicago Business

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney has resigned from the newspaper, saying, “I’m convinced this newspaper no longer has the backs of reporters like me” in a letter to Michael Ferro, chairman of Sun-Times owner Wrapports LLC.

McKinney was the paper’s Springfield bureau chief and was suspended for five days last week after a Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bruce Rauner, complained about a story on which he co-bylined, because he’s married to a Democratic consultant.

In his post, McKinney calls that suspension “a kind of house arrest that lasted almost a week” and says “It was pure hell.” The Sun-Times later broke with its recent tradition of not endorsing candidates and endorsed Rauner, who is a former investor in Wrapports. Read more

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Tribune Publishing will reportedly buy Sun-Times’ suburban papers

Robert Feder

Tribune Publishing will buy 38 suburban papers owned by Chicago Sun-Times parent Wrapports LLC, Robert Feder reports.

“We do not comment on speculation,” Matthew Hutchison, a spokesperson for Tribune Publishing, told Poynter.

Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin said in July that purchasing “smaller newspapers in or near his existing markets” would be part of the recently spun-off company’s strategy. Since the year began, Tribune’s Baltimore Sun Media Group bought the Baltimore City Paper as well as two other Maryland papers, The Capital in Annapolis and the Carroll County Times.

Last year Wrapports launched a hyperlocal service called Aggrego, which it said at the time could provide content that would back in to the Sun-Times Media Group’s papers. The Sun-Times has not replied for a request for comment about the sale report and what that might mean for Aggrego. Read more

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