Print Media Deathwatch: Tribune Files For Bankruptcy

Dec 8th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Story, General

Chicago-based Tribune Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. The publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times cited a $13 billion debt load and a “perfect storm” of declining advertising revenue in a worsening economy, which led to today’s filing.

The company hopes to keep its newspapers and television and radio stations in operation while restructuring goes on.

Tribune was bought in late 2007 by commercial real estate mogul Sam Zell for $8.2 billion, in a transaction that took the company private, but added to the company’s existing $5 billion debt. The company sold Newsday to Cablevision for $650 million, and is looking for buyers for some of its other assets, like the LA Times.

Tribune Co. also owns Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs baseball team, which are not included in the bankruptcy filing, but are up for sale.

The news of Tribune Co’s bankruptcy filing comes on the heels of news earlier today that the venerable New York Times would use its headquarters building as collateral for a $250 million loan. Traditional newspapers and magazines are suffering in the wake of changes in the way readers get their news. The Christian Science Monitor recently announced the end of its daily paper edition. PC Magazine likewise announced it is suspending its print edition in the wake of Ziff Davis’ bankruptcy filing.

On a brighter note, Anthony Richardson at WebFugitive forecasts that Tribune Co journalists who lose their jobs will have little difficulty making the transition to blogging, bringing their old audience along with them to the Internet. He paints that rosy-for-journalists picture as an ominous one, however, for bloggers like us, who are unused to the “professional” competition.

What do you see as the future of journalism, both in the print world, and online? And if advertising-supported traditional media can’t support itself, how do news purveyors make money?

Image: Thomas Claveirole

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No Responses to “Print Media Deathwatch: Tribune Files For Bankruptcy”

  1. Thanks for the mention here. Great post.

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