Sign Of The Times: Tribune Erases Last Vestiges Of Legendary News Service, Funnels Some Resources On

Is it just my imagination or are the Tribune Company and Knight Ridder trying to out do each other in the 4th-quarter cutback dash? Among the announcements today at the Chicago Tribune (where my byline appeared often for many years): closing the successor of the legendary City News Service, once owned jointly by Chicago’s five major papers, and eliminating those 19 jobs. The news isn’t all bad — the paper is expanding its 24-hour internet news operation by 13 positions; the laid-off staffers can apply for those jobs.
According to the Tribune, ME James O’Shea said use of City News reports on competitor sites hurt the paper: “In a competitive world, where we need to be much more competitive on the Web, we felt we had to retool our operations and serve Chicago Tribune readers.”
The change eventually should strengthen the Trib’s online coverage; that doesn’t make it any easier to watch now.

Update: The net number of positions being cut is 28. Read Editor Ann Marie Lipinski’s memo at Romenesko for a look at the thinking going into the changes. The paper is creating a 24-hour breaking news desk “to give our breaking news operation the muscle and velocity it needs to dominate the Chicago news market.” At the same time, numerous other areas are being scaled back.

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