Chicago Suburban Newspapers Shrink

By Bruce Kennedy

print mediaSome big changes are  in the works for suburban Chicago media. The parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times is expected to begin selling off its suburban publishing assets, the very newspapers that have become longtime friends to the Motion PR team and our clients. The Joliet Herald-News will be the first of the seven Sun-Times suburban daily newspapers to be sold, but a deal to sell the paper to a local owner is planned to be announced before the end of the year.

To date, Sun-Times Media CEO Timothy Knight has declined to comment on the situation.

The Herald-News has been a fixture of Chicago’s suburbs for 100 years and was acquired by the Sun-Times’ parent company in a move to compete with the Chicago Tribune by catering to suburban readers.

What does this mean for PR professionals? 

It is likely to mean some changes to the paper’s staff, but how major those changes will be is still hard to say. If the Joliet Herald-News is sold to a local owner, it could mean major staff cuts. Anytime a paper’s staff is cut, it means there are less people for PR professionals to pitch and that your go-to reporter for a certain topic may be making a career move. Layoffs also mean PR pros have to be more creative and eye-catching in their pitches than ever with less newspaper staff to pitch.

In a perfect word, all of the Joliet Herald-News employees would keep their jobs. On Robert Feder’s blog, which reported the expected sale last week, several comments expressed optimism that the paper could still thrive under new ownership.

Even if the staff remains mostly the same, some editorial and reporters are likely to be moved into new roles. Further, new management could mean a new focus or direction for the paper. These developments are important to keep an eye on, especially when it comes time to build a media list or craft a pitch.

As always, keep checking back on our blog for must-know updates, news and events.

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