CHICAGO — Even as budgets shrink in newsrooms across the country, it seems the media landscape has become more crowded and vocal than ever.
Aggregators aggregate the other aggregators while reporters pile on top of one another at press conferences, hoping their tweet will somehow be the one that breaks through.
But in Chicago, aside from a handful of newcomers (yes, us too- sign up for our newsletters), things have been the same for quite awhile. As the big media players stick to the coasts, the options for news here remain fairly limited.
While we try to keep it weird at DNAinfo when we can, the Chicago Reader has been doing just that since 1971 — publishing longreads before they were even called longreads!
And now it's in trouble.
In 2012, the team of investors that own the Sun-Times picked up the Reader for $3 million and vowed to not totally screw it up. But according to a petition circulating on social media Thursday, things aren't going very well:
We, the Reader’s staff, ask that you join us in supporting the publication and its advertisers. We are reaching out because . . .
* The owners at Wrapports LLC have ordered repeated cutbacks that diminish editorial coverage and quality.
* The size of the print edition has been slashed nearly 40 percent and popular columns have disappeared.
* Other staff reductions have curtailed service to advertisers and impaired distribution of the print edition.
* Employees haven’t received a cost-of-living wage increase in nearly a decade.
We recognize the fiscal challenges of the media business, but relentless cuts mean withdrawing from the fight, not meeting it head-on. Ownership must invest in marketing, advertising, and digital operations and enrich editorial content, or the Reader will die.
The petition asks fans of the Reader to send a letter to Sun-Times Holdings Chairman and Wrapports investor Bruce Sagan, asking him to give the publication more resources. The Chicago Newspaper Guild, which is promoting the petition, also asked fans to tweet about why they love the Reader using the hashtag #savethechicagoreader.
Mr. Sagan, please #savethechicagoreader because I've put 19 years and millions of words into it.— J.R. Jones (@JR_Jones) April 21, 2016
They also started a Facebook page for supporters.
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