Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The New York Times’ new Slack 2016 election bot sends readers’ questions straight to the newsroom
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
July 10, 2013, 11:13 a.m.
LINK: www.chicagotribune.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   July 10, 2013

tribune-tower-ccWe’ve all been waiting for the papers — with the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune the two flagships — to be sold off, quite possibly to the Koch brothers. (And they still might be.) So this morning’s news that they would instead be spun off into a separate company — to be called Tribune Publishing Co. — was at least a bit of a curve ball.

But that said, the move very much fits into the broader trend of diversified media companies shedding their print and print-originating holdings. In 2008, my old employer, Belo, split into newspaper and broadcast halves, with the TV side taking on the company’s debt. (The TV side is now being sold to Gannett, which is leaning more heavily toward broadcast these days.) Media General shuffled its newspapers off to Warren Buffett to focus on TV. Time Inc.’s magazines are being sent on their way. News Corp. got to keep the name in its just-executed split, but it lost the non-newspaper moneymakers.

Needless to say, separating print brands from their cross-subsidy-providing brethren makes it even more urgent that their business models get righted quickly. (It’s unclear what sort of a balance sheet the new Tribune publishing company would have at birth — what debts and financial assets it would start life with.)

One noteworthy item in the Tribune split: The company’s equity interests in CareerBuilder and Classified Ventures will remain with the broadcast side and not travel with the newspapers. CareerBuilder and CV (which owns Cars.com) represent much of what the newspaper industry has left to show for its once-mighty classified ad business. Both were started as joint ventures of newspaper companies and represented their strongest response to the Craigslists, Monster.coms, and eBays of the world.

David Carr reports that CareerBuilder and CV’s publishing agreements with Tribune newspapers will remain in place after the spinoff, and I’m sure there are good business reasons for the decision. But still — that Tribune’s ownership share of those assets won’t move with the newspapers seems almost a little cruel, doesn’t it?

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The New York Times’ new Slack 2016 election bot sends readers’ questions straight to the newsroom
“Instead of asking you to come to us and be part of this massive room of people shouting over each other, you can bring us to you, and have us be, essentially, one more person in your conversation.”
The Conversation expands across the U.S., freshly funded by universities and foundations
The news site that uses academics as reporters and journalists as editors now boasts 19 paying member universities and is opening up posts in Atlanta (and maybe in the Bay Area).
A Boston public radio station is redesigning its site to make audio “a first-class citizen online”
But: “I’ve tried to be really disciplined about not calling this process just a redesign,” WBUR’s executive editor for digital Tiffany Campbell said. “We’ve built a brand new platform.”
What to read next
0
tweets
Built on passion: How Vox Media grew from its roots as an Oakland A’s blog into one of the Internet’s biggest publishers
In a Q&A, Vox Media co-founder Tyler Bleszinski reflects on his time at the company.
0A new storytelling platform hopes to move crisis reporting beyond isolated events in the news cycle
The idea of Coda Story “is to watch things unfurl at the pace of evolving trends rather than daily developments.”
0Working with young reporters, City Bureau is telling the story of police misconduct in Chicago
“Those areas, more than any part of the city, have been disenfranchised over the past 100-plus years. Even though there’s coverage there, it’s often quick, one-hit coverage — parachute journalism.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Byliner
Daily Mail
Spot.Us
Quartz
Topix
Minneapolis Star Tribune
CNN
Los Angeles Times
Craigslist
Animal Político
DNAinfo
Quora