Sun-Times’ Digital Direction Sign of Times

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

A news report last week regarding Chicago’s longest-standing source of daily news was somewhat expected, given today’s digitally-driven world, but nonetheless saddening.


What kind of viewers/readers do you think the Sun-Times plan to target with its new direction?

The Chicago Sun-Times, the metro area’s remaining daily tabloid and number two newspaper, was “re-launched” as more of a national publication featuring news on a web platform designed to appeal to an audience well beyond the metropolitan Chicago area.

After viewing the site, yes there’s lots of news, much of it local. And yes, the print edition will still be published; but the news published by the new Sun-Times Network is delivered in the kind of “bash-you-over-the-head-with-headlines-and-graphics” style that makes it a challenge to gauge what’s news and what’s sponsored content.

Here's the cover of the "new" Sun-Times.

Here’s the cover of the “new” Sun-Times.

This development is certainly not surprising to anyone who’s followed the news business in Chicago or in just about any major market around the world.  Today’s readers demand news with drama, and they want a lot of it.

The old business model — publishing journalism that serves the community — doesn’t work as well anymore, as evidenced by news last month that the Sun-Times had planned another round of staff cuts.

Back in the day, the Sun-Times was considered the more “street smart,” blue-collar of the Chicago daily papers.  (I remember when Chicago had five daily newspapers, but that’s a topic for another day.)  It was the paper delivered to our home while I was growing up, and its marketing tag line was, “The Bright One.”

Sad to say, that light has gotten a lot dimmer over the years. So, perhaps, has real journalism. Or at least, journalism as I knew it and practiced it a long time ago.

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