As ‘NYT’ Chicago Pages Debut, Local Papers Deliver ‘Exclusives’

By: Mark Fitzgerald

The first pages of content from the non-profit Chicago News Cooperative appeared in the Chicago edition of The New York Times Friday, featuring an investigative piece on the city’s controversial lease of its parking meters — and seeming to spur the hometown Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times to show off some exclusives of their own.

On the front page of the broadsheet edition delivered to subscribers, the Tribune featured an article labeled “Tribune Exclusive” in its ongoing investigative series about sex offenders in Illinois nursing homes. Nearby and above the fold was a piece with the paper’s now-ubiquitous “Tribune Watchdog” brand, updating an investigation into how some Illinois public schools are excluding some juniors from standardized tests to make the school scores appear higher.

The “Sun-Times Exclusive” was teased on the front and dominated the back page that opens the sports section. It’s an interview with Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo on another issue of civic importance in the city: the awful performance of the football team despite the ballyhooed arrival of a supposed “franchise quarterback,” Jay Cutler.

The two Times Chicago pages, tucked behind the New York-area news deep inside the paper, are dominated by the long article by former Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Dan Mihalopoulos. Citing information supplied by a source who “wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the private meter company or the city,” Mihalopoulos reveals the perhaps unsurprising news that Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the private company that took over Chicago’s meters in a 75-year lease deal earlier this year, is raking in a lot of revenue.

Rounding out the pages are a column by James Warren, a former Tribune managing editor and now publisher of The Chicago Reader. Warren talks to homeless people at a shelter run in the wealthy neighborhood whose residence include White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Former Tribune arts writer Jessica Reaves looks at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, which opened six months ago.

Former Tribune Sports Editor Dan McGrath contributes a brief about the Chicago Bull’s annual “circus trip,” the long series of road games forced by the extended stay of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus a the home United Center.

The Times apparently couldn’t sell ads against the debut two pages. One page has a eighth of a page ad for the newspaper’s Wine Club, while the other has a half page ad noting the coverage of Chicago on Fridays and Sundays and offering a weekend subscription.
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This story has been corrected. An earlier version gave an incorrect former newspaper position of Dan McGrath.


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