By: Mark Fitzgerald
The Chicago Tribune on Sunday devoted its “Voice of the People” editorial page space to letters from readers who uniformly lamented the resignation of Editor Ann Marie Lipinski — and the paper’s plans to shrink its pages, staff, and content.
“Ann Marie Lipinski’s contributions to making the Tribune an intelligent, deep, fascinating newspaper presenting a wide, wide picture of the city, state, nation and world and a panorama of opinions cannot be overstated,” wrote Wayne Brasler of Westchester, Ill. “The paper has achieved such consistent excellence, readers probably don’t realize anymore the extraordinary product they have been getting for 75 cents.”
With Lipinski’s departure, wrote Beth Hirschfield of Chicago, “the Chicago Tribune appears to be veering toward a more sensational People magazine/USA Today style — shorter stories, more chopped up and bigger graphics.”
She added, “I am not ready to give up my daily paper, but the changes at the Tribune may point me in that direction.”
Chicagoan John Edgar Mihelic warned that changing “such a strong, traditional-filled paper such as the Tribune” is the wrong plan.
“I think that you stand to alienate many long-time readers of newspapers in search of a more favorable demographic,” he wrote, adding that those potential readers are probably already reading the rival tabloid Chicago Sun-Times or getting their news from Stephen Colbert on cable television.
John M. McCarthy of Berwyn, Ill., suggested Lipinski’s resignation — which she insisted was not forced by the new corporate regime led by real estate mogul Sam Zell — portended dark days not simply at the Trib, but for the world.
“Nothing in the history of human civilization has enhanced our evolution more than the printed word,” McCarthy wrote. “Nothing will announce our failure more than the cessation of daily print.
The physical act of setting fire to libraries won’t even be needed; the willful ignorance of the populace will make libraries irrelevant.
“We’re entering a dark time,” he concluded.