The king is dead, long live the king p.19

By: Mark Fitzgerald Tribune crowns new wire to replace City News

Four months after the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times announced they were folding the 108-year-old City News Bureau of Chicago, the Tribune is creating its own version of the storied wire service.
The service will be owned by the Chicago Tribune and will operate on a nonprofit, break-even basis, says Joe Leonard, the Tribune associate editor who is president of the City News Bureau. The Tribune's new service will begin operations March 1, the day City News Bureau goes out of business.
"This will be run as just another division within our newsroom," Leonard says.
Like City News, the new service will provide 24-hour police coverage, reports from the courts and local government offices, and will provide the "day book" of upcoming events. In addition to the Tribune's print and electronic operations, the new service has signed on five television and three radio broadcasters.
The Tribune service does not yet have a name, but the 900-Pound Gorilla Bureau might be appropriate: When the paper decided to go ahead with its own operation, it immediately knocked out two competing business who were trying to market a replacement to the city's broadcasters and newspapers.
"Once the Tribune decided to do their own operation, it obviously made it much more difficult to make the business proposal work," says Doug Faigin, president of City News Service Inc., which runs a similar wire service in Los Angeles and San Diego. "We certainly never intended to go into a competitive situation with the Tribune," Faigin adds. At the time of the Tribune announcement, he says, City News Service had both signed and oral agreements with broadcasters, he says.
Philip J. Whitfield, who runs the Chicago-based Media Visions consulting business, had proposed a similar plan to broadcasters. "We were disappointed," he says. "We had a good plan, and we had some good people. We thought we were in a strong position, but we're not in a strong position, of course, without any customers."
Indeed, the Tribune itself will be the single biggest customer for its new service. In addition to the newspaper, it operates the broadcast and cable superstation WGN-Channel 9; the 24-hour local news cable channel CLTV; and WGN-AM, the 50,000-watt radio station.
The new service also signed up both of Chicago's all-news radio stations, WBBM-AM and WMAQ-AM, plus all four of the major network owned-and-operated TV stations.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http://www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher February 20, 1999) [Caption]


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here