Bloomberg News

Chicago Tribune's New Publisher Isn't Planning on More Job Cuts

September 22, 2008

The Chicago Tribune's new publisher anticipates no further job cuts after the newspaper eliminated 14 percent of its editorial workforce.

``I can't say we won't do it at some point in the future, but I would say that we don't have any plans'' to fire more workers, Tony Hunter said in an interview today after being named chief executive officer and publisher of the newspaper. ``Currently it's pretty hard to give visibility on the economy and revenue trends,'' the 47-year-old executive said.

Hunter, a 14-year Chicago Tribune veteran, said he's focused on expanding revenue, including online sources, attracting new readers and working more closely with local radio and television stations. A redesign of the newspaper makes its debut on Sept. 29, featuring more graphics and color, shorter articles, and more consumer and entertainment news, Hunter said.

The redesign, in the works for three months, is meant to give readers ``enough news without them having to invest a significant amount of time,'' and is also intended to increase advertising, said Hunter, previously senior vice president of circulation and operations.

Parent Tribune Co., based in Chicago, is making similar changes at the Los Angeles Times. Editor Russ Stanton aims to increase revenue by bolstering the Web site, working closer with the company's local TV station and seeking radio partnerships, he said in a Sept. 13 interview.

Asset Sales, Debt

Tribune is saving money by eliminating jobs and cutting as many as 500 pages a week from its nine daily newspapers. The company, taken private by real estate billionaire Sam Zell in December, is also selling assets to reduce its $12.5 billion in debt (TRB:US) amid continued declines in industry ad sales.

The Chicago Tribune said in July that it would eliminate about 80 newsroom jobs and cut the number of pages it publishes by as much as 14 percent.

Scott Smith, a 30-year employee, retired as publisher in June, and a month later Editor-in-Chief Ann Marie Lipinski resigned. Hunter replaces interim publisher Robert Gremillion.

``We need more revenue sources,'' Hunter said. ``Where they are, who they are, that's our job over the next few years to figure it out.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at

The Good Business Issue
blog comments powered by Disqus