Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

The Chicago Tribulation

Posted in General on June 11th, 2008 by Eugene Finerman – 1 Comment

If you enjoy reading coroner’s reports or watching road kill decay, that I would highly recommend The Chicago Tribune‘s new comic strip, “The Adventures of Sam Zell.” (Any resemblance between this strip and a real person would be appalling.) In a brilliant innovation, the strip is the entire newspaper. It is the story of a ruthless wheel-dealer who acquires the bankrupt Tribune on terms indistinguishable from a license to steal. The strip’s hero basically uses the employees’ pension fund to buy the newspaper. The business euphemism for this is “leverage”; you could say that the Vandals certainly leveraged Rome. Of course, he promises to reimburse the pension fund by cutting the newspapers’ costs–such as the employees’ jobs.

He also intends to raise revenue. The newspaper is to reduce all that ink-wasting, eye-straining journalism and replace it with advertising: his stated goal is a newspaper that is half ads.

Furthermore, the reporters are told to think of ways to bring in money. Zell’s employees cannot afford ethics, so perhaps they should “leverage” a slant to their stories. The newspaper also apparently wants to increase its circulation by lowering its standards. The statuatory rape case of singer R. Kelly is receiving pornographically detailed coverage. A recent Tribune story described his alleged fetish; let’s just say that Kelly’s next single could be “My Groin is a Fountain.” The old Tribune would not have printed the word “bladder”, let alone illustrates its deviant uses.

So, each day now, I open the Tribune to see Zell’s latest havoc. Will he save ink by eliminating double consonants. Ilinois, basebal, batle, gramar–I still can decipher the words. Go ahead, Zell: spelling is such an affectation. I also am waiting to see product placement in the comic pages. You know that the Tribune’s Op-Ed page will endorse John McCain; for a little extra money, so will Dick Tracy. And wouldn’t you like to know Dagwood and Blondie’s favorite beer? But I am especially anticipating more “popular features” such as nude illustrations of all the First Ladies. If you have ever been “curious” about Lucy Rutherford and Mamie Eisenhower, Sam Zell thinks that you have the right to know!

So read the Chicago Tribune and see it go to Zell in a handbasket.