Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When Going Paperless Isn’t a Good Thing: The Sun-Times Declares Bankruptcy

Well, we’re getting closer to pouring one out for our friends at the Chicago Sun-Times. The Second City’s second paper is the second Chicago newspaper to file since the media implosion of 2008-2009.

One might think that a person like me – a guy who has invested his education, free time, and potential livelihood in emerging technologies - would be happy to see these guys go down like the credit card companies at the end of Fight Club; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth for a number of reasons:

1) Emerging technologies need people who worked with the older media. Whether it’s the ethical standards of journalism or waxing poetic on effective layout and design, there is absolutely no reason these people cannot lead the transition. Moreover, the Sun-Times is a medium and there are plenty of people in that building that know how to effectively communicate with the world. It would be extremely foolish to think that every newspaper man and Sun-Times employee is a Luddite. They offer an understanding that a young medium needs.

2) Now the market is going to be oversaturated with talent of all sorts. For my IMC buddies out there still looking for a place to work, this is the last thing they need.

3) The Trib Sucks. The Sun-Times has done an okay job of keeping the Tribune in check over the years. If the Tribune survives bankruptcy and the Sun-Times does not, I am not confident that Chicago will be receiving high quality information.

4) Then there’s the doomsday scenario. Can Chicago really go without a newspaper? This is the third largest city in the country. Houston, the fourth largest, barely gets by with the Houston Chronicle. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good paper but they cannot cover everything that happens in the area no matter how hard they try.)

My mood might just be effected by these hard economic times, but events like this don’t seem to offer any potential upside.

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