The Chicago Tribune has announced that starting in January, the Chicago-based paper and several other Tribune-owned papers will be dropping the Associated Press as its chief wire service.
Along with the Chicago paper, six other Tribune-owned papers will also be dropping the AP. Those papers are the Baltimore Sun; the Orlando Sentinel; the South Florida Sun-Sentinel; the Hartford Courant; the Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania; and the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia.
Reports from Tribune insiders were confirmed Sunday by Paul Colford, director of media relations for AP. “We’re disappointed by this development but recognize this is a time of transition for these seven Tribune newspapers,” Colford said. “We hope they’ll return to AP as their circumstances change. AP continues to diversify its business to enhance the value of our newsgathering for our 1,400 member newspapers and other news organizations worldwide. The Los Angeles Times has indicated that it plans to stay with AP. The Times has been a great partner in innovation and developing new AP services for many years.”
This news is unsurprising as the Tribune had already started to scale back use of the AP. As far back as 2008 the Trib began using Reuters’ American wire content.
Long-time Chicago media watcher Robert Feder says that switching to Reuters could save the Tribune as much as $5 million a year.
The Tribune is about to emerge from its four-year bankruptcy, so this cost savings could be a big shot in its bank account.
Chicago’s other major paper, the Sun-Times, is also having contraction pains. The more left-leaning paper has shuttered six of its suburban newsrooms in a cost savings effort. The Sun-Times is also attempting to reset its focus more on its digital products.