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Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune - Chicago, Illinois
Address: Chicago, IL
Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
Published: 1 story by 1 author

About

The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" (for which WGN radio and television is named), it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is currently the eighth largest newspaper in the United States by circulation (and the second largest under Tribune's ownership behind Los Angeles Times). Traditionally published as a broadsheet, on January 13, 2009, the Tribune announced it would continue publishing as a broadsheet for home delivery, but would publish in tabloid format for newsstand, news box and commuter station sales.

On April 2, 2007, the Tribune Company announced a buy-out plan led by Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell worth $8.2 billion, associated with a stock buyback at $34 per share, and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The deal closed on December 20, 2007, with Zell as the company's new chairman. As part of the deal, the company sold the Chicago Cubs and its properties, including Wrigley Field and a stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, to the family of J. Joseph Ricketts. Less than a year after the deal closed, the Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 8, 2008.

The Tribune was founded by James Kelly, John E. Wheeler and Joseph K. C. Forrest, publishing its first edition on June 10, 1847. The paper saw numerous changes in ownership and editorship over the next eight years. Initially, the Tribune was not politically affiliated but tended to support either the Whig or Free Soil parties against the Democrats in elections. By late 1853, it was frequently running xenophobic editorials that criticized foreigners and Roman Catholics. About this time it also became a strong proponent of temperance. However nativist its editorials may have been, it was not until February 10, 1855 that the Tribune formally affiliated itself with the nativist American or Know Nothing party, whose candidate Levi Boone was elected Mayor of Chicago the following month.

By about 1854, part-owner Capt. J. D. Webster, later General Webster and chief of staff at the Battle of Shiloh, and Dr. Charles H. Ray of Galena, Illinois through Horace Greeley convinced Joseph Medill of Cleveland's Leader to become managing editor. Ray became editor-in-chief, Medill became the managing editor, and Alfred Cowles, Sr., brother of Edwin Cowles, initially was the bookkeeper. Each purchased one third of the Tribune. Under their leadership the Tribune distanced itself from the Know Nothings and became the main Chicago organ of the Republican Party. However, the paper continued to print anti-Catholic and anti-Irish editorials. The Tribune absorbed three other Chicago publications under the new editors: the Free West in 1855, the Democratic Press in 1858, and the Chicago Democrat in 1861, whose editor, John Wentworth, left his position to become Chicago Mayor. Between 1858 and 1860, the paper was known as the Chicago Press & Tribune. After November 1860, it became the Chicago Daily Tribune. Before and during the American Civil War, the new editors pushed an abolitionist agenda and strongly supported Abraham Lincoln, whom Medill helped secure the Presidency in 1860. The paper remained a force in Republican politics for years afterwards.

In 1861, the Tribune published new lyrics for the song "John Brown's Body" by William W. Patton, rivaling the ones published two months later by Julia Ward Howe. Medill served as mayor of Chicago for one term after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Under the 20th Century editorship of Colonel Robert R. McCormick the paper was strongly isolationist and actively biased in its coverage of political news and social trends, calling itself, "The American Paper for Americans," excoriating the Democrats and the New Deal, resolutely disdainful of the British and French and greatly enthusiastic for Chiang Kai-shek and Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

When McCormick assumed the position of co-editor (with his cousin Joseph Medill Patterson) in 1910, the Tribune was the 3rd best selling paper among Chicago's eight dailies, with a circulation of only 188,000. The young cousins added features such as advice columns and homegrown comic strips like Little Orphan Annie and Moon Mullins, then turned to "crusades", with their first success coming with the ouster of the Republican political boss of Illinois, Senator William Loring. At the same time, the Tribune competed with the Hearst paper, the Chicago Examiner, in a circulation war. By 1914, the cousins succeeded in forcing out Managing Editor William Keeley. By 1918, the Examiner was forced to merge with the Chicago Herald.

In the 1920s, Patterson left to take over the editorship of his own paper, the New York Daily News. In a renewed circulation war with Hearst's Herald-Examiner, McCormick and Hearst ran rival lotteries in 1922. The Tribune won the battle, adding 250,000 readers to its ranks. Also in 1922, the Chicago Tribune hosted an international design competition for its new headquarters, the Tribune Tower. The competition worked brilliantly as a publicity stunt, and more than 260 entries were received. The winner was a neo-Gothic design by New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood.

During the McCormick years, the Tribune was a champion of modified spelling (such as spelling "although" as "altho").McCormick, a vigorous campaigner for the Republican Party, died in 1955, just four days before Democratic boss Richard J. Daley was elected mayor for the first time.

One of the great scoops in Tribune history came when it obtained the text of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. Another was its revelation of United States war plans on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attack. The Tribune's June 7, 1942, front page announcement that America had broken Japan's naval code was actually the potential revelation of a closely guarded military secret by the paper. According to the Newseum, the story revealing that Americans broke the enemy naval codes was not cleared by censors, and had FDR so enraged that he considered shutting the Tribune.

Although under Colonel McCormick, the Tribune for years refused to participate in the Pulitzer Prize competition, it has won 25 of the awards over the years, including many for editorial writing. The Tribune won its first post-McCormick Pulitzer in 1961, when Carey Orr won the award for editorial cartooning. Reporter George Bliss won a Pulitzer the following year for reporting, and reporter Bill Jones snagged one in 1971 for reporting. A reporting team won the award in 1973, followed by reporter William Mullen and photographer Ovie Carter, who won a Pulitzer for international reporting in 1975. A local reporting team won the award in 1976, and architecture critic Paul Gapp won a Pulitzer in 1979.

In 1969, under the leadership of publisher Harold Grumhaus and editor Clayton Kirkpatrick (1915?2004), the Tribune's past conservative partisanship became history. Though the paper retained its Republican and conservative perspective in its editorials, it began to publish perspectives in wider commentary that represented a spectrum of diverse opinions, while its news reporting no longer had the conservative slant it had in the McCormick years.

In early 1974, in a major feat of journalism, the Tribune published the complete 246,000-word text of the Watergate tapes in a 44-page supplement that hit the streets a mere 24 hours after the transcripts' release by the Nixon White House. Not only was the Tribune the first newspaper to publish the transcripts, but it beat the Government Printing Office's own published version, and made headlines doing so.

A week later, after studying the transcripts, the paper's editorial board observed that "the high dedication to grand principles that Americans have a right to expect from a President is missing from the transcript record." The Tribune's editors concluded that "nobody of sound mind can read [the transcripts] and continue to think that Mr. Nixon has upheld the standards and dignity of the Presidency," and called for Nixon's resignation. The Tribune call for Nixon to resign made news, reflecting not only the change in the type of conservativism practiced by the paper, but as a watershed event in terms of Nixon's hopes for survival in office. The White House reportedly saw the Tribune's editorial as a loss of a long-time supporter and as a blow to Nixon's hopes to weather the scandal.

On December 7, 1975, Kirkpatrick announced in a column on the editorial page that Rick Soll, a "young and talented columnist" for the paper whose work had "won a following among many Tribune readers over the last two years" resigned from the paper after acknowledging that a column he wrote that appeared on November 23, 1975, contained verbatim passages that another columnist wrote in 1967 and later published in a collection. Kirkpatrick did not identify the columnist. The passages in question, Kirkpatrick wrote, had been in a notebook where Soll had copied words, phrases and bits of conversation that he had wished to remember. Although the paper initially suspended Soll for a month without pay, Kirkpatrick noted that further evidence then came out that another column contained information that Soll knew was false. At that point, Kirkpatrick wrote, Tribune editors decided to accept the resignation that Soll offered when the investigation began. Soll went on to marry Chicago newspaper (and future TV) reporter Pam Zekman and eventually work for the short-lived Chicago Times magazine in the late 1980s.

In March 1978, the Tribune announced that it hired columnist Bob Greene away from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Kirkpatrick stepped down as editor in 1979 and was succeeded by Maxwell McCrohon (1928?2004), who served as editor until 1981, when he was transitioned to a corporate position. McCrohon held the corporate position until 1983, when he left to become editor in chief of the United Press International. James Squires served as the paper's editor from July 1981 until December 1989.

Jack Fuller served as the Tribune's editor from 1989 until 1993, when he became the president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Tribune. Howard Tyner served as the Tribune's editor from 1993 until 2001, when he was promoted to vice president/editorial for Tribune Publishing.

The Tribune won 11 Pulitzer prizes during the 1980s and 1990s.[18] Editorial cartoonist Dick Locher won the award in 1983, and editorial cartoonist Jeff MacNelly won one in 1985. Then, future editor Jack Fuller won a Pulitzer for editorial writing in 1986. In 1987, reporters Jeff Lyon and Peter Gorner won a Pulitzer for explanatory reporting, and in 1988, Dean Baquet, William Gaines and Ann Marie Lipinski won a Pulitzer for investigative reporting. In 1989, Lois Wille won a Pulitzer for editorial writing and Clarence Page snagged the award for commentary. In 1994, Ron Kotulak won a Pulitzer for explanatory journalism, while R. Bruce Dold won it for editorial writing. In 1998, reporter Paul Salopek won a Pulitzer for explanatory writing, and in 1999, architecture critic Blair Kamin won it for criticism.

The Tribune scored a coup in 1984 when it hired popular columnist Mike Royko away from the rival Chicago Sun-Times.

In 1986, the Tribune announced that celebrated film critic Gene Siskel no longer was the paper's film critic, and that his position with the paper shifted from being that of a full-time film critic to that of a free-lance contract writer who was to write about the film industry for the Sunday paper and also provide capsule film reviews for the paper's entertainment sections. The demotion occurred after Siskel and longtime Chicago film critic colleague Roger Ebert decided to shift the production of their weekly movie-review show?then known as At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert and later known as Siskel & Ebert & The Movies -- from Tribune Entertainment to The Walt Disney Company's Buena Vista Television unit. "He has done a great job for us," editor James Squires said at the time. "It's a question of how much a person can do physically. We think you need to be a newspaper person first, and Gene Siskel has always tried to do that. But there comes a point when a career is so big that you can't do that." Siskel declined to comment on the new arrangement, but Ebert publicly criticized Siskel's Tribune bosses for punishing Siskel for taking their television program to a company other than Tribune Entertainment. Siskel remained in that free-lance position until his death in 1999. He was replaced as film critic in 1986 by Dave Kehr.

In November 1992, Tribune associate subject editor Searle "Ed" Hawley was arrested by Chicago police and charged with seven counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for allegedly having sex with three juveniles in his home in Evanston, Illinois. Hawley formally resigned from the paper in early 1993, and pleaded guilty in April 1993. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

In an unusual move at that time, the Tribune in October 1993 fired its longtime military-affairs writer, retired-Marine David Evans, with the public position that the post of military affairs was being dropped in favor of having a national security writer.

In December 1993, the Tribune's longtime Washington, D.C. bureau chief, Nicholas Horrock, was removed from his post after he chose not to attend a meeting that editor Howard Tyner requested of him in Chicago. Horrock, who shortly thereafter left the paper, was replaced by James Warren, who attracted new attention to the Tribune's D.C. bureau through his continued attacks on celebrity broadcast journalists in Washington.

Also in December 1993, the Tribune hired Margaret Holt from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as its assistant managing editor for sports, making her the first female to head a sports department at any of the nation's 10 largest newspapers. In mid-1995, Holt was replaced as sports editor by Tim Franklin and shifted to a newly-created job, customer service editor.

In 1994, reporter Brenda You was fired by the Tribune after free-lancing for supermarket tabloid newspapers and lending them photographs from the Tribune's photo library. You later worked for the National Enquirer and as a producer for The Jerry Springer Show before committing suicide in November 2005.

In April 1994, the Tribune's new television critic, Ken Parish Perkins, wrote an article about then-WFLD-TV morning news anchor Bob Sirott in which Perkins quoted Sirott as making a statement that Sirott later denied making. Sirott criticized Perkins on the air, and the Tribune later printed a correction acknowledging that Sirott had never made that statement. Eight months later, Perkins stepped down as TV critic, and he left the paper shortly thereafter.

In December 1995, the alternative newsweekly Newcity published a first-person article by the pseudonymous Clara Hamon (a name mentioned in the play The Front Page) but quickly identified by Tribune reporters as that of former Tribune reporter Mary Hill that heavily criticized the paper's one-year residency program. The program brought young journalists in and out of the paper for one-year stints, seldom resulting in a full-time job. Hill, who wrote for the paper from 1992 until 1993, acknowledged to the Chicago Reader that she had written the diatribe originally for the Internet, and that the piece eventually was edited for Newcity.[34]

In 1997, the Tribune celebrated its 150th anniversary in part by tapping longtime reporter Stevenson Swanson to edit the book Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City.

On April 29, 1997, popular columnist Mike Royko died of a brain aneurysm. On September 2, 1997, the Tribune promoted longtime City Hall reporter John Kass to take Royko's place as the paper's principal Page Two news columnist.

On June 1, 1997, the Tribune published what ended up becoming a very popular column by Mary Schmich called "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young", otherwise known as "Wear Sunscreen" or the "Sunscreen Speech." The most popular and well-known form of the essay is the successful music single released in 1999, accredited to Baz Luhrmann.

In 1998, reporter Jerry Thomas was fired by the Tribune after he wrote a cover article on boxing promoter Don King for Emerge magazine at the same time that he was writing a cover article on King for the Chicago Tribune Sunday magazine. The paper decided to fire Thomas?and suspend his photographer on the Emerge story, Pulitzer Prize-winning Tribune photographer Ovie Carter for a month?because Thomas did not tell the Tribune about his outside work and also because the Emerge story wound up appearing in print first.

The Tribune has been a leader on the Internet, acquiring 10 percent of America Online in the early 1990s, then launching such web sites as Chicagotribune.com (1995), Metromix.com (1996), ChicagoSports.com (1999), ChicagoBreakingNews.com (2008), and ChicagoNow.com (2009). In 2002, the paper launched a tabloid edition targeted at 18- to 34-year-olds known as RedEye.

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Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 @ 11:20PM