Chicago Public Media to acquire Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Public Media is to acquire tabloid newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times and bring it under non-profit ownership, in what some in the sector said could prove a model for the industry as it looks to preserve local journalism.

Chicago Public Media to acquire Chicago Sun-Times
Nykia Wright: “We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for this unique model of non-profit news.” Photograph: Chicago, by Max Bender on Unsplash.

Under the deal, the paper will function as an independent operation under Chicago Public Media, which also runs WBEZ, the US city's local branch of National Public Radio.

They expect to reach more than 2 million people a week in the Chicago area across broadcast, print, and digital channels.

“This is an important step to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago,” said Matt Moog, CEO of Chicago Public Media. “A vibrant local news ecosystem is fundamental to a healthy democracy, informed citizens, and engaged communities. Together WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times aim to tell the stories that matter, serve more Chicagoans with our unbiased, fact-based journalism, and connect Chicagoans more deeply to each other and to their communities.”

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our collective news community and for the future of the hardest working paper in America, which counts some of the best storytellers in Chicago among its ranks,” said Nykia Wright, CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times. “We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for this unique model of non-profit news and raising the bar for supporting, preserving, and strengthening local journalism.”

As a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, Wright will remain CEO of the Chicago Sun-TImes, reporting to Moog and joining the Chicago Public Media executive leadership team.

Both WBEZ and Chicago Sun-Times will continue to serve their respective audiences, and the newsrooms will operate separately with their own editors and maintain their editorial independence.

“I am extremely proud of the work that the Chicago Sun-Times’s team has done to make the paper an attractive partner to Chicago Public Media,” said Jorge Ramirez, Chair of the Chicago Sun-Times’s Board under its current ownership. “We should all be grateful to the paper’s current investors for finding the best path forward from the perspective of all of the constituents of the Sun-Times. This innovative partnership honours the valuable and important role the paper has played and ensures a bright future for the paper and the Sun-Times’ team.”

Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.