The Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy early this week. I wasn’t surprised because I saw an early warning sign that they were in trouble.
If you’re in Chicago, you may have noticed that the Tribune underwent a major format change a few weeks ago. Essentially, they turned it into the Redeye. This is another way of saying that there was a newspaper war in Chicago and the Sun-Times won.
Anyway, when they made the format change, I noticed that they started leaving out the last two clues in the Down column of the Sunday crossword puzzle. You know those short little words in the bottom right corner – usually something like 121 and 122 Down? Words, but no clues. I figure when you’re down to cutting clues from the crossword puzzle, that’s a pretty bad sign.
About that format change, friend and business school classmate Jason Weller once described San Francisco to me as, “A first-rate city with third-rate newspapers.” I’m afraid the same is true of Chicago now. As soon as we saw the new format, we called to cancel our subscription. The customer service rep said they were getting tons of cancellations. However, even though we cancelled weeks ago, we continue to get our paper every day. I’m guessing that costs more than they saved on the crossword clues.