Jan 20, 2022 - Business

Latest on WBEZ, Sun-Times deal

Dog with newspaper and t-shirt.
Monica's dog is cautiously optimistic about the acquisition of the Sun-Times by the WBEZ parent. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

The board of WBEZ's parent company (CPM) voted to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday night.

Why it matters: The move comes after rumblings last fall and could create one of the largest nonprofit news organizations in the nation.

  • It also mirrors a trend happening in other large metro newspapers across the country.

The latest: We wrote about the broad outlines of the deal yesterday but have since learned more. CPM spokesperson Betsy Berger tells us:

  • The Sun-Times will continue producing a daily print edition for the near and mid-term.
  • The ailing Sun-Times will have new funding avenues by becoming a "nonprofit news organization that is supported by individuals and organizations who value local news in Chicago."
  • The deal does not require government regulatory approval.
  • WBEZ will have no paywall: "Our journalism will continue to rely on audience support through donations and contributions."
  • CPM has no plans to reassign reporters who cover the same beat. "Both newsrooms will operate separately."

💭 Justin's thought bubble: I love this. The positive is that a public media company is better than a hedge fund that would have likely gutted the Sun-Times. I wanted to see bigger and bolder plans on how to make these two entities work together and not separately, but here's hoping that will happen in due time.

💭 Monica's thought bubble: As someone who started working at the Sun-Times in 1985 — when the paper was full of ads, staffers and money — I never thought I'd see the day when it was sold for nothing. I wish the venture all the luck in the world.

What's next: CPM says it expects to close the transaction by Jan. 31.

Disclosure: Both Monica and Justin worked at WBEZ for several years. Monica also worked at the Sun-Times.

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