Chicago Paper Drops Stock Quotes
SCOTT SIMON, host:
If you want to check the stock prices in the Chicago Sun-Times, sorry. You'll have to buy the Tribune. Or, as the Sun-Times hopes, go to their Web site. The Sun-Times has become the first large-circulation newspaper in the United States to get rid of daily stock tables. Now many newspapers, including The New York Times, have shortened their market listings, as the Web has become a major medium by which to follow stock prices. Beginning this week, the Sun-Times is only summarizing the previous day's stock trading. Dan Miller, the business editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, joins us from his offices.
Thanks for being with us.
Mr. DAN MILLER (Chicago Sun-Times): It's nice to be welcomed somewhere this week ...(unintelligible).
SIMON: Oh, so it's been rough. There are some people who haven't thought this was such a great idea?
Mr. MILLER: Just a few hundred.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. MILLER: I--we're trying to figure out if we made the right decision. Right now we think we did.
SIMON: Why did you make this decision?
Mr. MILLER: A couple of reasons, but the main one, Scott, is that the vast majority of our readers do not look to the nine pages of stock market listings and mutual funds that we run every day. That's a tremendous amount of real estate in the paper that is just not serving a great number of readers. It's very expensive to do, and we asked ourselves how can we better use this space.
SIMON: So have you enriched the stock listings on the Web site?
Mr. MILLER: Yeah. We've invested an awful lot in there, hired an outside firm to give us an incredible breadth and depth of stock market-mutual fund listings--the high, the low, the dividend, the yield, the P/E ratio--all of the financial information that savvy investors need on a real-time basis. Not something that happened, you know, 20 hours earlier and then gets delivered to your doorstep.
SIMON: Well, what about the conspiracy theory--that this is all just an attempt to get people who follow stocks to log into the Sun-Times Web site?
Mr. MILLER: Sure. There's no secret about that. We can serve our readers much better by expanding the printed news into that news hole that was given up to stock market tables, turning them on to an enhanced online source of stock market information.
SIMON: What do you make of all the complaints you've received this week?
Mr. MILLER: That we have got a bond at the Sun-Times with our readers that transcends generations, that goes right to the very marrow of the bone of our readers, and it hurts much more than I thought it would. I knew we'd lose some subscribers, but I had no idea that it would be as wrenching as it's been. The relationship between a reader and his newspaper, her newspaper is something to be prized and to be proud of, and I'm not real proud of the way things are going right now. I just know that that's the way of the future.
SIMON: So you think you might be in the advance on this.
Mr. MILLER: I think we're in the very tip of the vanguard. I can't tell you how many people have indicated an interest and want to know how bad a beating we're going to take on our circulation. If we succeed in doing this, you'll see many, many other papers doing exactly what we're doing.
SIMON: Mr. Miller, thanks very much.
Mr. MILLER: My pleasure, Scott.
SIMON: Dan Miller, business editor of the Chicago Sun-Times.
And it's 22 minutes before the hour.