MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
More proof that the newspaper industry is shrinking: Starting today, the Chicago Tribune is publishing tabloid editions for commuters. Chicago Public Radio's Tony Arnold reports.
TONY ARNOLD: I have in my hand this morning's edition of the Chicago Tribune. Now, to understand why the Chicago Tribune made this switch to go with the tabloid look, you need to look no further than a crowded train station, which is where I am right now on Chicago's North Side. The idea being, the more compact the paper, the more elbow room they'll have on the way to work, and the more willing customers will be to buy the print edition.
Mr. ASHELY RILEY (Former Tribune Customer): Seeing that I'm in the habit of using public transportation, I know the ills of trying to use a large- format newspaper. So for me, I think it would be of some use, and I would probably give it a second go, for sure.
ARNOLD: Ashley Riley fits the profile of who the Tribune is targeting, to a T. He says he used to read the Tribune regularly, and the new tabloid look might get him back onboard as long as the content isn't affected. That's a point the Tribune has been adamant about - that the stories will remain the same in the tabloid edition; it's only the look that's changing. And for the traditionalists out there, the Tribune is keeping the familiar broadsheet editions for home delivery. But Mark Fitzgerald, an editor with a newspaper trade magazine in Chicago, says the new tabloid speaks to the financial crisis the entire newspaper industry is facing.
Mr. MARK FITZGERALD (Editor at Large, Editor & Publisher): The sense of urgency among newspapers is just palpable. Everybody understands that there's a lot on the line. And that's why they take risks like this. That's why they make a big leap, as the Chicago Tribune is doing in introducing this tabloid version.
ARNOLD: Fitzgerald also says the switch to tabloid can be seen as an attempt to lay some groundwork against the Tribune's main competitor, the Chicago Sun-Times, which has been a tabloid for years. The war between the two papers is nothing new. And if you need any proof that the Tribune is moving in on the Sun-Times' turf, look no further than today's front page. Both papers ran nearly identical pictures of Barack Obama with nearly identical headlines. For NPR News, I'm Tony Arnold in Chicago.
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