Two powerhouses in Chicago media are joining forces. Chicago Public Media, owners of WBEZ, will buy the Chicago Sun-Times. WBEZ’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the deal this past Tuesday. The deal is expected to close January 31.
“This is an important step to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago,” said Matt Moog, CEO of Chicago Public Media, which owns WBEZ.
The deal will bring together two of the most well-known media brands in the city and gives the Sun-Times, who once turned off their escalators to save money, a new lease on life. “For the Sun-Times, it actually means longetivity,” said Sun-Times CEO Nykia Wright.
The deal gives hope, and even a blueprint, to the many daily newspapers across the country. The industry, of course, has massively struggled in the digital age as advertising revenues decline and audiences migrate to social media.
The Sun-Times will join as a non-for-profit subsidiary of Chicago Public Media. This does mean the Sun-Times will be unable to make editorial endorsements for political races.
Chicago Public Media may also soften the Sun-Times’ current subscription paywall, as they aim to provide more content access to those who are unwilling or unable to pay.
Both WBEZ and the Sun-Times will maintain editorial independence, but will aim to share content across its mediums. Wright will remain CEO of the Sun-Times and will report to Moog.
No dollar figure related to the purchase has been reported.
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