Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Chicago Tribune Editorial - The Tribune and its readers

Chicago Tribune Editorial - The Tribune and its readers
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
Published April 3, 2007

For nearly 60,000 mornings, the Chicago Tribune has reported to its readers about the tumults, transitions and changing fortunes of others. Today we talk with you about our own.

A massive business transaction is transforming the ownership of this institution and its parent company. This newspaper, where ink first met newsprint when Chicago was a lakeside settlement of 16,000 souls, will move forward with its customary confidence and determination to serve, to lead. Because, after 160 years, that is all it knows.

The Tribune isn't going anywhere but forward. A newspaper is a loyal citizen of its locale. It can't be carried off in the night like a sports franchise, or airlifted to another continent like a factory on the prowl for cheaper parts. It is bound to its community and glad for that supreme privilege.

The men and women whose work brings you each day's Tribune are but temporary stewards of journalistic traditions, and values, that we trust will endure for another 60,000 mornings. And for 60,000 mornings after that.

Ten years ago, on the Tribune's 150th birthday, two sentences in a note to our readers encapsulated what this newspaper strives to be:

"This has always been the best place to find out where dreams came true and where hearts were broken, where valiant soldiers fell, and where fools and thieves stumbled under the crushing weight of truth. The Tribune remains an enterprise that reports about everything from making money to making love to making a proud, perfect meatloaf, along with telling everyone who will take the time about everything of interest that happened over the past day or so."

The mission isn't changing -- and likely never will.

The way it is fulfilled, though, has changed, expanding from printing press to radio, to television, to the Internet and, someday, to platforms we can't yet imagine. If we may be immodest: The long history of the nationwide corporate collective known as Tribune Co. has been to master these new ways of communicating -- and to parlay them into businesses that not only survive, but thrive.

New ownership and new technologies don't change the relationship that was forged in 1847 and is certain to outlast us all. Those of us now entrusted with the Chicago Tribune anticipate the future with a gratifying assurance: Neither we nor our readers are going there alone.


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