I want to say a few words, and make an offer, in light of yesterday’s big media announcement.
Word emerged from tronc Tower Monday that the Sun-Times is for sale, and that tronc, the owner of the Chicago Tribune, intends to buy its competitor. While by now dozens of articles have been written on the topic, those of us in the news business learned about the intended purchase from a press release, where the strongest statement made by tronc CEO Justin Dearborn was,
“We will be pleased to have the Chicago Sun-Times join our existing family of strong brands and help it maintain its independent voice. tronc will benefit from increased unique visitors, better engagement with Sun-Times consumers and more data for future troncX initiatives.”
Set aside for a moment the total bloodlessness of Dearborn’s statement and consider what’s missing: You, the customer, the Chicagoan.
We think about our customers a lot at The Daily Line.
Most news organizations, like those operated by tronc, are a two-sided business model. You need readers to get advertisers, and advertisers to pay for content readers want. But Dearborn is saying here that he’s focusing on just one of the two sides: getting what he can from Sun-Times readers while not giving something back to readers.
What is the future for news consumers–Chicagoans–with a company like this?
While there are many valiant and excellent writers, editors, photographers and designers of all kinds at tronc publications, we’re not seeing leadership that inspires confidence in a great publication.
We think it’s because tronc’s business model is all wrong for people who care about news.
Since our launch in 2014, The Daily Line was built on simplicity: You pay a subscription, you get great reporting from our small but expert team. That’s it. With one stroke, you know who we’re really trying to serve: You, the reader. It will always be like this for us.
At The Daily Line, we’re betting that sticking to selling subscriptions offers a much healthier future than selling advertising and customer data.
We know many of our subscribers by name. Of course that’s not possible for a big city daily, but that’s not what we want to be. We want to be your news publication, the one you can count on to deliver great news about City Hall and County government.
Join us at The Daily Line and subscribe to reporting made explicitly for you, not to gather your data. And, because we want to make it easy for you, this week we’re dropping our first month subscription price to $10, a 75% reduction off our regular price.
Get a real Chicago publication. And we’ll get to know you by name.