Chicago Tribune Debuts New Format

Ratio Is 50% Editorial, 50% Advertising, Resulting in Fewer Sections

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CHICAGO ( -- The Chicago Tribune debuted a dramatically new look, revamping itself in order to comply with a Tribune Co. dictate to have advertising account for at least 50% of the paper every day.
Tribune redesign

The new Tribune is bolder, more graphics-centered and looks similar to many European newspapers.

The new paper collapses the front, local and business sections into a single section, and adds a bolder, more graphics-centered look similar to many European newspapers. It also bears a stronger resemblance to the paper's youth-targeted RedEye edition, which may not be a coincidence: RedEye's founding editors, Jane Hirt and Joe Knowles, have been promoted to the main edition's managing editor and assistant managing editor for presentation roles, respectively.

The Trib touted the changes with a large banner proclaiming "A whole new day" on its Michigan Avenue headquarters. Many employees were spotted around the tower wearing T-shirts with the new slogan as well.

Proactive on PR
The paper also seemed to be wagering that some readers would prefer yesterday's larger news hole. Last Friday, editors distributed talking points for newsroom employees to use in the event they have to field customer calls. (The paper's main switchboard message also offered a feedback survey number for those calling in to complain about, or to praise, the new look.)

The memo, from a Tribune editor to the newsroom staff, reads:

Dear colleagues,

We're looking forward to lots of reaction to our redesigned paper beginning on Monday.

Editorial coordinators in each department have been trained to talk with readers and tally their comments. This information will be collected by the customer relations team so that we can fully understand input from the readers who contact us.

If you get calls and e-mail, you can:

-- Forward them to one of the people listed below.

-- Handle the call/e-mail yourself.

The very high-level message is this: The Tribune remains committed to our core journalistic values. We will continue to deliver accurate, courageous and ground-breaking reporting.

After speaking with the caller, be sure to send an e-mail to ctc-publiceditor with a brief report on the reader's reaction. (Didn't like ... this, that, this. Did like ... this, that, this.)

A call to Tribune Publisher Tony Hunter wasn't immediately returned.
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