Dear Rich Person: Please Save the Chicago Tribune. You Will Be a hero. And I Will Mow Your Lawn.
Dear anyone rich enough to buy my newspaper:
Hi there! I’m sure you’re busy, and I don’t mean to be a bother, but I was wondering if you might consider purchasing the Chicago Tribune and rescuing this civic institution from the clutches of a hedge fund that has done to newspapers what lawn mowers do to azaleas.
If you’re unfamiliar with the perilous situation my colleagues and I find ourselves in, I’ll explain:
The Chicago Tribune is part of Tribune Publishing, which owns a number of other daily newspapers such as the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and New York Daily News. The largest shareholder of Tribune Publishing is Alden Global Capital, the aforementioned lawn mower.
Alden is trying to take full ownership of Tribune Publishing, putting up $633 million. There’s a May 21 vote on that offer, and if shareholders accept the hedge fund’s money, the azaleas who make the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers tick might be in for a reckless pruning.
There is an extremely handsome and clearly heroic Maryland hotel executive mounting a last-minute bid for Tribune Publishing, with an eye toward preserving the newspapers as crucial parts of their individual communities. His name is Stewart Bainum Jr. and I want to be his best friend.
But he needs help from one or more additional wealthy investors, because, as the Tribune reported last week, Bainum “has buyers lined up for the chain’s other titles, but not the flagship paper in Chicago.”
So I’m here today looking for someone who wants to be a preposterously attractive and undoubtedly magnificent person like Mr. Bainum. I’m looking for someone willing to buy, and save, my newspaper.
The reason has nothing to do with me.
I love my job, and I enjoy bringing whatever it is I bring to readers. But I love this newspaper more, and I love the people who make up this newspaper most of all.