Sun-Times Media Folds 11 Papers

CHICAGO (WBBM) – Sun-Times Media Holdings LLC Thursday announced that it will close 11 of its weekly west and southwest suburban newspapers by the end of the year.

The newspapers, in Geneva, Bolingbrook, Homer Glen, Lisle, Glen Ellyn, Plainfield, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Batavia, and the Fox Valley and Lincoln-Way editions of the weekly Sun, will cease operation by the end of the year.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports

On one level, Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said he is astonished.

“I am completely surprised,” Burns said from Las Vegas, Nev., where he was on a business trip. “I had no idea.”

But on another level, Burns said it is not surprising given the ongoing, turbulent changes in the media landscape — the same reason Sun-Times Media CEO Jeremy Halbreich cited.

“This is simply a matter of our evaluating our market coverage and positioning and certainly the profitability of the products in these particular areas,” Halbreich told WBBM.

Halbreich said he expects few, if any, layoffs. He said most of the news in the free, weekly newspapers has been written by stringers or was repurposed copy from the Sun-Times Media-owned daily newspapers in Naperville, Aurora, Elgin and Joliet, all of which will remain and are not being downsized.

Halbreich said that some of the publications may go Web-only, while coverage will be provided for the other communities in the remaining daily newspapers.

Still, Burns said, it won’t be the same.

“The Sun has always had a warm and fuzzy feeling because it arrives on your doorstep on Wednesdays,” he said. “It usually captures the local flavor and flair.”

He said the cities and villages served by the Sun weeklies have depended on them to get community information out to the public that might be missed in the dailies.

Halbreich said the future of the weekly Sun newspapers has been an open question ever since investors led by financier James Tyree bought the newspaper assets out of bankruptcy last year for $5 million, also assuming $22 million in liabilities.

He said prior management initiated the review. He said the free newspapers depended on advertising to make a profit, and that ad lineage dropped substantially, in part because of competition from new Web and mobile products and in part because of the sharp economic downturn.

Sun-Times Media Holdings will continue to publish the Chicago Sun-Times, seven other daily newspapers and the 39 weekly newspapers remaining in the Pioneer Press chain.

Pioneer Press earlier this month laid off most of its full-time sports staff.

More from Bob Roberts
  • James pluta

    So sad. I worked for the Sun when it was Copley owned and I don’t blame this news on the terrible economy but the lack of leadership and vision ever since the corporate takeover of this chain and many other once family owned papers in the region. Quality staffers have been let go for purely economic reasons with no regard for the loyalty these people, mostly the non-union type, had for the communities they served and the unabashed loyalty many of these communities schools parents And advertisers had for these once quality papers that truly covered them and not the pandering they are now given. Good luck hiring freelancers and continue walking away from towns that rely on you for news. Perhaps if more thought were given to who you let go and how you let them go (don’t bother coming in today 20 year employer; drop off your computer at noon) you’d be a success story. In fact I know you would. There was a time when the sun had a niche on the market even the dailies couldn’t fathom or fight

  • Donna U

    I welcome the homer glen, plainfield and lincoln-way communities the opportunity to keep such a community newspaper available. I am the editor of a community newspaper for the past five years. Please contact me at for samples.

    I am the editor/publisher/advertising/distribution person for this community newspaper with a 90-98% repeat advertiser following…bi-monthly.

  • Stop getting your fingers dirty

    […] I was driving in the car yesterday morning, as usual, listening to my favorite radio station (WBBM AM 780). It’s the only way I get my news. I heard the disturbing reality and at the same time, the incredible phenomenon of the power of technology. “Sun-Times Media Folds 11 Papers” was announced by Bob Roberts from Newsradio 780. […]

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