CHICAGO (CBS) — If you pick up a copy of the Chicago Reader this week, you’ll find some radical changes from the issue that came out last Thursday.
Starting this week, the tabloid-format newspaper will be scrapped in favor of a staple-bound, glossy-covered booklet that suggests a magazine more than a newspaper, the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal reported.
Music coverage will be expanded with a new “B Side” section that will feature listings, features, and the usual reviews from critics Miles Raymer and Peter Margasak. Food listings will be reorganized with a new “Key Ingredient” chef-to-chef cooking challenge, and a new event listing called “The Agenda” will be included. A new Arts and Culture section will also be featured.
The Reader also touts the return of reporter-columnist Mick Dumke, who left the paper last year for the Chicago News Cooperative.
Columns by investigative reporter Ben Joravsky, media critic Michael Miner, and arts critic Deanna Isaacs will also continue, as will “The Straight Dope” and Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” sex advice column, the Reader says.
The Tribune’s Rosenthal says the Reader hopes the paper will seem less disposable, and will stand out more among its competitors – including New City, Time Out Chicago, and the Tribune’s Red Eye.
This is the second sweeping change in the design of the Reader in recent years.
In 2007, the paper was sold to Tampa, Fla.-based alternative newspaper chain Creative Loafing. Soon afterward, its long-standing format as a multi-section broadsheet was scrapped in favor of the single-section tabloid format that was used until this week. Sometime before that, the paper was cut from four to three sections when the music and the arts and culture sections were combined.
Creative Loafing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008, in large part from debt incurred when it spent $40 million to buy the Reader, the Washington City Paper, and “The Straight Dope” column. In 2009, the Atalaya Capital Management fund bought the company and its papers.
The Reader was founded in 1971 by a group of friends from Carleton College – editor and publisher Robert Roth, art director Robert McCamant, advertising director Thomas Yoder, and operations director and treasurer Thomas Rehwaldt. Rehwaldt was fired in 1988 after a falling out with the other partners and ended up suing the company twice – most recently over the plans to sell off the paper in 2007.
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