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Report: Sun-Times Could Soon Look More Like New York Tabloid

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Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times at the Apparel Center. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Sun-Times could soon be getting a whole new look.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports Sun-Times chairman Michael Ferro wants the Sun-Times to be a splashy tabloid, or what Crain’s calls the Midwest equivalent of the New York Post.

Citing “people familiar with his thinking,” Crain’s reported that Ferro is looking for more coverage of Chicago celebrities, as well as sports and business. He also wants to upgrade the newspaper’s tablet application, and bring more hyperlocal news on crime, real estate and high school sports to the Sun-Times Media Group’s suburban dailies, Crain’s reported.

Ferro, 45, is a native of Long Island, but graduated from Naperville North High School and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Crain’s says he received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. At the U.S. Conference of Mayors last month, Ferro said he hoped to acquire more newspapers across the country in an effort to “keep newspapers alive in America,” Crain’s reported.

Ferro, a technology entrepreneur, finalized his purchase of the Sun-Times Media Group in December, along with Timothy Knight, former publisher of the Long Island newspaper Newsday.

The value of the acquisition of the Sun-Times by Wrapports LLC was pegged at more than $20 million.

Sun-Times Media filed for bankruptcy in March 2009 and was led out of bankruptcy later that year by an investment group headed by Mesirow Financial president James Tyree. Tyree died last year at the age of 53.

Crain’s compares Ferro to real estate mogul Sam Zell when he took the Tribune Company private in 2007. Crain’s also points out that Zell’s run in the Tribune was less than ideal, to say the least – with the company now having been in bankruptcy for more than three years.

And of course, the Sun-Times really was a Midwest equivalent of the New York Post at one time, as the papers shared a common owner.

Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp owned the Sun-Times from 1983 to 1986. His purchase of the paper prompted the defection of Mike Royko and many other legendary writers, and even though Roger Ebert remained with the paper, he was also a harsh critic of Murdoch during his reign.

“He threw out every meticulous detail of the beautiful design, ordered up big, garish headlines, and gave big play to a story about a North Shore rabbi accused of holding a sex slave,” Ebert wrote in his blog this past July.

In addition to being chairman of Wrapports, Ferro is chairman and chief executive officer of Merrick Ventures, a private investment firm.

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