Skip to main content

Tribune, Blagojevich: not a great day for Chicago

No matter where you are in the country, you've probably seen the news today about the Tribune bankruptcy and the story surrounding Illinois Governor Blagojevich's arrest/corruption scandal.

I think the post title says it all, but let's include some actual news coverage of these events, just to make sure we're all up to speed.

Would it be strange to start off with coverage on the governor's arrest from the very paper (Chicago Tribune) whose editorial board was quietly threatened by said governor due to critical coverage of his term in office? It would? Well, let's do it anyway.

From the Chicago Tribune:

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents for what U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald called a "staggering" level of corruption involving pay-to-play politics in Illinois' top office.

Blagojevich is accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy, including alleged attempts by the governor to try to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. Blagojevich also is accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions."

I'm sure the nation will be shocked, shocked!, by this latest turn in Illinois politics. Remember, when it comes to politics, this is just the stuff that actually makes it into the newspapers...

Back to the newspaper company in question: the Tribune Company, publishers of the Chicago Tribune. Tribune has filed for bankruptcy after struggling under the weight of too much debt and a dying industry business model.

Will a Tribune Co. bankruptcy/restructuring lead a refocusing of the newspaper industry? Mark Trumbull at CSMonitor has some thoughts on the industry's future:

"...Few expect newspapers, any more than cars, to suddenly disappear. But an already difficult industry transition now looks harder. More bankruptcies seem likely, and some papers will simply shut their doors.

"This perfect storm of events has sucked in every player in the industry with astonishing speed," says Paul Gillin, a Boston-area media analyst and consultant. Yet he predicts that out of the chaos "will emerge a new kind of media, a new kind of journalism." "

Personal take: I grew up reading the Chicago Tribune. I stopped reading it, for the most part, several years ago. When I see the paper now, it looks and reads like a cheap tabloid news rag. I wonder if the layout redesigns and news staff cutbacks helped hasten the company's decline.

Back in 2007, I thought if anyone could pull off a vanity investment in a big city newspaper company, it would be canny old Sam Zell. He was ready for a challenge and flush with success from the then recent $39 billion sale of EOP to private equity Blackstone.

Unfortunately, since then, the Tribune newspaper offices and Wrigley Field have not been as easy to sell.

Popular posts from this blog

The Dot-Com Bubble in 1 Chart: InfoSpace

With all the recent talk of a new bubble in the making, thanks in part to the Yellen Fed's continued easy money stance , I thought it'd be instructive to revisit our previous stock market bubble - in one quick chart. So here's what a real stock market bubble looks like.  Here's what a bubble *really* looks like. InfoSpace in 1999-2001. $QQQ $BCOR pic.twitter.com/xjsMk433H7 — David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) February 24, 2015   For those of you who are a little too young to recall it, this is a chart of InfoSpace at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble in 1999-2001. This fallen angel soared to fantastic heights only to plummet back down to earth as the bubble, and InfoSpace's shady business plan , turned to rubble. As detailed in our post, " Round trip stocks: Momentum booms and busts ", InfoSpace rocketed from under $100 a share to over $1,300 a share in less than six months.  In a pattern common to many parabolic shooting stars, the s

New! Finance Trends now at FinanceTrendsLetter.com

Update for our readers: Finance Trends has a new URL!  Please bookmark our new web address at Financetrendsletter.com Readers sticking with RSS updates should point your feed readers to our new Finance Trends feedburner .   Thank you to all of our loyal readers who have been with us since the early days. Exciting stuff to come in the weeks ahead! As a quick reminder, you can subscribe to our free email list to receive the Finance Trends Newsletter . You'll receive email updates about once every 4-8 weeks (about 2-3 times per quarter).  Stay up to date with our real-time insights and updates on Twitter .

Jesse Livermore: How to Trade in Stocks (1940 Ed. E-book)

If you've been around markets for any length of time, you've probably heard of 20th century supertrader, Jesse Livermore . Today we're highlighting his rare 1940 work, How to Trade in Stocks (ebook, pdf). But first, a brief overview of Livermore's life and trading career (bio from Jesse Livermore's Wikipedia entry). "During his lifetime, Livermore gained and lost several multi-million dollar fortunes. Most notably, he was worth $3 million and $100 million after the 1907 and 1929 market crashes, respectively. He subsequently lost both fortunes. Apart from his success as a securities speculator, Livermore left traders a working philosophy for trading securities that emphasizes increasing the size of one's position as it goes in the right direction and cutting losses quickly. Ironically, Livermore sometimes did not follow his rules strictly. He claimed that lack of adherence to his own rules was the main reason for his losses after making his 1907 and