Chicago’s scrappy Sun-Times publisher is joining its rival Tribune in bankruptcy protection. The Sun-Times Media Group filed for Chapter 11 in Delaware today. In addition to the Sun-Times, the company owns dozens of suburban newspapers and Centerstage, a city guide it bought in 2006 to compete with the Tribune’s MetroMix.
Think of the Sun-Times as a less interesting Chicago equivalent of the New York Post — it relies heavily on single-copy sales, whereas the larger Tribune is mostly a subscription business. (The Tribune also prints a daily tabloid called RedEye. The Sun-Times’ rival, Red Streak, shut down in 2005.)
The Trib has also beat the Sun-Times on the Web: According to Compete, the Tribune’s Web site attracted 3.3 million U.S. visitors in February, up 35% year-over-year, while the Sun-Times’ attracted 1.9 million people, up 16% year-over-year.
Of course, neither Web site will be able to support the companies’ bloated newsrooms, which is the same problem every newspaper company — especially the New York Times Company — is facing.