Newspapers: Fighting to Lose Least

In the good old Front Page tradition, Chicago is probably the most competitive newspaper town in the U.S. Four daily newspapers, owned by two companies, still battle for news beats and circulation, advertising and impact. In the morning, the late Colonel Robert R. McCormick's Chicago Tribune stands grandly against the up-and-coming Sun-Times of the late Marshall Field. In the afternoon, the McCormick forces are represented briskly by the ex-Hearst Chicago's American; Field Enterprises publish the once-great Daily News.

Lately, an ominous note has crept into the competition. In the past, the fight was for larger circulation gains; now much of...

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