Down Comes “the Wall”

by Roger Pynn
There has always been an invisible wall between newsrooms and the business office of newspapers – until today.  Tribune Publishing has done away with “the wall,” promoting editors of its newspaper properties (that include the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and seven others) and making them responsible for the business side as editors and publishers.
This will put some fine journalists to the test as the work to balance the commercial interests of publishing with the sanctity of the journalistic process.  In the past, journalists were generally free from worry about having the heavy hammer of the publisher coming down on them as they worked for – as Clark Kent would say “truth, justice and the American way.”
Increasingly today the world of journalism is blurred as media companies struggle to stay alive in the always-on, user-driven world of communication that has left countless business models on a junk heap of failed digital experiments.
I’ve written often about the demise of the business where I started and lamented the prospect of a world without daily local newspapers.  Perhaps having put journalists in charge isn’t such a bad idea … if these newly crowned publishers can just remember that the product is news … true, balanced, unfettered journalism.

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