Wrapports-owned Chicago Sun-Times Media has been chipping away at its columnist ranks, dropping financial expert Terry Savage and reducing the frequency of a column by Neil Steinberg.
Savage's column has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times for about 25 years and ended in May, just when the newspaper redesigned its business page to feature stories in the same style as its Grid business magazine, Savage said.
"We have always just had a handshake agreement, which they were free to end at any time. And they did," Savage said.
The Sun-Times has long been reducing costs, including laying off all but three of its staff photographers last week, closing its suburban newspaper offices and reducing the suburban staff, and reducing the Grid magazine from weekly to monthly, among other actions.
As for Savage, she continues to write her financial column weekly for syndication for newspapers nationwide. Most columns also appear on HuffingtonPost.com. The columns appear on her website, www.TerrySavage.com, where she also hosts the "Ask Terry" blog.
"Personally, I am sorry to see what is happening to the paper (Sun-Times), and to the many wonderful journalists who have worked so hard to keep it going," Savage said. "But as an economic observer, I recognize the owners' need to cut costs in an attempt to survive. It reminds me of what happens when you're losing at the game of Monopoly: First you sell your hotels and houses, then you mortgage your property, and finally you land on someone else's property and you can't pay the 'rent.' It's a vicious spiral, and you're always hoping things will work out. I wish them well because it's unthinkable to imagine Chicago without the Sun-Times," she said.
In another change, the Sun-Times reduced the frequency of Neil Steinberg's column from four times a week to just Mondays following his reported disagreement with the managing editor over the content of a column that appeared April 26. Crain's reported Steinberg wrote about borrowing a car from a friend who owns a car time-sharing company and that Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk was upset with the column.
"I believe that the problem with that particular column and the cutback were coincidental -- that it was something they were going to do anyway. The timing was unfortunate," Steinberg said.
Kirk declined to comment on Steinberg. "No other changes with any other columns," he said.
Besides the Chicago Sun-Times, Sun-Times Media includes Pioneer Press, the Aurora Beacon-News, Naperville Sun, Elgin Courier-News, Joliet Herald-News, Lake County News-Sun, Post-Tribune and the Daily SouthtownStar.