Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chicago Reader Continues Transformation from Funky to Glossy

Chicago Reader Cover FreebiesImage by TRAFFIK [US] via FlickrPoynter.org's Romanesko media gossip site notes that the alternative weekly newspaper, The Chicago Reader, has completed its metamorphosis from edgy ugly duckling to mainstream princess, as the latest issue features a stapled, glossy cover.

The Reader, which was founded in 1971 by Carleton College classmates, used to be known for its leftist political slant, extensive arts coverage, adult classified ads, and cheap ink and paper stock that made readers look as if they were wearing driving gloves.  The free paper, which faces stiff competition from The Chicago Tribune's RedEye, Newcity and Time Out Chicago, hopes the sleeker appearance will overcome the disposable feel of its former self.

The Reader was purchased in 2007 by Creative Loafing, which took its name literally and fell into bankruptcy, from which it was acquired for $5 million in 2009 by hedge fund Atalaya Capital Management LP. The weekly is distributed in newspaper boxes and at certain bars, restaurants and retail outlets on Wednesdays and Thursdays, though it is dated every Thursday.

"TUOL" lived in Chicago for many years and remembers fondly the bulky, inky Reader, though rarely got through the over-long, under-edited news articles, favoring instead the restaurant reviews, risque comic strips and "The Straight Dope" column authored by Cecil.
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