Three reasons the new Tribune tabloid should be free, a twitter serial (republished in blog form)

The Tribune announced this week that they will begin printing the fat Chicago daily as a tabloid! Huzzah!

The Tribune’s move, replacing its broadsheet edition with the tabloid version at the retail level, is an aggressive bet that a switch in size will improve sales. There are no plans to make the tabloid-sized edition available for home delivery

I thought today’s tweets on the topic might be good to republish.

Brian Boyer
brianboyer Three reasons the new Tribune tabloid ( should be free, a twitter serial. Bring on the haters
Brian Boyer
brianboyer 1 If the paper is free, I pick it up. (Even the Red Eye, which runs 1/3 celebritrash, not including sports, neither of which I care for.)
Brian Boyer
brianboyer 2 On a tabloid page, I notice (and occasionally read!) the ads. On a broadsheet, they’re just annoying blocks to reading.
Brian Boyer
brianboyer 3 TribCo’s current gratis daily is crap. A proper paper would bring a new age of enlightenment in Chicago. Embiggen, Obama, Olympics.
Brian Boyer
brianboyer = $$$ from more effective ads shown to a larger audience, plus an improved, vital brand, loved by a better-informed populace. You dig?

Am I nuts? Riding the train this morning, I saw a lot of glossy-eyed folks reading the Red Eye, and a few diligent readers struggling with the crowd and the fatty broadsheet.

4 thoughts on “Three reasons the new Tribune tabloid should be free, a twitter serial (republished in blog form)

  1. Do you think they should discontinue the RedEye or print both? I agree that distributing the tabloid for free would be effective – I know I would pick it up (I mean, if I were still in Chicago!), and it’d def be an easier read on the El. But would there be enough readers to support two free print editions based on ad revenue alone?

  2. Well, from what I’ve heard, the Red Eye is a nicely profitable venture. Assuming that, the question is: Would a free tabloid Tribune cannibalize Red Eye readership beyond the point where both are profitable? Don’t think anyone could say for sure, without trying it out.

    Any casual reader of the Trib, post-redesign, will recognize much content spans both papers. But maybe redundancy is not a problem, and TribCo might want to direct the two free dailies to two different audiences: folks who love to read about exciting new television programs, and folks who want to read the *news*.

  3. Sam Zell refused to accept that the internet had changed competition. Now readers can get more news faster and cheaper on the web – and Tribune Corporation has simply ignored the shift. Lowering paper cost will not save the Chicago Tribune and LA Times. It will take a new leader, and a new strategy. Likewise, making employees work for free is no solution for the market shifts making USAToday and Gannett less viable. Read more at

  4. Brian, congrats on the position in Chi town. Been discussing how to make money on news given how freely available it is. The answer lies in American Idol. Yup. It’s true. People want to watch something for free. But they will PAY to have someone listen to their opinions, especially when it impacts action. A dollar a vote to determine what gets investigated next in City Hall? 25 cents to post your comment on what BS Stroger is spewing now, especially if it’s put in a place that’ll get read? Just a thought on making money in the news world order of hacker journalism.

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