Extra, Extra! Tribune Files For Bankruptcy

Media giant Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy protection -- which could spell trouble at two Connecticut media outlets.

Tribune owns Fox 61, the Hartford Courant and the Advocate alternative newspapers.  Earlier this year, the newspaper slashed 25 percent of its workforce.  There have been no plans announced to reduce staff or production at any Connecticut operation.

The company also owns The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs baseball team and is reportedly $13 billion in debt.  It filed for bankruptcy in a Delaware court Monday.  The baseball team and Wrigley Field are not included in the Chaptel 11 filing.

In a statement on its website, the company quotes chairman and CEO Sam Zell:  "...Factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm - a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy coupled with a credit crisis that makes it extremely difficult to support our debt."

With business about to hit the brakes at Tribune, some people may lose their jobs and audiences could lose two sources of information, Rich Hanley, a journalism professor at Quinnipiac University, said.

"The problem with the Tribune is it has too much debt, and with the advertising collapse, it's made it impossible for it to service that debt. It has a big payment due soon and it looks like it'll be unable to make that payment," he said.

Also in financial hot water is the Journal Register, which owns the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press.

Hanley said it's easy for the papers to blame a decrease in readership but more people are still staying informed. They're just getting their news from a different source.

"A lot of these wounds are self-inflicted. It's not fair to blame Wall Street or the Internet.The newspapers should have seen that their product match the contours of the Internet but they failed to do that in a timely fashion," he said.

It is important to point out that even though Tribune may file for bankruptcy, that doesn't mean it will close down completely, Hanley said. This gives it a chance to reorganize, sell some of its assets and begin to climb out of debt.

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