I hate to admit it, but the Trib is doing something right


First of all, why do I hate to admit it? I do a little freelance work for them (which I would link to if only I could), enjoy many of their stories and writers and am even a print subscriber.

I guess I hate to admit it, because my loyalties naturally tend more towards the indie upstarts like Windy Citizen or Gapers Block or even the decidedly less indie Chicagoist. Even the Chicago Reader gives me a warmer, fuzzier feeling than the colossus called the Chicago Tribune.

The Trib represents all other big media organizations for me, legacy media if you will. These organizations are often rigid, ruthless and utterly intolerant towards new technologies’ threat to their dominance. They also maintain a grip on their audiences any way they can and they sometimes do it in a way that is simultaneously a nod to new media and a swift kick in its pants.

Thus I’ve always maintained a bit of a distance from the outreach efforts the Trib regularly makes to readers. Short of attending a few tweetups, because I figured they would be good networking opportunities, I’ve steered clear of what I viewed as little more than cheap pandering in the hopes of scoring a few popularity points.

However, after attending a “community conversation” yesterday dealing with government accountability, I might be changing my mind.

In short, I was impressed not only by the caliber of people in the room, but the sincere desire of the various Tribune Company staffers to listen and gather ideas from us. They seemed to be genuinely interested in what we had to say and I didn’t feel pandered to at all.

Now it remains to be seen if our ideas will be executed or disregarded. Your move, Tribune.


  1. Anonymous April 22, 2010

    Your candor is admirable, Anna. Nice meeting you.

  2. Anonymous April 22, 2010

    Thanks for being there, Anna. This actually IS about being closer to the people who count on our reporting.

    I’ve got to go check with the News Apps guys today. I know they were really jazzed about a couple of those suggestions. I’ll keep you in the loop.

  3. Anonymous April 22, 2010

    Appreciate you participating in our event yesterday. I guess the Trib looks like a colossus, but we don’t think of it that way. Keep in touch, keep the ideas coming, keep us honest.

  4. Anna Tarkov April 22, 2010

    Thanks @JoeGermuska I can definitely appreciate what a challenge it is to make a large organization like the Trib more accessible. You guys are doing a good job with it so far.

  5. Mike Shields April 23, 2010

    is it a matter of them listening, or getting material for a story?

  6. Anonymous April 23, 2010

    In this case, it was brainstorming together to come up with concepts we could build that readers would find useful. We were listening very hard. No story out of it, just a blog post! 😉

  7. Mike Shields April 23, 2010

    That’s in your case, I thought you were a freelancer? What is the trib going to do with the info provided?

  8. Anna Tarkov April 23, 2010

    @MatchesMalone Mike, at least follow the links I provides before commenting, k? :) They would have answered your questions. As for your second comment, yes, I freelance a bit for the Tribune. What will they do with the info provided? Hopefully build some great new news applications :)

  9. Mike Shields April 23, 2010

    I followed the link you tweeted to your site. I didn’t feel the need to follow any of the links there. Your story was enough for me to comment on.

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