History of Newspapers: The Chicago Tribune Part 2

About the history of the United States newspaper The Chicago Tribune, information and some of their scoops.


The Present. The nation's 5th largest newspaper, the Chicago Tribune also publishes the New York News, and 5 Florida dailies. It also owns 5 radio station and 4 television stations.

Though far less biased than in its early days, the paper remains basically conservative. It now pays more attention to news and views of minority groups, particularly Chicago's large black population, although it walks the line by trying to keep its conservative white Midwestern readership happy, too. It seves a wide area covering 4 States, an area the Tribune chauvinistically calls "Chicagoland."

The Tribune is also trying to attract young readers by running features planned to appeal to them and including youth-oriented comic strips. Its women's section is sympathetic to womens liberation and abortion reform.

Playing down crime and sex-scandal stories, the Tribune does sensationalize drung stories and crusades against durgs. For instance, it once captioned a photograph of a girl arrested for growing marijuana in her apartment with just 2 words--"Dope Suspect."

Still patriotic, the paper offers 3" by 5" American Flags at a nominal price, a practice it began in 1961. Columinist robert Wiedrich wrote, not so long ago: "Wearing Old Glory on a police uniform, a business suit, or, for that matter, on your pajamas when you kneel in prayer for this country at night is a good idea, especially in these times."

Scoops. On December 4, 1941, the Chicago Tribune printed in detail the war plans of the American General Staff in case of an attack on the U.S. This caused great consternation in Washington.

In a report n the Battle of Midway, it all but gave away the fact that the Navy had broken the Japanese secret code. The Government started to prosecute the paper for endangering the national security, but later dropped charges.

In 1948, the Tribune jumped the gun by reporting election results with a night edition headline reading DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN. The victorious Truman waved this edition from a train platrform the next day. It was the Tribune's biggest nonscoop.

Under George Bliss, the Tribune exposed the 1972 Cook County vote frauds (thus winning the Pulitzer Prize) and published an 8-part series on police brutality that resulted in indictments.

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