Chicago Public Media’s board of directors approved the acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times, CPM announced Tuesday.
The deal, which is expected to close by Jan. 31, will make the newspaper a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media and will bring two prominent newsrooms in Chicago under the CPM umbrella.
The two brands will maintain their identities. CPM CEO Matt Moog and Sun-Times CEO Nykia Wright will remain in their leadership roles, with Wright reporting to Moog.
The newsrooms will also maintain separate operations and “editorial independence,” according to the announcement. CPM plans to hire two executive editors, one for each newsroom. Tracy Brown, CPM’s CCO, will remain in that role. The newsrooms plan to share content across their platforms, including print, podcasts and broadcast.
The Sun-Times will soften its existing paywall “in a way that will seek subscription support from consumers but also not block content for those unable or unwilling to pay,” Moog told WBEZ.
“This is an important step to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago,” Moog said in the release.
Staffers in each newsroom are represented by different unions, with WBEZ’s represented by Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The Chicago News Guild represents the Sun-Times newsroom. Both unions are entering contract negotiations this year, according to the WBEZ story.
CPM said it will create a nonprofit board for the Chicago Sun-Times that will include Moog and current CPM board directors Adrienne King of Bain & Company and Lerry Knox of Sovereign Infrastructure Group. Kristen Mack, managing director of communications at the MacArthur Foundation, and Aretae Ortiz Wyler, COO of The Atlantic, will serve as independent board members.
In September, CPM and the Sun-Times first announced the possibility of CPM acquiring the newspaper, with the two media outlets signing a nonbinding letter of intent to explore the deal.
Beyond the CPM deal, Moog said, the broadcaster is looking to partner with other Chicago-based media outlets.
“We hope to nurture and expand partnerships and collaborations with many of the other news outlets in Chicago, especially other independent, local news organizations that serve Chicago’s diverse communities,” he said in the release. “Moving forward with a spirit of collaboration will allow us to share and amplify our city’s journalism on behalf of the Chicago residents we all serve.”