A new media baron is about to born on the Third Coast. His name is James Tyree.
Tyree, 51, is chairman of Mesirow Financial and scheduled to be the next owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and its 58 suburban newspaper titles.
“Media kingpins aren’t what they used to be, but Tyree said he’s not content with modest expectations,” according to an article in the paper he’s about to own.
Tyree said he’s convinced there’s still a business model to build around “high-quality, high-integrity and focused local content.”
“Everybody thinks there will be some golden light that will be the answer” for the media business, he said. “I don’t think that will be the case. There will be a lot of answers, and they will work differently for different operations. It’s a portrait that’s still being painted.”
Tyree and his investors will pay $5 mil and absorb $20 mil in liabilities (but not the $600 mil owned to the IRS by former Sun Times owner Conrad Black, now in prison) so it’s fair to say Tyree is getting a great deal.
He told the Chicago Tribune, “I think this is a very good business investment in a business that will at some time in the future be a winner. “I’m aware of what other people think, and it’s a legitimate viewpoint. But I choose to look at it differently.”
As a content creator, I salute the investment. The unions got beat up in this deal and the newsroom took a 15% pay reduction, so there are hurt feelings in the ranks. There are also sighs of relief in the ranks that someone with capital to invest is stepping forward and saying local news is an important product and by trimming former excesses and adapting to a changing media marketplace, the news business will be a good business to be in again.