Sun-Times plans to jettison Joliet

Herald NewsUnder pressure to raise cash quickly, the parent company of the Sun-Times is about to begin selling off some of its suburban publishing assets, according to insiders.

Sources said the first to go likely will be the Joliet Herald-News, one of seven suburban daily newspapers owned by Sun-Times Media. A deal to sell the paper to an unidentified local owner is expected to be announced before the end of the year.

Timothy Knight, CEO of Sun-Times Media owner Wrapports LLC, declined to comment.

Herald-NewsA fixture in the southwest suburbs for 100 years, the Herald-News was acquired in 2000 when former owner Copley Press sold its Fox Valley Press division to Hollinger International, then parent company of the Sun-Times.

Under president and chief operating officer David Radler, the deal was a key part of Hollinger’s strategy to compete against the Chicago Tribune by creating a ring of suburban dailies surrounding Chicago in addition to dozens of weekly newspapers in the northern and southern suburbs.

Word of the Joliet sale follows a report here that another round of staff reductions will target departments throughout Sun-Times Media early next year. Both moves are necessary to offset revenue shortfalls, sources said.

It’s not clear how many employees will be affected by the sale of the 25,000-circulation daily since Sun-Times Media recently consolidated suburban editorial and business operations.

Besides the Sun-Times and the Herald-News, Sun-Times Media also owns the Aurora Beacon-News, the Elgin Courier-News, the Lake County News-Sun, the Naperville Sun, the Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune and the SouthtownStar, as well as the Chicago Reader and 32 weekly newspapers published by the Pioneer Press.