In his headier days as chairman of Wrapports LLC, Michael Ferro often touted the delivery of high school sports content as a potential billion-dollar business. Now his company’s one remaining daily newspaper is shrinking its coverage of high school sports — and Ferro has disappeared from the masthead to boot.
Free-lance reporters were notified last week that the Sun-Times no longer would cover prep sports as extensively as in the past, starting with softball and other spring athletics.
Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, acknowledged that the cutbacks were tied to Wrapports' recent sale of 38 suburban publications to Tribune Publishing. Most of the stories and stats were shared among the suburban newspapers and their websites.
“Like all news organizations, we continually evaluate our content needs,” Kirk said in a statement. “We continue to cover high school athletics and will do so in the future. We have scaled back in some areas in the wake of the sale of our suburban newspapers, which carried the majority of our preps coverage.”
Coverage of Chicago area high school football and basketball appears to have been spared, but could be subject to cutbacks as well.
Sports isn’t the only area under review. As part of cost-reduction efforts, sources said, the Sun-Times also reduced the free-lance budget for arts and entertainment coverage.