It’s official: Tronc changes name back to Tribune Publishing


Two years after the parent company of the Chicago Tribune renamed itself tronc, it’s going back to calling itself Tribune Publishing, the company announced today.

The name change, which formally takes effect Tuesday, will close a sorry chapter in the history of the Chicago media giant, which drew nearly universal revulsion and ridicule when it unleashed tronc on the world in June 2016.

Tribune Publishing

The monosyllabic, lower case moniker was meant to stand for “tribune online content” and underscore the company’s shift from newspaper publisher to a “content curation and monetization engine" under then-chairman Michael Ferro. The rebranding also was intended to differentiate Tribune Publishing from Tribune Media, the broadcasting company from which it spun off in 2014.

Ferro stepped down in March, just hours before Fortune magazine published allegations of sexual misconduct against him by two women. (He remains the company's largest shareholder.) CEO Justin Dearborn, who succeeded Ferro as chairman, moved to change the name back to Tribune Publishing with approval of the company board after the sale of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune earlier this year.

"We announced today our decision to return the parent company name to one that’s which [sic] is rich in history, prestige and a recognition of our journalistic foundation - The Tribune Publishing Company," Dearborn told employees in a memo. "The name change back to the Tribune Publishing Company has no impact on our iconic local brands."

In addition to the Tribune, tronc operates newsrooms in nine other cities, including New York, Baltimore, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

Here is the text of the memo from Dearborn:

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to share some company updates as well as highlights of the hard work being done across our newsrooms. We announced today our decision to return the parent company name to one that’s which is rich in history, prestige and a recognition of our journalistic foundation - The Tribune Publishing Company. The name change back to the Tribune Publishing Company has no impact on our iconic local brands. The change will formally take effect on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 4:15 pm, Eastern Daylight Time. The company’s common stock will resume trading on the NASDAQ with the opening of trading on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 under the ticker TPCO.

We know that strong audience engagement starts with great journalism. We are fortunate that hundreds of journalists across our newsrooms are focused on producing the best work to meet our readers in a variety of formats. Below is just a summary of the stories that are connecting with our local audiences in a significant way.

  • Chicago Tribune - The Chicago Tribune’s coverage of the trial of a Chicago police officer accused of murder—including a live blog and live video of witness testimony-drew nearly 450,000 page views. The Tribune’s daily live blog has a live video feed and a gallery of riveting courtroom photos.
  • New York Daily News - Nancy Dillon’s interview with Tad Low regarding Brett Kavanaugh and the FBI. Tad Low was a year behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Yale and attempted to report a tip to the FBI on Saturday.
  • The Morning Call - A car exploded in downtown Allentown Saturday night, killing a father, his toddler son and another man. The blast left a gruesome scene in the neighborhood and required residents to evacuate for days while local, state and federal agents investigated and cleaned up the horrific scene. Our coverage included eyewitness accounts and video, photo galleries, stories focusing on every aspect of the tragedy and investigation, and live streaming of press conferences. The coverage as of 4 p.m. Wednesday drew more than 977,000 page views, 418,000 uniques, and strong engagement.
  • Hartford Courant - The controversy surrounding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court touched off a showdown between President Donald Trump and Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal that started with a Twitter attack reviving a controversy about Blumenthal's service during the Vietnam War. The Courant, which covered the original controversy, analyzed exactly what Blumenthal said and assessed the accuracy of the president's attack.
  • Virginia’s Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot - In a community where tunnels and bridges connect us, motorists from Virginia and surrounding states got stuck in a 17- hour nightmare after a tractor-trailer that was moving equipment for a tunnel expansion project hit the top of the tunnel in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The truck struck the ceiling of the bridge's Thimble Tunnel on Monday, causing the equipment – an 11-ton vibratory hammer used for driving sheet piles – to fall onto the road. The result was a large gash in the ceiling and hours of closed lanes on the 17-mile bridge, stranding motorists for most of the day.
  • The Baltimore Sun - Baltimore's violent crime rate was one of the highest among the nation's largest cities last year, according to new FBI data. That news came amid a particularly violent week and the city’s deadliest month in more than a year. September had 37 deaths, with 17 happening during the past week. The Sun's crime coverage remains an authoritative voice across the state where there is intense interest in identifying solutions to these problems. The coverage reinforces the importance The Baltimore Sun plays in shedding light on this issue.
  • South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel partnered together to cover the proposed Constitutional amendments. Here are two stories from that coverage:
  • Florida voters face a wide range of issues when it comes to 12 amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot this year. In the first 24 hours since being posted, the story had almost 14,000 page views, more than 8,000 visits and led the site in time spent per story. An accompanying video also had more than 4,500 views.
  • “Your Guide to Florida’s Constitutional Amendments,” is an easy-to-read breakdown on the dozen amendments that will appear on the mid-term ballot. The story logged 13,500 pageviews with strong engagement times. More than 40% are finding the article through social media.

As we approach year end, I encourage everyone to stay focused, energized and motivated for the remainder of the year. We must remain strategically attentive to producing high quality journalism for the communities we serve. Our mission has never been more important as we find ourselves in an unprecedented, divisive environment that demands quality, unbiased and factual journalism. As always, thank you for your continued commitment.


Justin Dearborn