"CITY NEWS" AGENCY CLOSES DOORS
CHICAGO-- The famed "City News" agency where "The Front Page" became a reality, became history on Saturday. It was less than front page news. With reports from AP circulating in obscurity, papers like the Houston Chronicle and The Oregonian carried the news. In a move to save money and cut operating costs the Chicago Tribune, owner of the venearble agency announced its closing in December.
In another industry report Associated Press reports say that the Chicago Sun-Times has closed its youth oriented paper "The Red Streak" in the red. An industry insider was quoted as saying "it's already a bad year for newspapers." Red Streak was the Sun-Times offering to compete with a similar young publication put out by rival Tribune Publications, now both publications share a similar loss.
City News boasted the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Seymour Hersh and Pulitzer prize winning columnist Mike Royko. Its predecessor was City News Bureau, when Chicago Tribune picked it up the agncy was renamed City News Service and was not as widely used as previously. Even "Cheers" actor George Wendt tried out, but couldn't type and so was redirected. One famous alumni of the agency is playwright Charles Mac Arthur who used his training to produce and co-write "The Front Page" with Ben Hecht.
The Tribune will replace the service with a 24 hour desk designed to serve its tabloids and sites only rather than all the other city news outlets that used the service for wire service reports in the past. Hersh said of his experiences at City News; "It was where you learned about good reporting, and bad reporting" Hersh said. "I saw dead bodies, I saw a lot of things that I wouldn't have seen in any other job!"
The closing of City News ends an era of independent and cutting-edge jourmnalism training. It was a seriously fact based reporting service; at one time using the phrase "If your mother says she loves you...check it out!"
EDITOR'S NOTE: Logan News Group mourns the loss of this valuable news agency and the service it provided. We also share in the loss of the Red Streak; as young people begin to seek their news from more and different sources, we hope to remain a viable source of that news and information far into this new century. (Ed.)