Chicago television’s continuing weather wars are about to begin a new battle — with Jerry Taft and Cheryl Scott on the front line.
Starting Friday, the Sun-Times will expand its daily weather coverage with a full page of “forecast content” provided by ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and spotlighting Taft, the station’s chief meteorologist, and Scott, the station’s rising star (and heir apparent to Taft).
While the move is an outgrowth of an ongoing marketing arrangement between the Sun-Times and ABC 7, it’s clearly aimed at the Chicago Tribune, which long has carried a weather page under the brand of Tom Skilling, superstar chief meteorologist of Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9. It also is intended to promote the First Alert Weather franchise of ABC 7.
Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, announced the agreement to his staff Thursday.
“The addition of the expanded content from the TV news leader in town gives our readers another reason to turn to us as they continue to look for sources of information they trust,” Kirk wrote in a memo. “It is safe to say weather was one area in the paper that was in need of an overhaul. We are confident the upgrade will be embraced by our readers.”
The new weather page will appear seven days a week.
Here is the text of Kirk’s memo to staff:
Team, for the past several months we’ve been engaged in partnerships that help build our business and add more content for our readers in areas where it makes sense. In addition to our own great work, we’ve added more national/foreign/lifestyle news from USA Today, and additional suburban content from the Daily Herald, resulting in a more complete package of news–especially in print–on a daily basis. The changes have had a positive impact which we’ll discuss in closer detail next week at our staff meeting.
Tomorrow we add another element, this time from our partners at ABC 7. Beginning with our Friday editions, we expand our daily print weather offering by including forecast content from ABC 7’s weather team, notably meteorologists Jerry Taft and Cheryl Scott. Attached is what the new weather pages will look like.
The addition of the expanded content from the TV news leader in town gives our readers another reason to turn to us as they continue to look for sources of information they trust. It is safe to say weather was one area in the paper that was in need of an overhaul. We are confident the upgrade will be embraced by our readers. Hat tip to Bryan Barker who redesigned the pages.
This doesn’t change our ongoing marketing arrangement with ABC 7, including the nightly ad promoting our newspaper on the station’s newscast.
In closing, let me say again how proud I am to be part of this news organization. On any given day we are the must-read for those who want to know the whole story on the most important issues affecting Chicagoans. Our business partners recognize it. Most importantly, our readers know it. Thanks for the continued hard work.