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Wrapports chief Ferro rolls out list of new Sun-Times features

Michael Ferro Wrapports chairman -  On people making difference “IrKnights”

Michael Ferro, Wrapports chairman - On people making a difference in “Iron Knights”

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Updated: July 3, 2012 9:38AM



Michael Ferro Jr., chairman of Sun-Times Media owner Wrapports LLC, unveiled new Sun-Times products that will feature fresh, colorful coverage ranging from society, fashion and gossip to business and sports, and he announced a new multimillion-dollar Sun-Times Foundation to help charitable causes.

Speaking at the City Club of Chicago Thursday, Ferro said the goal for the Sun-Times is to be the No. 1 local newspaper in the United States.

“We think we can go right below the New York Times [ranked No. 3 in circulation nationally]. That’s our goal internally. That’s what we are working for every day,” he said.

The paper currently is ranked No. 9 in the nation and No. 1 in Chicago.

“We’re saying publicly we want an increase of 100,000 Sunday subscribers in the next 24 months,” he said.

The new products are:

† Splash, daily coverage of society, fashion, gossip and other entertainment news and a more extensive wrap-up on Sunday. The daily Splash starts Monday, but the Sunday issue will begin this summer. One feature of the daily Splash will be a column written exclusively for the Sun-Times by one of 30 celebrities, including Jennifer Hudson, Jim Belushi, Common, musician Pete Wentz, actress Marlee Matlin and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The first column, written by actor and veterans advocate Gary Sinise, debuts Monday, which is Memorial Day.

† Sportspalooza on Sundays, which Ferro described as a weekly magazine that will list high-school, college and professional sports rankings of a wide variety of sports from throughout the greater Chicago area and northwest Indiana. It’s planned for the fall.

† Print and online content from the High School Cube, a service that invites high schools across the country to post information as well as stream live events, will be available in the next few weeks.

† A weekly “surprise” inside the paper that will debut this fall on Sundays, giving readers a sample product that will differ each week.

† Money Mondays, a new full-color, irreverent and unique business section starting in the fall that Ferro said will be “exponentially” bigger and will include CEO makeovers, industry hot lists, up-and-comer profiles, gadget gear, power lists and surprises — stories not found in traditional business sections.

Wrapports bought the alternative weekly Chicago Reader this week. A version of the Reader will be delivered with the Friday Sun-Times .

“You can get The Reader from Naperville to Lake Forest, and you can be cool again,” Ferro said.

In addition, the Sun-Times will publish a yearly book compiled from the popular “Game Face” full-color Sports page of Chicago sports fans.

The Sun-Times Foundation will be held at the Chicago Community Trust, and is backed by Wrapports board members, investors and civic leaders. The foundation will offer a matching-gifts program.

“Organizations can go online, or people can feature or talk about an organization, and we’ll be matching the organization’s needs,” Ferro said, noting that the investment is part of the Sun-Times’ mantra of being credible, colorful and charitable.

Wrapports executives have said the company will invest in companies that provide content that can be shared across platforms, such as the live-streaming service High School Cube.

Sun-Times Media publishes six suburban dailies in the Chicago area, a three-times-a-week paper and 32 weekly titles under the banner of the Pioneer Press.



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