Sun-Times’ parent launching national mobile-first news app network

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The Chicago Sun-Times’ parent company, Wrapports LLC, is launching a new digital effort that will bring the work of some Sun-Times writers, as well as aggregated news and content, to localized websites and apps in 70 U.S. cities.

The new “mobile-first app network” will provide “national exposure to the paper’s award-winning entertainment, sports and political coverage,” according to a statement released by the company Tuesday.

The effort is designed to offer content in a manner similar to websites such as Deadspin and Buzzfeed, which aggregate news stories while offering additional commentary.

The online platform will launch Oct. 31 and will operate under a separate Wrapports brand called the Sun-Times Network. Users will be able to access the sites at SunTimes.com.

The network is the brainchild of Wrapports Chairman Michael Ferro, who completed a $14 million round of funding that included an investment from Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, the founder and chairman of Digicel, a wireless phone company.

“Michael Ferro will become chairman of the board of the Sun Times Network and spearhead this aggressive digital push,” Wrapports CEO Tim P. Knight said in a statement. “He deserves great credit for that leadership and for this innovation which begins an exciting new chapter for the Sun-Times brand.”

The Sun-Times Network will be led by CEO Tim Landon, who co-founded the websites CareerBuilder.com and Cars.com.

Work on the effort has been underway for roughly two years, according to those with knowledge of the company’s planning. The new company will hire an unspecified number of staffers to run the websites and apps.

The company has plans to expand to international markets in 2015.

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