A brighter Sun-Times in 2012

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Editor in Chief John Barron stands in the Sun-Times newsroom. (Photo by Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times)

The corks are all popped. The noisemakers have stopped. The new year has dropped.

At the Chicago Sun-Times and Sun-Times Media, we’ve made it through. And we’ve brought with us what may be the most important ticket into 2012: Optimism.

As you know, we’ve had quite a ride here over the last several years. Our road has evolved from blocked to bumpy. Now it looks to be smoothing and straightening on several fronts – thanks to the hard, challenging work of everyone here.

Last year, we experienced two major milestones. Tragedy and triumph came within a month of each other as we witnessed the passing of Jim Tyree (who led an investor group in purchasing us in 2009) and the winning of the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Both were big news stories, but there were also many other positive developments happening at this organization that are worth mentioning as we enter the new year.

Among the reasons we’re optimistic:

†We continue to attract and retain new audiences. The work of our journalists is now available on six different platforms, only one of which is ink on paper. We are reaching more people than ever before … and they are of all ages. And we love how our interactive engagement with readers continues to grow.

†Our excellent mobile app, launched in the fall, has exceeded all expectations. Tens of thousands of you have downloaded it already with many more clicking on it every week.

†A few months ago, we teamed with the Tribune Co. to handle the production and packaging of all of our print products. It was a smart and efficient business decision that also has given us improved quality, greater flexibility and increased the availability of color reproduction for readers and advertisers.

†Most importantly, we’re excited about our new owners. In a deal finalized on Christmas Day, Sun-Times Media was purchased by Wrapports LLC. Under Chairman Michael Ferro and our new CEO Timothy Knight, we are now being stewarded by a team of local investors whose ranks include not only media- and tech-savvy vets but also some of the biggest names in Chicago. Their vision is firmly fixed on a future that is both innovative and expansive.

Ultimately, we know that we couldn’t be where we are without you. We want to thank you – our readers and our customers – for your interest, your loyalty and your confidence.

We’re very optimistic we’ll continue to earn it.

Happy New Year!

John Barron is the publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times.

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