The newspaper business has been saved! Yesterday, it appears the long-flagging Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, and our dear South Florida Sun-Sentinel, formally vanished from the earth. Tribune was, until yesterday, a publishing company designed for yesteryear, a print-media behemoth spiraling toward irrelevance. But no more!
Tribune is gone. In its stead, we now have "tronc." Really.
In what might still be a Silicon Valley-style practical joke, the Tribune company announced via press release late yesterday that it had changed its name to tronc, which apparently stands for "tribune online content." (The acronym still sounds close to "trunk," as in, "Your main product is still made from tree trunks," but I digress.) tronc is apparently always written with a lower-case "T," because it's that cool.
The name change comes along with the sort of "corporate re-branding" that is all the rage with old-world media conglomerates these days. Per Tribune's press release yesterday:
Tribune Publishing Co. (NYSE:TPUB) today announced that the Company will change its name to tronc, Inc., a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels. tronc, or tribune online content, captures the essence of the Company’s mission. tronc pools the Company’s leading media brands and leverages innovative technology to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to its 60 million monthly users. The name change will become effective on June 20, 2016.
For anyone who regularly reads Tribune papers, the rest of the press release seems next-level bonkers. Recently minted Tribune chairman Michael Ferro, who is actively fighting to avoid being taken over by rival publishing giant Gannett, said the company is looking to focus on "machine learning" and computer algorithms in order to save the publishing industry. (No word on how many human jobs will remain at tronc in the future.)
“Our industry requires an innovative approach and a fundamentally different way of operating," Ferro said in the release. "Our transformation strategy – which has attracted over $114 million in growth capital – is focused on leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the user experience and better monetize our world-class content in order to deliver personalized content to our 60 million monthly users and drive value for all of our stakeholders. Our rebranding to tronc represents the manner in which we will pool our technology and content resources to execute on our strategy.”
In addition, the company has added Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles surgeon, investor, billionaire, and person-with-no-apparent-media-experience, to its board. tronc will also transition from the New York Stock Exchange to the NASDAQ in an effort to further cement itself as some kind of new-world technology brand. The word "journalism" appears exactly once in the press release, nine paragraphs in.
No word yet on how this might affect the Sun-Sentinel, but it appears there will probably be some big changes afoot over there soon.
Apparently, we'll hear about any new updates over at tronc.com, which purports to be "a visual content portal that will curate tronc’s premium content across all of its award-winning brands in one convenient place."
This is probably a good time to announce that New Times' parent company, Voice Media Group, has also changed its name to "VoMeGo," in an effort to create a content-distribution company that can actively time-travel.
Update: Perhaps unsurprisingly, tronc memes overloaded Twitter in the last 24 hours. Here are some of our favorites:
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The New Tronc Times— BGrueskin (@BGrueskin) June 2, 2016
The Wall Tronc Journal
Columbia Graduate School of Troncalism
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Hello beautiful people I hope you all have lovely weekends with people you love and remember not to get too tronc— Winston ¯\_|°—°|_/¯ (@suchwinston) June 3, 2016