Will the Chicago Tribune Die in the Aftermath of the Bush Recession?

Okay, so take some points away from me for sensational headlines.

But, still, the Chicago Tribune, the only newspaper I faithfully subscribed to at the University of Notre Dame in the 80s, remains in trouble.

From the SUN-TIMES:

The Tribune Co.’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy has unraveled in the wake of an independent report concluding that talks leading up to the company’s 2007 leveraged buyout bordered on fraud, attorneys said Friday.

The report released last month by a court-appointed examiner forced Tribune and its creditors to rethink a settlement agreement that formed the basis of its reorganization plan.

Under Tribune’s plan, JPMorgan Chase and distressed-debt specialist Angelo, Gordon & Co. would have been among the new owners of the company’s media properties, which include the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, other daily newspapers and 20 broadcast stations.

But attorneys told Delaware bankruptcy judge Kevin Carey on Friday that JPMorgan and Angelo Gordon had dropped out of the agreement, and that talks on a consensual reorganization plan had broken down.

"The debtor has tried mightily to bring the parties together," Tribune attorney James Conlan. "That has not happened."

Conlan also confirmed that Tribune had not been party to separate negotiations among its creditors.

The Tribune Co. sent a memo to employees saying the restructuring plan “is moving more slowly and has become noisier than we had hoped.” The memo, signed by Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels and Chief Operating Officer Gerry Spector, noted that all of the Tribune Co.’s media businesses are profitable, and that the company’s monthly operating report for July will show that its financial results are strong.

The memo thanked employees for their creativity, innovation and dedication, and urged them not to get distracted.

Look: I hope the paper survives. And I hope the news industry finally gets the guts to lock down its online content for subscribers only. Free online content is the killer, right now.

I hated it when the Pittsburgh Press went under. I really did. Even though I delivered the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from age 13 through the end of high school.

Competition is good. Competition is healthy. And I don’t want to be left with just one news company for the Chicagoland area.

But then, if they all go under, we’ll always have ENEWSPF.

I’m just sayin’.