Chicago Tribune Launches Graphics Service

The launch of the Chicago Tribune Graphics Service [CTGS] provided an opportunity to learn about customer service and satisfaction.  With real money on the line and a desire to grow the number of clients, thinking beyond the Tribune’s own graphics propelled me into a touch of entrepreneurial journalism. It was my first “start-up” experience.

The graphic service is sold to daily newspapers across the country. The graphics all are illustrations that appeared in the Tribune, They are sold  through the Tribune Company Syndicate lnc. (formerly the Chicago Tribune-New York News).

Each week we would select 12 to 20 graphics that would be printed on slick paper that aided reproduction and express mailed to clients. In the first nine months of the service, the newspaper and the syndicate split $60,000 in revenue [$150,000 in 2013].

The in-house publication of the Tribune, the Little Trib, did a nice story about the CTGS.  I liked how they named the graphics desk staff.

But the early success came from hard work — from all those involved in the service: in the city newsroom, Finberg, Kathleen Naureckas, day graphics coordinator, and Marty Fischer, night graphics  coordinator, now had to consider not only which graphics would be best for the Tribune, but also be alert to which graphics should go into the package to subscribers.

Editor’s note: The timeline entry is taken from an article published in September, 1981. The timeline date refers to the launch of CTGS.