What the tronc?
Tribune Publishing, the troubled owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun, announced Thursday it was trading its storied corporate name for "tronc Inc." -- short for Tribune online content.
The internet immediately began masterfully, mercilessly, making fun of the rebranding:
There's also the issue of the English meaning of "tronc" -- a box for collecting tips for staffers (typically at a restaurant or hotel) to split later -- which derives from the French word for "poor box."
Tribune Publishing, a media company with a nearly 170-year old legacy, has -- like most newspaper publishers -- been in tumult lately as advertising and circulation plunge.
Chicago tech mogul Michael Ferro invested in Tribune Publishing this year (he still holds shares in the rival Chicago Sun-Times.) Ferro swiftly installed a new CEO and became board chairman.
Since then, Ferro has fended off an $860 million offer from USA Today owner Gannett Publishing.
Ferro is said to be longtime friends with another major Tribune -- sorry, tronc -- investor, billionaire Los Angeles surgeon Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. Soon-Shiong was announced Thursday as the company's vice-chairman. He said he plans to speed tronc's transition from newspapers to online publishing with machine vision and artificial intelligence.
“We will benefit from Dr. Soon-Shiong’s entrepreneurial spirit and strong technology expertise as we aggressively implement the changes necessary to transform the company and create superior value,” Ferro said in a statement.
The company's statement on the rebranding -- a gobbledygook of buzzwords like "monetization" and "premium, verified content" -- also noted it would shift from the New York Stock Exchange to Nasdaq, where it will begin trading June 20.
Topping off the company's tone-deaf nonsense, the team behind the rebranding apparently forgot to check tronc-related social media accounts before the announcement: