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Tribune Publishing rebrands itself as 'tronc,' internet goes bananas

Written by
Clayton Guse

Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and eight other major daily newspapers, announced today that it is changing its name to—wait for it—tronc. 

The name is, well, an incredibly strange choice, and is meant to be a diminutive of "tribune online content." The move comes after a Tribune Publishing shareholder meeting on Thursday that's drawn a lot of buzz since Gannett (parent company of USA Today) offered to purchase the company in cash at a 99 percent premium—an offer that was met by a war of words between the Virginia-based media giant and Tribune Publishing's non-executive chairman Michael Ferro. The rebranding suggests the deal is all but dead in the water.

Ferro, who is the former chairman and CEO of Wrapports (the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader), became Tribune Publishing's largest shareholder in February, and shortly later ousted the company's former CEO Jack Griffin and replaced him with longtime confidant Justin Dearborn. 

tronc, in case you're wondering, will begin trading on the NASDAQ on June 20, and will be a "content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels," according to the press release from the company. 

“Our industry requires an innovative approach and a fundamentally different way of operating," Ferro said in the statement. "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."

But what's more important than the implications that the move will have on newsrooms and publications across the country is how the internet reacted to the completely ridiculous name. The face of journalism might be changing, but at least everyone's able to laugh about it. 

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