Sun-Times can lead by Tyree's legacy

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Posted by Charlie on March 21, 2011 at 10:45:59:

Having lost its savior, Sun-Times Media's survival will hinge on how closely it can follow the example its chairman set right up until his death last week at age 53.

Everything Jim Tyree achieved in his too-short life was the residue of hard work, determination, smarts and, in the face of harsh realities, an unhesitating willingness to adjust.

A self-described poor, South Side kid, Tyree rose to the top of Chicago's Mesirow Financial investment firm as if he had no time to waste, quickly becoming one of this city's most successful business and philanthropic leaders.

Maybe it was the underdog in him that compelled him to recruit other local investors, such as Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, to rescue the struggling parent of the Chicago Sun-Times and other area publications from the brink of liquidation 17 months ago and keep this city a two-newspaper town.

Maybe it was because he had overcome two near-fatal bouts with diabetes, which nearly left him blind, that he could remain optimistic about the viability of a company that, on average, was bleeding $20 million in cash per quarter from 2006 to 2008 in an industry where traditional ad and circulation revenue streams have greatly eroded.

But it will have to be Tyree's legacy rather than his leadership that carries Sun-Times Media in the fight for its life.

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