People often doubt the traditional media, but we are out asking questions, developing sources of information and interacting with the participants. What are these bloggers doing? I’m fortunate on some level to be getting close to retirement because if these blogs are credible sources of information, there’s no point in spending all the time on the road that I do.Sam Smith, Chicago Tribune, February 17, 2007.

Alas, fans of trade rumors / eviscerations of the blogosphere will no longer have Sam to kick around, at least not according to Smith’s colleague’s Phil Rosenthal (link taken from Blog-a-Bull) :

Business columnist Bill Barnhart, real estate columnist Mary Umberger, City Hall reporter Gary Washburn, travel writer Alan Solomon and basketball expert Sam Smith are among 25 veteran Chicago Tribune writers and editors to take voluntary buyouts, costing the newsroom centuries of experience but sparing it further layoffs in this round of cutbacks.

The exits are part of a plan announced in February to eliminate about 100 jobs throughout the paper, or about 3.5 percent of its overall workforce, as parent Tribune Co. responds to revenue declines by shedding at least 400 or 500 positions by the end of this month.

While the Tribune sports deparment prepares to do more with less, much like Matt at Blog-A-Bull, I’d relish the opportunity to continue reading (and cutting and pasting) Smith’s stuff, particularly if he found a new gig working in the very medium he’s disparaged.