There’s plenty of room at the top of the Tribune. Gerould Kern, who replaced Ann Marie Lipinski when she resigned last month as editor, announced Friday that this was the last day for, among others, managing editor/news Hanke Gratteau, public editor Timothy McNulty, and Washington bureau chief Michael Tackett, all of whom had “expressed a desire to leave as part of the newsroom’s reduction in force.”

Ahead, said Kern in a memo to his staff, “we still must make some additional involuntary reductions. We now are in the process of evaluating the scope of these reductions. Nothing about this is easy, but it is necessary.”

What may have been McNulty’s last column ran in the Friday Tribune under the headline “From the past to the future.” McNulty reminisced about covering China when it first opened a crack to the West about 30 years ago. “Not to minimize current problems of human rights, restricted Internet access and press freedom,” McNulty writes, “the openness of China today is almost impossible to comprehend.” Back then, “the ‘news’ that people really trusted was word on the street. Unofficial rumors had much more currency than anything the government-run media claimed.” 

It’s not just China that’s changed almost incomprehensibly. The Tribune of that day was a great, rich, confident newspaper.