Amidst the failed federal bailout and the ensuing stock market tumble, the media world had its own depressing contribution to today's news cycle. Tampa-based Creative Loafing, owners of the second largest alternative weekly chain in the country, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.

The move comes just more than a year after Creative Loafing's purchase of the highly regarded Washington City Paper and Chicago Reader. Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason counters suggestions his company may have overstretched by insisting the chain's failure to pay nearly $500,000 in interest payments and service fees, which contributed to the filing, “has little to do with the acquisition.”

Washington City Paper's Erik Wemple reports that the company has no immediate plans for “liquidation,” or layoffs, and that the move even has its sunny side: “Cuts to edit staffs at all the papers would be rolled back.”

Wemple goes on to report, however, that the chain will hereby follow a new editorial mandate that “stress[es] that all the papers should proceed with “Web-first” publishing strategies, in which writers and editors customize their content for the Internet and subsequently transfer that content into their print products.”

For some reason this sounds ominous. As good as putting LOL cats on the front page seems, take it from the L.A. Times — not the way to go.

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