Robservations on the media beat:
A spokeswoman for tronc declined to comment on a report Tuesday that the parent company of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times was “closing in” on a deal to buy Us Weekly, the celebrity news and gossip magazine, from Jann Wenner. “Tronc chairman Michael Ferro [believes] the acquisition will move tronc toward becoming a major player in the celebrity news business and add both to its digital earnings and its digital transformation credibility,” industry analyst Ken Doctor reported, adding: “The celebrity/entertainment allure serves as a constant in tronc’s short history.” If Ferro does land Us Weekly, here’s betting he taps Susanna Homan, his hand-picked editor and publisher of Chicago magazine and Splash, for a major role.
Tim Knight, who’s back in Chicago and reunited with Michael Ferro as president of troncX, the digital business division of tronc, will be paid a base salary of $600,000, according to a company filing last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Knight also is eligible to receive an annual cash bonus “with a target of 100% of base salary,” and an additional $262,500 for relocation expenses. Knight previously served as chief executive officer of Sun-Times parent company Wrapports under Ferro. He left in 2015 — shortly before Ferro crossed over to Tribune Publishing (now tronc) — and spent 18 months overseeing cleveland.com and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Dan McCaleb, an editor with Shaw Media since 2004, has joined Illinois News Network as news director of ILNews.org. He’ll be responsible for creating and curating content for the website and working with reporters and editors statewide on news and enterprise reporting. McCaleb succeeds Lori Browning, who resigned last year. He most recently was editorial director of Shaw Media’s newspapers in Illinois and Iowa, and executive editor of the Northwest Herald, the company’s McHenry County flagship in Crystal Lake.
The most talked-about story of the week was Chicago writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s heartbreaking New York Times essay headlined: You May Want to Marry My Husband. Rosenthal, 51, who is in hospice care with ovarian cancer, shared with the world why she fell in love with her husband Jason and why she hopes someone will fill the void she will leave behind. It has since gone viral. The author of dozens of children’s books and several memoirs, Rosenthal also was a host at Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5 and a fellow contributor to the Vocalo blogs.
Kenny McReynolds, veteran sports anchor at Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26, will host “Learning to Win,” profiling 15 Chicago area high school teachers who inspire and motivate their students. Airing at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on The U, the 30-minute special features segments that originally aired during the past year’s “Game of the Week” football and basketball broadcasts. It’s produced by Chris Cangilla and Fred Weintraub.