Robservations on the media beat:
Jen Sabella resigned Thursday as deputy editor and director of social media at DNAinfo.com Chicago, the hyperlocal news source she helped start up in 2012. She’s joining The Onion in Chicago to work on a forthcoming website. “The last six years of my life have been pure magic thanks to the incredible team here, and watching the site become such a vital part of the Chicago media landscape has been incredible,” she told colleagues. Shamus Toomey, managing editor of DNAinfo, praised Sabella as “an outstanding leader, confidante, defender, cheerleader, fighter, innovator and motivator — a true Chicago journalist.” A South Side native and Columbia College graduate, Sabella previously was Chicago editor of Huffington Post and a wire reporter at the Sun-Times. She twice was named among the most powerful women in Chicago journalism by this blog.
The parent company of the Sun-Times announced the hiring Thursday of a chief operating officer. Nykia Wright, an Atlanta native and graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with an MBA from Dartmouth College, has been a financial analyst and consultant for companies in Chicago, Atlanta and London. In her new role, she will oversee circulation, information technology and finance departments for Sun-Times Media. “We are very happy to welcome Nykia Wright to our team,” CEO Edwin Eisendrath said in a statement. “She brings much needed financial and operational savvy, and relevant experience helping organizations plan and implement change.”
Another national honor came this week to Jamie Kalven, the independent journalist famed for exposing corruption in the Chicago Police Department. Editor & Publisher bestowed a 2017 Eppy Award for best investigative/enterprise feature on “Code of Silence,” Kalven’s 20,000-word, four-part investigation about two Chicago police officers who uncovered a massive criminal enterprise in the department. It was published in 2016 by The Intercept, which won the Eppy Award for best news website. Kalven and his Invisible Institute also broke the story of Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old African American fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in 2014.
The November sweep got underway Thursday, with some Chicago TV execs happy to close the book on October. NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 lost as much as one-third of its 10 p.m. news ratings in the 25-to-54 demographic, thanks in part to five Cubs games and two Bears games that siphoned away viewers. ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 won the late-news race with a 6.3 rating (218,169 households) and 11.5 percent share. In the 25-to-54 demo, ABC 7 led with a 2.5 rating and 7.1 share.
Thursday’s best comment: Stan Williams: One may or may not care for her news-reading skills, but true Chicago sports fans will always recall and appreciate Ms. Burton for her tenure (1982-1985) when she was one of the Honey Bears back in the day when the Bears had cheerleaders.