Robservations on the media beat:
The Daily Herald is losing one of its brightest stars. Columnist and senior writer Kerry Lester has applied for a buyout and is stepping down to pursue “other opportunities in and outside the news business.” Among them will be a Ph.D. in politics and media. Except for a two-year run as Springfield bureau chief of the Associated Press, Lester has been with the Daily Herald since she started as an editorial assistant in 2006. She also served as political editor and education reporter. “The paper’s a place where I cut my teeth, and as a suburban native, something that will always have a piece of my heart,” Lester told Facebook friends Monday. “Thanks so much for reading, and for all of your tips and insights.” Earlier this year she was cited here as one of the most powerful women in Chicago journalism.
Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper has returned to “Windy City Live,” the weekday afternoon talk and entertainment show on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. He previously contributed movie reviews to the show before his recently-ended two-year stint as co-host of “Good Day Chicago” on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. “I’m so excited to be back home with my ‘Windy City Live’ family,” Roeper said. “When I arrived on Friday, it was so great to see so many old friends, in front of the camera and behind the scenes. And we hit the ground running with my first batch of movie reviews.” Noting this marks his sixth time working at 190 North State Street, he recalled: “I had three different radio gigs on WLS, my prior stint with ‘WCL,’ and of course it was for many years the home of ‘Ebert & Roeper.'”
Reporter Hilda Gutiérrez has been hired to lead a second investigative unit at Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44. She joins the Spanish-language station from Estrella TV’s KRCA in Los Angeles, where she was weekend news anchor and special assignments reporter for seven years. In her new role, Gutiérrez also will work with NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 on joint investigative projects. Diana Maldonado, vice president of news operations for Telemundo Chicago, said in a statement: “With an already successful [consumer] investigative unit, Telemundo Chicago Responde, we believe Telemundo Chicago Investiga will enable us to further serve issues throughout the Chicago area’s Spanish-speaking communities that have often gone overlooked.”
Colleagues are saluting Bob Oswald, former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News, whose position was among those eliminated last week when the newspaper cut its frequency from daily to three days a week. Oswald finished out the week even after he learned he’d been laid off. Phil Jurik, Chicago Tribune suburban news group editor, wrote in an email to staff: “Like the other dedicated folks we lost recently, Bob stayed at this work, not for the lavish financial rewards, but because he loved it and believed in making his time here count. Right up until the last hours, he understood how special that commitment was. We will miss all these folks, their contributions and their personalities. But their deeply held passion for the work — embodied in Bob’s example and others — I hope to carry with me.”
Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!” will headline the next installment of the Wednesday Journal Conversations series at 7 p.m. Monday. Veteran journalist and fellow Oak Parker Charlie Meyerson, founder of the daily email news update Chicago Public Square, will moderate the event at the Performing Arts Center of Dominican University, 7900 Division Street, River Forest. Tickets are $25 and available at OakPark.com/sagal.
Monday’s best comment: John McHugh: This is probably the most poorly written opening of a staff reduction release I’ve ever read: “We are resetting our business goals in order to best serve our fans.” Are they lowering their goals? Certainly, they’re not raising them. Those laid off will have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m better served. Huh?