Robservations: Cinema/Chicago to honor WGN’s Dean Richards

Dean Richards

Robservations on the media beat:

Dean Richards, longtime entertainment reporter and critic for Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 and WGN AM 720, will be honored next week at the 53rd Chicago International Television Festival. Richards will receive Cinema/Chicago’s prestigious Chicago Award for his career achievements. “Since the founding of the Chicago International Film Festival, we have always saluted the extraordinary talent of those producing content for television,” festival founder Michael Kutza said in a statement, calling Richards “a trusted resource for those seeking entertainment reviews and interviews that go beyond the superficial.” The award will be presented March 23 at AMC River East, 322 East Illinois Street. Also honored at the event will be famed commercial producer Joe Sedelmaier with the Chicago Legend Award, and Amazon Studios with the Commitment to Excellence in Television Production Award. Continue reading

Former Sun-Times publisher named Canadian diplomat here

John Cruickshank

John Cruickshank, the Canadian journalist and media executive who earned respect and trust during seven years as an editor and publisher of the Sun-Times, is returning to Chicago as a diplomat for his country.

Cruickshank, 63, has been named consul general of Canada in Chicago. The Midwest consulate covers Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Northwest Indiana and the Kansas City metropolitan area. He will assume the post in mid-April. Continue reading

Robservations: It’s 50 years and farewell for ABC 7’s Frank Mathie

Frank Mathie

Robservations on the media beat:

Sure and begorrah, we’ll be seeing the great Frank Mathie, 75, reporting from Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade at noon Saturday on WLS-Channel 7. The live broadcast will also be a kickoff to “50 Years of Frank,” a celebration of Mathie’s remarkable career on the ABC-owned station. The dean of “Eyewitness News” officially retired in 2006, but he’s continued as a freelance feature contributor since then. On April 3 — 50 years to the day after he started — he’ll sign off for good. Said Mathie: “A half-century doing the stories I love. What a lucky guy!” Continue reading

Former Crain’s publisher to run employment nonprofit

David Snyder

Former Crain’s Chicago Business publisher David Snyder, who spent 33 years building his personal equity with the city’s business community, is setting his sights on the challenge of reducing violence and unemployment in Chicago.

Snyder, 55, has been named chief operating officer of Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny), a nonprofit initiative launched by Emerson Collective and headed by Arne Duncan, the former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Chicago Public Schools chief. Continue reading

Ricketts buys parent company of Chicagoist to merge with DNAinfo

Joe Ricketts will become the official blog of DNAinfo Chicago under a deal announced Wednesday between the parent companies of the two hyperlocal news sites.

DNAinfo, the digital news operation founded by billionaire Joe Ricketts and based in New York and Chicago, has acquired Gothamist LLC, the network of news sites in New York (Gothamist), Chicago (Chicagoist), Los Angeles (LAist), San Francisco (SFist), and Washington, D.C. (DCist). Continue reading

Robservations: Is Us Weekly in tronc’s future?

Us Weekly

Robservations on the media beat:

Michael Ferro

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. Continue reading

Robservations: Crain’s adds column by BGA’s Andy Shaw

Andy Shaw

Robservations on the media beat:

Andy Shaw, the veteran journalist who heads the Better Government Association, has been named a contributing columnist to Crain’s Chicago Business. Starting Monday, Shaw’s column will alternate every other week with Rich Miller, editor and publisher of Capitol Fax, on the business weekly’s politics-focused Page 2. “Andy and I have talked over the years on how to cement a better partnership,” said Crain’s editor Michael Arndt. “Now that he’s got a different crew there [under director of investigations Bob Secter], it’s coming together pretty smartly.” Shaw joined the BGA as executive director in 2009 and was named president and CEO in 2011. A former political reporter for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, Shaw had been writing for the Sun-Times, which recently reduced the frequency of his column from weekly to monthly. The Sun-Times is expected to continue to work with the watchdog organization’s investigators on stories. Continue reading

WGN adds 6 p.m. newscast; teams Bradley & Duarte at 4 p.m.

Ben Bradley and Lourdes Duarte

WGN-Channel 9 will move a step closer to around-the-clock news with the launch next month of a one-hour newscast at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, the Tribune Broadcasting station announced Thursday.

The addition will bring “Chicago’s Very Own” to a record 70½ hours of news each week, plus news produced throughout the day for its CLTV cable channel. Continue reading

NBC 5’s Rob Stafford taking leave for bone marrow transplant

Rob Stafford

Rob Stafford, veteran broadcast journalist and principal news anchor at WMAQ-Channel 5, said Wednesday he will undergo a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy to treat a rare blood disorder. “My prognosis is very good,” he said.

Stafford, 58, told colleagues at the NBC-owned station he will be treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for amyloidosis, an incurable condition that has affected his kidneys. Continue reading