Cheryl Corley, Greg Kot win Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Awards

Cheryl Corley and Greg Kot

Cheryl Corley, Chicago-based correspondent for NPR, and Greg Kot, former music critic for the Chicago Tribune, have been named recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Chicago Headline Club.

The two will be honored at this year’s Peter Lisagor Awards virtual ceremony May 14. Presenting the awards will be Headline Club president Madhu Krishnamurthy and president-elect Amanda Vinicky. Continue reading

Former Fox News anchor Leland Vittert joins NewsNation

Leland Vittert

Leland Vittert, a former weekend anchor, reporter and foreign correspondent for Fox News, has landed at NewsNation, Nexstar Media Group’s Chicago-based cable news network, as an anchor/correspondent.

He is expected be part of the anchor lineup for a morning news show to launch later this year. According to insiders, he is likely to team with Adrienne Bankert, who recently was hired from ABC News. Continue reading

Robservations: John Kass walks back ‘enemy of the people’ blast at media

John Kass

Robservations on the media beat:

Rebuked by his colleagues for promoting a tweet that referred to the media as “the enemy of the people,” Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass now says he shouldn’t have done it. As reported here last week Kass retweeted a comment from Tom Bevan, co-founder of RealClearPolitics, that included the slur on his profession along with a headline about victims of police shootings. Among the first to chastise Kass was Chicago Tribune Guild president Greg Pratt, who said such talk “puts reporters, editors and photographers in actual danger and diminishes newsrooms everywhere, including the Tribune.” On his WGN Radio podcast “The Chicago Way” Saturday, Kass said: “But I don’t want to believe that journalism and journalists are the enemy of the people. I want to believe that journalists bring light to chaos, order, reason. And despite the suggestion of some, I don’t want journalists subjected to violence.” (Here is the link.) “But there were other ways for me to make a point about the dangerous and willful lack of context in headlines. I should not have retweeted a political slogan. In my heart I wasn’t endorsing the idea that media is the enemy of the people. Is retweet an endorsement? I was angry at the irresponsible headlines. But I did it, and got hammered for it, and lesson learned.” The podcast was transcribed and first reported by journalist John Greenfield, who monitors the columnist on his Kass Watch Twitter account. Continue reading

Weigel expands memorable entertainment menu with ‘MeTV Plus’

MeTV Plus

Weigel Broadcasting is about to launch a new 24/7 digital network to extend the brand and expand the audience of MeTV, its “Memorable Entertainment Television” franchise of classic programming.

Starting May 15 “MeTV Plus” will join the array of diginets programmed by the Chicago-based station owner. Locally it will air on WCIU 26.5 — replacing Bounce TV, which is moving to a digital tier Ion WCPX-Channel 38. Continue reading

Robservations: Jenny Valliere joins The Mix as midday host, music director

Jenny Valliere

Robservations on the media beat:

Just in from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jenny Valliere has been hired as midday personality and music director at WTMX 101.9-FM, the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station. She succeeds Nikki Chuminatto, who shifted to Eric Ferguson’s morning show as a full-time contributor. Valliere most recently was program director, music director and afternoon host at KZIA in Cedar Rapids. “After an extensive nationwide search, we were pleased to find someone of Jenny’s talent right here in the Midwest,” Jeff England, vice president and market manager at Hubbard Radio Chicago, said in a statement. “The combination of programming and on-air experience will make for the perfect fit middays and serve as a great asset in the programming department.” A graduate of Mount Mercy University and part-time model, Valliere was crowned Miss Iowa USA 2018. Continue reading

Columnist Maudlyne Ihejirika to ‘pass the baton’ of Chicago media leadership

Maudlyne Ihejirika (Photo: Karen Kring)

Maudlyne Ihejirika, the prominent Sun-Times columnist and one of the most powerful women in Chicago journalism, has announced she’s stepping down as president of two influential professional organizations.

In relinquishing the top leadership roles with the Chicago Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter she has held since 2017, Ihejirika said she plans to concentrate on her “Chicago Chronicles” column for the Sun-Times. Continue reading

Springfield exhibit on ‘Music from Illinois’ remembers radio too

The State of Sound

An ambitious exhibition celebrating music from Illinois and the legendary musicians who made it — including a working radio studio available to DJs throughout the state — will open Friday in Springfield.

“The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois” will run through January 2022 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. (Here is the link.)

The immersive and interactive exhibit will take visitors through a recreated backstage area of a concert arena. Videos and instruments, memorabilia and personal items from scores of artists will be on display, spanning popular music from rhythm and blues singers, ’60s pop and “garage bands,” arena rockers of the ’70s and ’80s to country, jazz, modern day hip-hop, folk, alternative and more. Continue reading

Robservations: John Kass boosts ‘enemy of the people’ slur against media

John Kass

Robservations on the media beat:

John Kass retweet

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass must delight in alienating his co-workers. Just the other day he retweeted a comment from Tom Bevan, co-founder of the website RealClearPolitics, which referred to the media as “the enemy of the people.” Among those who called out Kass was Tribune reporter Greg Pratt, president of the Chicago Tribune Guild: “I expect better from @John_Kass than to elevate ‘enemy of the people’ rhetoric about journalists, but I guess I shouldn’t,” he tweeted. “It is language that puts reporters, editors and photographers in actual danger and diminishes newsrooms everywhere, including the Tribune.” Kass has been openly at odds with colleagues since last April when he came under fire for blasting media elites “doing just fine during the coronavirus shutdown” — days after Tribune Publishing furloughed hundreds of journalists. In July the Chicago Tribune Guild and the Anti-Defamation League accused him of invoking anti-Semitic tropes in a column about billionaire George Soros. Calling himself a victim of “cancel culture,” Kass said: “I will not soil my name by groveling to anyone in this or any other newsroom.” Continue reading