Chicago Tribune reporter Monica Eng is leaving newspaper journalism after 28 years to join Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5 FM as a producer and content provider. She starts at the public radio station Aug. 5.
Eng, 44, who most recently has been an investigative reporter specializing in food policy, nutrition, health, cooking, sustainability and consumer issues, joined the Tribune in 1996 after serving as entertainment editor of the Daily Southtown (now the SouthtownStar) and as a reporter and editorial assistant at the Sun-Times.
Her mentor was the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who encouraged her to study journalism at the University of Illinois and helped her land her first job as a copy clerk at the Sun-Times.
“Twenty-eight summers ago, I entered the Sun Times newsroom, fell in love with newspapers and thought I’d never leave,” said Eng, who started in 1985 — just days before her 16th birthday. “But the time seems right to branch out and learn new things and work with a radio station that I’ve been a big fan of for decades.”
At WBEZ Eng will be a producer and on-air content provider for a variety of programs, including “Morning Shift,” “Afternoon Shift” and “Worldview.” Her duties also are expected to include writing a blog for the station’s website.
It may not be easy to leave her print career behind: “I still love newspapers and wish all my colleagues and pals the best,” she told me. “I’ll probably be reading the Tribune more closely than ever in order to craft radio segments around the news. Plus, my significant other [national content editor Colin McMahon] remains at the Tribune. I imagine we will now be racing each other to the porch in the morning to see who gets to it first.
“I will miss newspaper writing, but it’s my understanding that I still may be doing some writing for the web at WBEZ, especially about food.”