Robservations on the media beat:
It’s the end of an era for Catalyst Chicago, the highly influential journal on public education and school reform. This week marks its final edition as a print publication. After 25 years of award-winning reporting, it’s merging with The Chicago Reporter, the investigative news organization focusing on race, poverty and income inequality. Both are funded by the non-profit Community Renewal Society. Once the merger is complete in 2017, the Catalyst brand will be retired, according to a statement from the organization, which added: “Thank you all for reading and supporting Catalyst over the years.” The move coincides with the retirement of veteran journalist Linda Lenz, the founder and publisher of Catalyst Chicago.
Reboot Illinois, the political journalism website and daily newsletter, announced a partnership this week with PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking initiative launched by Poynter Institute’s Tampa Bay Times. “Our partnership with PolitiFact is a tremendous affirmation of the work we’ve done,” Madeleine Doubek, publisher of Reboot Illinois, said in a statement. “It’s also an incredible opportunity to help Illinoisans cut through the rhetoric, spin and double talk that clutters the internet, our airwaves and our conversations.” PolitiFact Illinois will research and rate newsworthy claims and assertions made by politicians, public figures and pundits, and post results on the Reboot Illinois website.
George Blaise will host a special edition of “26 N. Halsted,” the weekly public-affairs talk show on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26. The first in a series on law enforcement and the community, it will focus on gun violence, police shootings and the rampage in Dallas. Guests will include retired Chicago cop Marco Johnson, founder of Stomping Out Drugs, and Frank Chapman, field organizer for Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Blaise called the series an effort to “gain deeper understanding of what is really happening out here in hopes of finding a path toward constructive solutions that will truly benefit everyone involved.” It will air at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday on The U.
Dan Schmidt, president and CEO of Window to the World Communications, this week marks his 25th year at the parent company of public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical music WFMT FM 98.7. Schmidt signed on as senior vice president for radio in July 1991 after 12 years at Minnesota Public Radio, where he headed a five-station group. He succeeded Bill McCarter as CEO of WTTW in 1998. Schmidt’s father, Karl Schmidt, hosted and produced radio dramas for Wisconsin Public Radio for more than 70 years until his death last April at 93.
Onboard as features editor of Chicago magazine is David McAninch, former deputy editor and editor-at-large at Saveur magazine, and former assistant managing editor at National Geographic Adventure. He also was contributing editor for Rodale’s Organic Life and wrote features for the New York Times’ travel and city sections. At Chicago, McAninch replaced David Bernstein, who accepted a buyout at the end of 2015 after nearly 10 years as features editor.
Third-generation Chicago foodie Elana Schulman, daughter of Eli’s Cheesecake czars Marc and Maureen Schulman, is making her mark as supervising producer for Munchies, Vice Media’s food-centric digital channel. A graduate of Francis W. Parker High School and Vassar College, she recently won a 2016 James Beard Award for producing the on-location webcast “The Sushi Chef: Oona Tempest and Toshio Oguma.” Closer to home Schulman also served up “The Pizza Show: Chicago.”
Cow and bull story: No one will ever confuse Mancow Muller with Ernest Hemingway, but there was Chicago radio’s cheerful vulgarian (as Roger Ebert once called him) among the crowds last weekend in Pamplona, Spain. Decked out in traditional red and white garb, Mancow attended Pamplona’s annual Festival of San Fermin and said he ran with the bulls. “My level of fear was beyond anything I’ve experienced,” he said, claiming that he “saw people killed right by me.” (According to news reports, 11 runners were gored and there were no fatalities, but Mancow said he stands by his eyewitness account.) By midweek, the hearty adventurer was back home, safe and sound, hosting his morning show on Cumulus Media classic rock WLUP FM 97.9.