Longtime Springfield journalist Matt Dietrich is out as editor of Reboot Illinois, the website and subscription newsletter covering state and local government and politics.
The elimination of Dietrich’s position coincided with the ouster of Madeleine Doubek as publisher, and Cathy Rockwell as vice president of revenue strategy. All three moves were believed to be tied to changes in the operation of Reboot Illinois, including the elimination of original content in favor of news aggregation and links to other sites.
Sources said the entire editorial staff now consists of one full-time staff writer, Kevin Hoffman, and one part-time staff writer, Marc Filippino. Madison Bondi continues as director of social media.
AFK Media Group, a Chicago-based investor group headed by Anthony Knierim, took over Reboot Illinois last year from Anne Dias, the hedge fund manager (and ex-wife of billionaire Ken Griffin), who bankrolled the startup in 2012. The shift to a paid subscription model last December stymied future growth.
Knierim did not respond to requests for comment, but earlier released this statement: “We are going to continue our focus in delivering unique and meaningful experiences to our readers to help educate them further on the issues facing our state. We will continue to achieve this by innovating experiences on the newest mediums people use day to day.”
Dietrich, 53, said Thursday he’s looking forward to what’s next. “Obviously I’m disappointed because I really liked what I was doing at Reboot Illinois, but I’m also grateful for the opportunity I had to help build a media organization almost from scratch and I’m proud of Reboot’s many accomplishments,” he said.
“For now I’m taking on freelance work and looking for opportunities to use my writing, communication skills and knowledge of government. Ideally, I’d love to get a chance to remain part of the ever-dwindling Statehouse press corps.”
A graduate of Saint Louis University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dietrich was editorial page editor of the State Journal Register in Springfield, where he worked from 1990 to 2012.
As reported here last week, Doubek attributed her departure to the decision to investors “taking the business in a different direction.” Doubek joined Reboot Illinois after 27 years at the Daily Herald, where she rose from reporter to political editor to managing editor to executive editor/assistant vice president.