Sun-Times brings back Richard Roeper’s column; new role for Mark Brown

Richard Roeper (Photo: Windy City Live/ABC 7)

Richard Roeper is returning to the pages of the Sun-Times as a news columnist while continuing to serve as the newspaper’s film critic. His general-interest column will appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to his weekly output of movie reviews.

Roeper’s expanded role was part of a realignment of columnists announced to the staff Thursday by Chris Fusco, editor in chief of the Sun-Times.

“Rich is a great face of the brand,” Fusco said in an interview. “He’s got a national reputation as a great movie critic, but his career began as a news columnist. Having him back in that mix is great news for our readers and great news for Chicago.”

Roeper, who began as a freelance writer for the Sun-Times in 1982 and was named a full-time columnist in 1987, shifted to film critic following the death of Roger Ebert in 2013. The two hosted the nationally syndicated movie-review show “Ebert & Roeper” from 2000 to 2008.

Mark Brown

Fusco also announced a new role for columnist Mark Brown, who has been writing four days a week. Now he’ll focus exclusively on news and analysis about politics. When it does appear, Brown’s column will be branded “Political Matters.”

“This is a natural fit, given the nature of Mark’s column to begin with,” Fusco said. “We’re unshackling him when he has a bigger story that he wants to do and freeing him to work with other reporters. He’ll be doing different kinds of things, but you’ll still see his face in the paper.”

Brown joined the Sun-Times as a reporter in 1982 and has been writing a column since 2000.

In other moves, Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet’s column will be branded “D.C. Decoder,” and investigative reporter Dan Mihalopoulos’s column will be branded “Inside Chicagoland,” according to Fusco.

“We’re shifting things up here in the interest of trying to bolster our political coverage in a very important election year at all levels of government,” Fusco said.

Thursday’s best comment: Thomas M. Shea: I wish I could convey in writing just how poor, disrespectful, and inaccurately bad Willl Ferrell’s impression of Harrry Caray is/was. Didn’t look, sound, or act like him. Harry never wore his hair like a fright wig and didn’t do non-sequiturs.