Robservations on the media beat:
Donerail Group, a new investment firm led by former hedge fund executive Will Wyatt, is reported to be in “advanced negotiations” to acquire Chicago Tribune owner tronc. According to Reuters, Donerail Group has secured financing for the deal and could conclude an agreement later this month. Earlier the Tribune and Politico reported that tronc was weighing an offer from a private equity firm, but did not identify it. Aaron Miles, vice president of investor relations for tronc, told analysts on a conference call Thursday: “The company is aware that reports have been published about tronc being in discussions about a possible sale of the company. The company has a longstanding policy of not commenting on market rumors.” In addition to the Tribune, tronc owns the New York Daily News, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and papers in six other cities.
Reporter and occasional news anchor Emily Florez, who’s been on maternity leave from WMAQ-Channel 5 since the birth of her second child in February, won’t be coming back to work. After six years at the NBC-owned station, Florez has resigned to move back home to Salt Lake City, Utah, with her family. “Between being a working mom in a demanding career that I love, raising two precious kids, and having a husband with a heavy travel schedule, my family and I have decided to simplify,” she wrote on Facebook. “This has been no easy decision because in all reality we’ve made Chicago our home. I love the city and I LOVE my NBC Chicago family.” Said Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5: “We appreciate all that Emily has done for us, and wish Emily, Rey and their family all the best in the future.” Florez previously worked at CBS affiliates KUTV in Salt Lake City and KIDK in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Culminating a 40-year career at the Daily Herald, Tom Quinlan retired Friday as sports editor. A pillar of the newsroom, Quinlan started as a copy editor and held a variety of jobs including reporter, assistant news editor, assistant features editor, features editor, weekend editor, city editor and metro editor. “Every job was fun and challenging and I learned a lot from everyone I had the pleasure to work with here,” he wrote on Facebook. “It’s time to develop my dog-walking skills and enjoy more time with Susan and the kids. . . . Looking forward to reading the morning papers at a much more leisurely pace.”
Alex Parker has resigned as digital news editor at the Chicago Tribune to join a Chicago-based commercial real estate firm as research analyst. He previously worked as news editor of DNAinfo Chicago, web editor of the Chicago Reader and digital editor of the Journal-World in Lawrence, Kansas, where he began his journalism career as a general assignment and education reporter. “Being a journalist has taught me a lot about people, how good they can be and how awful they can be,” Parker tweeted. “It’s been a great career. I’m lucky to say I was a reporter.”
Friends and colleagues are mourning the passing of Christine Moran, a longtime Chicago radio personality and former instructor at Columbia College. Moran, whose given name was Christine Wallenberg, died of cancer Wednesday in Minneapolis. She was 63. The original evening host on classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM, Moran also worked for public radio WDCB 90.9-FM and WBEZ 91.5-FM, and the former WLUP, WAGO and Satellite Music Network. She most recently hosted middays at WMXE and WWQB in Charleston, West Virginia. A memorial service will be held September 8 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 3637 Golf Road, Evanston.
Friday’s comment of the day: Kate Kinser: Happy anniversary to Chicago’s fav forecaster! I used to see Tom Skilling shopping late at night at the 24-hour Dominick’s in Edgewater. He was unfailingly friendly, knew the names of the store employees and was a regular guy all the way around. What a mensch.