Robservations on the media beat:
“Local stays local,” tweeted WGN news anchor Ben Bradley, minutes after my story broke Thursday about the sale of Paddock Publications, owner of the Daily Herald. In converting the company fully to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, the fourth-generation descendants of founder Hosea C. Paddock assured that the newspaper would remain under local control for the foreseeable future. The same could be said of the day’s other big media news — the appointment of Windy City Times founder Tracy Baim as publisher of the Chicago Reader under the new ownership of a local investment group. To borrow the phrase of Doug Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of Daily Herald Media Group, it was a “win-win situation” for the companies and employees in both cases. And that’s rare these days.
Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 was taking heat over the use of one word in a report on its 9 p.m. newscast Wednesday. In a story about Cardinal Blase Cupich’s private meeting with diocese priests at Mundelein Seminary, where they discussed sexual abuse issues, reporter Rafer Weigel referred to the priests as Cupich’s “henchmen.” Complaints from viewers prompted Fox 32 to delete the video from its website. The text of the story online included this followup: “An earlier version of this report used the word ‘henchmen’ in reference to priests. This has been updated.” Other than that, no comment all around.
The Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will host its 2018 Emmy Awards nominations party September 24 at Hubbard Inn, 110 West Hubbard Street. The event will be hosted by news anchor Joe Donlon and entertainment reporter Dean Richards of Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. Facebook Live coverage will stream at facebook.com/emmyschicago. It’s a run-up to the 60th annual regional Emmy ceremony November 10 at the Chicago Marriott, 540 North Michigan Avenue.
Tom Joyner greeted news of his return to Chicago radio with excitement Thursday. Starting Monday, his syndicated morning show will air from 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays on Future Vision Entertainment’s new “95.1 FM Clubsteppin’.” The legendary “Fly Jock” and Radio Hall of Famer has been off the air here since June 2017. “I told you I’d be back home, Chicago!” Joyner said in a statement. “I’m excited to return to the airwaves in the Chi and I’m looking forward to partying with a purpose along with Chicago homies Sybil Wilkes every weekday morning and Damon Williams on Tuesdays and Fridays. Thank you for welcoming us back and I promise to deliver the same kind of big laughs, great music, and uplifting and informative content as we always have, along with some new funny and empowering voices!”
It’s been a week of well-deserved accolades and tributes for Jennifer Lyons, whose last day is Friday as news director of Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 and CLTV. She’s leaving after nearly 25 years at “Chicago’s Very Own” to pursue a more spiritual calling. As vice president of communications and external relations for Catholic Extension, she’ll help spread the word about the Chicago-based fundraising organization that supports and strengthens poor mission dioceses nationwide. No word yet on a successor at WGN. It’s a huge loss for the station, where Lyons was admired as much for her decency and compassion as for her superb management skills. It’s also a huge loss for Chicago journalism, which bids farewell and thanks to the most powerful woman in the business.
With the appointment of longtime media executive Zena Burns as senior vice president of strategic marketing and brand development, Futuri Media announced plans Thursday to open a new office in Chicago. The Cleveland-based firm specializes in audience engagement and sales technology to drive audience and revenue growth for broadcasters. Burns founded the Chicago-based consulting agency Moxie Coalition after working as digital program director and senior vice president of programming partnerships at iHeartMedia. Earlier she was entertainment director of Teen People and managing editor of TeenPeople.com.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Harry M. Politis: No matter what your opinion of print journalism, it is exceedingly important to have three different daily newspapers serving the metropolitan area. It’s heartening to note that, for the most part, all three newspapers do a decent job serving their respective audiences.