Robservations on the media beat:
Remember Diann Burns? The former top news anchor for two Chicago stations says she’s ready to share what she knows with a new generation of broadcasters. Burns has joined David Bruner’s DB & Associates, a media talent agency based in central Pennsylvania. She’ll continue to live in Chicago. “We will be conducting talent seminars for budding journalists and professionals around the country, expanding on what I have done over the years,” Burns told me. “Right now, we are in the planning stages, and I am doing my best to try to make the series of road trips begin right here in my beloved Chicago.” A onetime reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer with a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Burns stepped down as news anchor in 2008 after five years at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and 18 years at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.
The good news is the Sun-Times is finally doing something about its appallingly bad website. The bad news is it won’t happen until sometime next year. On Thursday the Sun-Times announced that it has signed Vox Media’s Chorus to serve as publishing platform for its redesigned website. It’s the first newspaper publisher to affiliate with the digital media innovator behind such brands as The Verge, Vox, SB Nation, Eater, Polygon, Curbed and Recode. “It’s going to be cleaner, it’s going to be less clutter, it’s going to be less popups,” Sun-Times CEO Edwin Eisendrath was quoted as saying. “It’s going to be easier to get to the stories that people care about.”
Even before musicians from Lyric Opera of Chicago went on strike this week, they weren’t being heard on WFMT 98.7-FM. For the first time in years, the Window to the World Communications classical music station did not carry the opening night performance last Saturday. “Although Lyric would love to continue its opening night broadcasts, it has been unable to raise sponsorships to support them,” general director Anthony Freud said of the cancellation. “Lyric continues to explore new ways to increase access to its artform.” (The opening night broadcasts were cancelled in 2002-03 because of lack of funding, and resumed four years later.) WFMT continues to air a Lyric recital series at 7 p.m. on the first Sunday of the month.
Maria Zamudio, a reporter specializing in coverage of immigration and immigrant communities, has been hired at Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM. She previously worked for the Chicago Reporter, the Memphis Commercial Appeal and American Public Media. Zamudio will join reporters Natalie Moore and Odette Yousef on the race, class and communities desk. Also at WBEZ, Manuel Martinez has been added as a visual journalist on the digital enterprise team. He most recently was a photographer and videographer for Crain’s Chicago Business.
It’s been two years since David Snyder resigned as publisher of Crain’s Chicago Business, leaving the company without a top executive based here. Soon that may change. Detroit-based Crain Communications this week posted an opening for a publisher/executive editor at the business weekly publication and website. The job description includes creating “a column/blog or other way of exerting a ‘voice’ from the top.”
Thursday’s comment of the day: Hank DeZutter: Before broadcasting, Warner [Saunders] was a well-known teacher and youth leader on the West Side. An activist, he chaperoned youth marchers who took to the streets after Dr. King’s assassination in 1968. A gifted athlete, he also played basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters. He was one of those model Americans who grow and contribute by constantly reinventing themselves. Tell your kids — and yourself — to dare to be like him. (He also loved canned sardines!)