Robservations on the media beat:
Three Chicago area columnists have been named finalists for the Chicago Journalists Association’s 2018 Dorothy Storck Award. They are Mark Brown of the Sun-Times; Deborah Douglas, whose work has appeared in the Chicago Reporter and Vice News; and Mick Dumke of ProPublica Illinois. Winner of the $1,000 prize will be announced at the group’s annual luncheon Saturday at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, 1 West Grand Avenue. (Here is the link for tickets.) The award is named for the former reporter for Chicago’s American and Chicago Today who died in 2015. Keynote speakers at the event will be Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader and new board chairman of the Chicago Reader, and Edwin Eisendrath, CEO of the Sun-Times.
After filling in as a freelancer for more than a year, Robb Ellis has been hired as a full-time meteorologist at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. He’ll be assigned weekend evening newscasts and serve as “point person on our weather technology and graphics,” according to news director Jeff Harris, who added: “His dedication and weather expertise is a perfect fit for the team.” Ellis, former chief meteorologist at WIS, the NBC affiliate in his native Columbia, South Carolina, previously worked at WISH, the CW affiliate in Indianapolis. “Excited for a new chapter in this stunning city and humbled to work with very talented colleagues,” he tweeted. The move follows the recent promotion of Mary Kay Kleist to 5, 6 and 10 p.m. weekday meteorologist at CBS 2.
Mark Jacob, who retired in April as metro editor of the Chicago Tribune, has joined The Local News Initiative led by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’ll edit the project’s website and chronicle the two-year project to help sustain local journalism in critical times. In his first post, Jacob writes: “It’s a jarring contradiction: The public has never had better access to news, yet local journalism is suffering a dramatic decline.” Before joining the Tribune in 1999, Jacob was Sunday editor of the Sun-Times.
Eighty years ago this week Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre on the Air spooked America with their broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.” Radio historian Steve Darnall will mark the milestone by hosting the original radio drama at 7 tonight on WLTL 88.1-FM, the student radio station of Lyons Township High School in La Grange. He’ll provide background and insight on the Halloween Eve dramatization of the H. G. Wells classic about a Martian invasion. Darnall, an alumnus of the station and a 1982 graduate of the west suburban high school, is host and producer of “Those Were the Days,” the weekly showcase for old-time radio, on College of DuPage’s WDCB 90.9-FM.
Friday’s comment of the day: Loren Beuke: Has anyone noticed how many people have been let go from WLS-AM since they moved to NBC Tower? This station needs a major overhaul, something radical, if they really want to regain their former glory days. Also, I don’t want to knock a person when he is down, but if all the people expressing their sympathy toward Steve Dahl’s departure had shown up in his ratings, he would still be on the air next year. . . . It just seems that the 2 to 6 p.m. shift is a graveyard for this station.