Robservations: Block Club Chicago hires three new reporters

Block Club Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Jamie Nesbitt Golden

Three new full-time reporters have been hired at Block Club Chicago, the nonprofit subscription-based digital news site founded by former editors of DNAinfo Chicago. Jamie Nesbitt Golden, who freelanced for Block Club and DNAinfo, now covers Englewood, Chatham and Auburn Gresham. She replaces Lee Edwards, who left to become a program coordinator at Free Spirit Media, based in North Lawndale. Hannah Alani, a former reporter for The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, covers Wicker Park, Bucktown and West Town. She replaces Alisa Hauser, who moved to Portland, Oregon. Jonathan Ballew, who freelanced for Block Club, now covers Uptown, Edgewater and Rogers Park. His position was one of two funded by a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation to expand neighborhood news coverage. “We now have a total of seven full-time reporters to go with the three editors,” said Shamus Toomey, Block Club’s co-founder and editor in chief. “More reporters means more neighborhood news to share. To be able to grow after being live for just eight months is extremely exciting. We’re grateful for the tremendous support of the Joyce Foundation and the ongoing trust of our loyal readers.”

Norman Goldman

Just days after Joan Esposito was hired to fill the afternoon vacancy at WCPT 820-AM, there’s about to be another opening at the Newsweb Radio progressive talk station. Norman Goldman, whose Los Angeles-based syndicated show airs from 5 to 8 p.m. on WCPT, said he plans to retire soon. “‘The Norman Goldman Show’ has days to go, maybe weeks at most,” he told listeners. “We have to stop because we’ve lost a lot of money, and we have no more money to lose.” Mark Pinski, general manager of WCPT, said: “We are exploring our many options to fill this time slot. Norm is a great guy and wonderful on-air talent.”

César Rodríguez

César Rodríguez, who divided his time between general-assignment news reporter and sports anchor at WSNS-Channel 44, is out after six years at the Telemundo Spanish-language station. Management declined to comment, but sources said his contract was not renewed. Rodríguez joined Telemundo Chicago from KVIA, the ABC affiliate in El Paso, Texas. A social media post by Local 41 of NABET CWA noted that Rodríguez was on the negotiating team of the performers union SAG/AFTRA and claimed his ouster was related to “anti-union” efforts by management at NBC Tower.

Marisa Kollias

Marisa Kollias, vice president of communications and public relations at Tribune Publishing, has parted ways with the corporate parent of the Chicago Tribune. Her departure last week followed the resignation of Justin Dearborn as chairman and CEO. Tim Knight, president of Tribune Publishing, was named to the additional position of CEO. Before joining the company formerly known as tronc in 2017, Kollias headed her own media relations firm and served as spokeswoman for Wrapports, then owner of the Chicago Sun-Times. She previously worked as director of public relations for Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Brooke Taylor

Brooke Taylor, who’s been hosting afternoons at iHeartMedia country WEBG 95.5-FM since 2016, has been promoted to additional duties as assistant program director. “Brooke’s drive, creativity and leadership will help take our station to new heights in 2019,” said program director Lance Houston. Also at Big 95.5, Trace Hamilton has been named nighttime personality, in the slot previously held by a replay of the syndicated Bobby Bones morning show. Hamilton, who moves up from weekend and fill-in host, joined iHeartMedia Chicago as a promotions assistant in 2015.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: John Fitch: It’s ironic, don’t you think, that Barry [Rozner] lasted longer at The Score than any of the people he was passed over for. Honest to goodness, what on earth were they thinking? I think that it says a lot about the man that he remained a pro every time it happened. He didn’t leave the station in a lurch. He didn’t go on a tirade. He didn’t take his ball and go home. Rather, he showed up to work the next day the way Frank Thomas would show up at the plate. He saw the pitch, knocked it out of the park, and trotted the bases like a pro. He was a refreshing voice with insight and knowledge no one else possessed and he will be missed. We can only hope that that hiatus doesn’t last long.