Robservations on the media beat:
Mort Crim, the retired anchorman said to be the inspiration for Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character, has been chosen for induction in the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame. A native of West Frankfort, Illinois, who holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Crim began in the news department of WLS 890-AM in the early ’60s. He briefly worked in Chicago again in the late ’70s at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. Of his Hall of Fame selection, Crim said: “I’m deeply honored. Even humbled — and for an anchorman, being humbled is quite an accomplishment.” Crim will be inducted June 13 during the IBA’s annual conference in Springfield.
A tip of the hat and a deep bow to Ken Davis, who hosts his final edition of “Chicago Newsroom” today. Davis is pulling the plug on the weekly roundtable of local journalists and newsmakers after a nine-year run on Chicago Access Network TV. Guests on his last show will be Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, John Dempsey, A.D. Quig and Heather Cherone. “[‘Chicago Newsroom’] wasn’t exactly a media powerhouse, but we did accomplish a couple of things, key among them that so many people who are currently achieving real prominence in our market made their first TV appearances on our show,” Davis told me. “I’m truly proud of that.”
Charles Whitaker, former senior editor at Ebony magazine, has been named dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, effective July 1. He’s been serving as interim dean since Brad Hamm stepped down in July 2018. Whitaker, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Medill in the early ’80s, joined the faculty as a professor in 1993. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be the first Medill alumnus selected to serve as dean,” he said in a statement. “I care deeply about the school, particularly the students, faculty and staff who have made Medill such a vaunted institution in the fields of journalism and integrated marketing.” Before Ebony, Whitaker worked for the Miami Herald and Louisville Times.
Ed McGregor, former director of content integration at ESPN, has joined NBC Sports Chicago as vice president of content strategy. The position has been vacant since Kevin Cross was promoted to senior vice president and general manager in January. McGregor will lead the regional sports network’s multi-platform portfolio, including live events, programming, digital media, news, and original content. “Ed’s vast experience, leadership skills, and collaborative spirit will be critical assets in helping us achieve our objectives from both a strategic and revenue-generating standpoint,” Cross said. McGregor, a native of southwest suburban Burr Ridge and graduate of the University of Illinois, began his career as manager of publications for the Chicago Cubs.
Kimbriell Kelly, former editor and publisher of the Chicago Reporter, is joining the Los Angeles Times this summer as Washington-based deputy editor of enterprise and investigations. She most recently has been a reporter on the investigative unit at the Washington Post, where her team won a Pulitzer Prize in 2016. Kelly, a graduate of Saint Xavier University and Boston University, was a staff writer at the Daily Herald for seven years before joining the Chicago Reporter as a reporter. She also hosted a public-affairs show on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and a weekly radio show on Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM.
David Viggiano, former entertainment reporter and producer at Fox 32, has been hired as a producer for “Windy City Live,” the weekday talk and entertainment show on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Since he left Fox in 2009, he’s been working as a public relations consultant specializing in media relations and media training. “I’ve been wanting to get back into the TV production side of the business for a while and was waiting for the right opportunity to come along,” Viggiano said.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Carol Marin: Kris Kridel is the gold standard in journalism. She is smart, ethical, and fair, always asking the kind of questions that need to be asked. And she has mentored an army of younger journalists with both generosity and great humor. She makes the profession proud. I’ll miss hearing her voice on WBBM.