Robservations on the media beat:
Is this a racist image? The depiction of a noose over an automobile’s gas tank cover prompted a reporter for Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 to say it made her “sick to my stomach.” “Saw this on the way home from work and it made me furious, afraid, and sick to my stomach,” Courtney Gousman wrote on Twitter and Facebook Sunday. “Given the history of the noose and how it was used to murder black Americans, this image speaks volumes — no matter how it’s explained away because it’s plastered on a gas tank. #wideawake.” When a white reader suggested Gousman was “just looking for a reason to be mad,” she replied: “The depiction of a noose was clear enough — gas pump or not. There are plenty of other symbols that could have accomplished this besides this hateful reminder.”
It’s showtime for Lauren Cohn, the afternoon news anchor and fill-in host on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. Look for Cohn to appear in the opening scene of “South Side,” the Chicago-produced sitcom set in Englewood that premieres at 9:30 tonight on Comedy Central. In a scene shot on the set of “In The Loop,” which she co-hosted on WYCC-Channel 20, Cohn plays a TV news anchor. (In real life Cohn was a news anchor for three Chicago stations — ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.) She’s also expected to turn up in four or five other episodes this season.
Don Meier, the pioneering Chicago television producer who created “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” died Saturday in Winnetka at 104. The long-running NBC nature documentary series, hosted by Lincoln Park Zoo director Marlin Perkins and later Jim Fowler, was inspired by “Zoo Parade,” an earlier collaboration between Meier and Perkins. Meier’s TV credits also include “Garroway At Large,” “Hawkins Falls,” “Quiz Kids” and “Mr. Wizard.” In 1995 he was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Lois Wille, a trailblazing Chicago journalist and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, died Tuesday in a senior independent living community on the North Side after suffering a stroke. She was 87. Starting in 1956, Wille worked for the Chicago Daily News, Sun-Times and Tribune, moving up from editorial assistant to reporter to editor. She retired as editorial page editor of the Tribune in 1991. “Over the years, I’ve seen lots of Pulitzer Prize winners in action, but I have never seen anyone who is superb at everything, except Lois,” legendary columnist Mike Royko was quoted as saying. “She’s brilliant . . . a superb writer, great reporter, marvelous organizer.” Highly recommended reading: Rick Kogan’s obituary in the Tribune (here is the link) and Maureen O’Donnell’s obituary in the Sun-Times (here is the link).
Tuesday’s comment of the day: David W. Berner: Cumulus Media. More than misguided — more than unethical. These stories are disturbing.