Robservations: Nexstar boss decries ‘endless adrenaline shots of conflict’

Perry Sook

Robservations on the media beat:

Nexstar Media Group

The head of the nation’s largest owner of television stations — including Chicago’s WGN-Channel 9 — is challenging his company’s local newsrooms to “personalize, humanize and localize” the stories they report and give their communities more hope. That’s the word from Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar Media Group. “Our journalists must do their job and cover the story, but it is how we cover the story that is important,” Sook told employees in an internal email last week. “I’m not sure that endless adrenaline shots of conflict are really telling the story anyway. We need to spend more time on the why. In an excerpt from an interview I read over the weekend, one person pointed squarely at the media when he said, ‘Stop feeding fear and anger every day.  Stop making people so fearful. Give them hope.’ I challenge you to get together with your fellow employees and talk about how we can give our communities hope. What stories can we tell to personalize, humanize and localize what is going on in the country today?” Nexstar is poised to launch “News Nation,” a three-hour primetime nightly newscast originating from Chicago on WGN America cable network, starting September 1.

Tracy Baim

More than 40 independent media organizations in Chicago are $160,000 richer, thanks to the first-ever fundraiser hosted by Chicago Independent Media Alliance. Contributions from more than 1,000 individual donors and matching funds from foundations put the Save Chicago Media campaign over the top. “This campaign far surpassed my original vision,” said Tracy Baim, publisher of the Chicago Reader and founder of CIMA. “We created this in just three weeks, once it was clear the devastating impact of COVID-19 on local media. We hope CIMA can help lift the boats of independent media in Chicago, by continuing to come together on business and editorial projects.”

Brandis Friedman

Brandis Friedman, correspondent and co-anchor of “Chicago Tonight,” will host “Peace & Justice: A WTTW News Special,” a one-hour conversation about racism and police brutality in the black community, at 7 p.m. tonight on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. It will be followed by “Peace & Justice: A Community Discussion,” hosted by Sylvia Ewing at 8 p.m. “This has been a painful week for the black community, and for our city and country,” said Sandra Cordova Micek, president and CEO of WTTW. “Recent events compel us to redouble our focus on how we use our public media platform to serve our community.”

Dalton Barker

It’s over and out for Dalton Barker after 14 months as a reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business. In addition to covering the media for Crain’s, Barker also reported on consumer products companies, food manufacturers, restaurants, marketing, the beer and spirits industry and retailing. “Truly one of the most fun, interesting years of my life,” Barker tweeted. “Cannot say enough good things about the people and journalism produced there.” Jim Kirk, publisher and executive editor of the business publication, declined to comment on Barker’s sudden departure, but said: “We wish him nothing but the best.” Crain’s is expected to fill the position.

Friday’s comment of the day: Dave Silbar: Great work by a great paper — The Daily Herald — in filling the hole left by 22nd Century, which by the way, provided solid coverage of the north and southwest suburbs. Hope The Daily Herald does the same in other nearby communities affected by the loss of 22nd Century — Winnetka, Highland Park, et al.