Robservations: With no savior in sight, Tribune loses reporter David Jackson

David Jackson (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Robservations on the media beat:

David Jackson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who spearheaded a valiant effort to find a benevolent owner for the Chicago Tribune, has resigned after 29 years at the newspaper. Earlier this year Jackson and colleague Gary Marx wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which they pleaded for “a civic-minded local owner or group of owners” to rescue the Tribune from what they called “avaricious destruction” by New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital. (Here is the link.) Jackson’s departure comes as Alden is poised to become majority stockholder of Tribune Publishing. “I am grateful beyond words for the many mentors I’ve had in this newsroom — reporters and editors who taught me our profession’s highest standards — and for the many, many lifelong friends I’ve made,” he told me. “We got to do a lot of good together. Working here has been the gift of a lifetime.” Jackson, whose last day at the Tribune will be July 10, declined to comment on his future plans.

Chicago Tribune Guild

News of Jackson’s departure came the same day the union representing Chicago Tribune journalists launched a “Save Our Tribune” campaign and petition drive to find “local investors who value the critical role the Tribune and its suburban newspapers have in our communities and the essential coverage we provide.” (Here is the link.) “We will be better served by local owners who share our vision of serving our communities with a vibrant newspaper,” the Chicago Tribune Guild said in a statement. “We are building a future in which profits are reinvested back into the newsroom, instead of handed out to shareholders.”

Courtney Gousman

Courtney Gousman, a reporter and morning news anchor at WGN-Channel 9, is leaving to join WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, as weekday evening news anchor. Her last day at the Nexstar Media Group station here will be July 30. Gousman joined WGN in 2014 from CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, where she was a per diem reporter. The Chicago native and graduate of Whitney Young High School and Hampton University in Virginia previously worked in St. Louis; Evansville, Indiana; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Baltimore. “We’d like to thank Courtney for her time here with us, and wish her well in the next step of her career,” said WGN news director Dominick Stasi.

Andy Masur

As expected, Andy Masur was named to succeed the late Ed Farmer Tuesday as play-by-play voice of the Chicago White Sox on WGN 720-AM. He’ll join Darrin Jackson in the radio broadcast booth for the upcoming 60-game season. Masur, a north suburban Glenview native and graduate of Maine East High School and Bradley University, had been pregame host for WGN’s White Sox broadcasts since 2018. “Anybody can look at Andy’s body of work and know that he’s qualified for this opportunity,” said Mary Sandberg Boyle, general manager of the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station. “But it’s the intangible sensitivity that Andy brings, having worked directly with Ed Farmer these past few years, that makes him perfectly suited to succeed Ed, alongside Darrin, during this unprecedented season.” Masur previously worked for WGN on Chicago Cubs broadcasts from 1997 to 2007. Before returning in 2014 he spent eight seasons as announcer for the San Diego Padres.

Don Mueller

Colleagues at WFMT 98.7-FM are remembering Don Mueller, former director of operations at the Window to the World Communications classical music station, who died Monday in Tucson, Arizona. He was 69. Mueller, a west suburban native and graduate of Waubonsee Community College, worked for organ manufacturer Wurlitzer and co-owned a Chicago recording studio before joining WFMT in 1986 as a distribution assistant. Over a 30-year career at the station he rose to director of operations before retiring to Tucson in 2016. “Don Mueller was one of those behind-the-scenes people who was dedicated to making sure things get done,” said George Preston, general manager of WFMT. “He was devoted to WFMT and to his colleagues.”

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Bob Manewith: As a retired journalist, I am pleased on two counts to see the birth of Black Information Network: 1) service to a wide (national) community that deserves targeted service; and 2) providing jobs for more journalists. That said, I see no mention of local news, particularly important in Chicago and other urban areas with large Black populations.