Robservations on the media beat:
One year after Mary Mitchell semiretired, the Chicago Journalism Hall of Famer is returning to the Sun-Times as a full-time columnist. Starting in August she’ll write two columns a week and take on a new position as director of newsroom culture and community engagement. In the new role, Mitchell said she will use her “institutional knowledge of the city and of the newsroom to help ensure that we are practicing what we preach when it comes to racial inclusion and equity.” In July 2019 Mitchell stepped down after 29 years at the paper and shifted to writing occasional columns and serving as consultant to the editorial board. Announcing Mitchell’s return to the staff, Sun-Times executive editor Chris Fusco said: “She’s long given a voice to the voiceless, and her voice is needed now, more than ever.”
It took a herculean effort to publish Wednesday’s print edition of the Daily Herald after the company’s computerized operating systems were the target of a sophisticated cyberattack. Managing editor Jim Baumann called it a miracle that the paper kept its 148-year history of publishing unbroken. “Anyone who says newspaper people are unwilling to change or adapt should have seen the constant flow of meetings in which people from all corners dreamed up workarounds, built pages from scratch and more just to keep our streak unbroken,” Baumann wrote on Facebook. “What you read today is a testament to the ingenuity and commitment of many, many people to deliver you the news and advertising you’ve come to expect from us. I’m just so proud to work alongside them all.” Parent company Paddock Publications said it is working with cyber security firms and experts to resolve the issue.
Jim Rose, longtime sports anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, will host “Do You Hear Me? A Discussion About Race” at 2 p.m. today at abc7Chicago.com. The one-hour town hall will focus on race relations, racism and racial activism in sports, including the lack of diversity in ownership, management and leadership roles. Panelists will include Chicago Bears Super Bowl champions Richard Dent and Otis Wilson. It’s the eighth installment in ABC 7’s series of virtual town halls this year.
Chris Duffy, whose voice was heard on countless commercials and promos on WGN 720-AM, is out after more than a decade as creative services manager at the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station. The Michigan native was among numerous Jacor Communications alumni hired under former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny. WGN officials said they have no plans to replace him. “After over 10 years, three Stanley Cups, one Cubs World Championship, working with some of the absolute best in the business, yesterday I closed the book on WGN Radio,” Duffy wrote on Facebook. “It will always be the pinnacle of my radio career.”
It came as no big surprise to sharp-eyed viewers, but Irika Sargent, news anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, took to social media Wednesday to announce that she and husband Dorian Orr are expecting their first child. “Our little blessing is on the way,” she tweeted along with photos of the couple, their dog Kingsley and an ultrasound image. “Kingsley can’t wait to meet his baby sister!” Sargent and Orr were married last fall in a picturesque outdoor ceremony on the island of Maui.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Mike Janowski: Michael Romain is a kickass reporter and writer.