Sun-Times names Rachel Hinton chief political reporter

Rachel Hinton (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Just three years after joining the Sun-Times as an intern straight out of DePaul University, Rachel Hinton has been promoted to chief political reporter.

Chris Fusco, executive editor of the Sun-Times, confirmed Hinton’s meteoric rise in an email to staff announcing her appointment Wednesday. She most recently has been covering Cook County government.

“From chronicling the abuse suffered by a transgender prison inmate to providing timely political analysis about an embattled Cook County state’s attorney’s future, she’s been a team player who has played a key role in helping our newspaper hold power accountable and grow new readers,” Fusco said.

As chief political reporter Hinton replaces Tina Sfondeles, who resigned last month to join the Washington-based political team of Business Insider, the national news website.

A 2017 graduate of DePaul and former managing editor of The DePaulia, Hinton began as an intern and moved up to urban affairs reporter later that year. Earlier she also was an intern at the Chicago Reader. Hinton grew up in the far southwest suburbs and attended Plainfield South High School.

Here is the text of Fusco’s email to staff:

Nearly three years ago, Robert Feder wrote a brief item in his media column after we hired Rachel Hinton full-time out of her summer internship. “Keep an eye on Rachel Hinton,” the Robservation began.

From chronicling the abuse suffered by a transgender prison inmate to providing timely political analysis about an embattled Cook County state’s attorney’s future, she’s been a team player who has played a key role in helping our newspaper hold power accountable and grow new readers.

So today Steve, Scott Fornek and I are thrilled to announce that Rachel is taking over Tina Sfondeles’ role as chief political reporter. Tina — like Natasha Korecki, Abdon Pallasch and Scott before her — will be a tough act to follow. But Rachel is up to the task, getting to work alongside the best political team in the business, including Lynn Sweet, Fran Spielman, Mitch Armentrout, Mark Brown, Jon Seidel and the Watchdogs team.

A 2017 graduate of DePaul University, Rachel was managing editor of the DePaulia student newspaper before interning at the Chicago Reader and later at the Sun-Times. She grew up in the far southwest suburbs and attended Plainfield South High School. In 2016, she was named one of Chicago’s Future Leaders by the Chicago Network.

We’ll be posting her position as county government reporter soon, opening that job to both internal and external candidates. If you’re interested, please reach out to Steve and Scott. 

And please join us all in congratulating Rachel!

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Zaq A Ree: This is a poorly researched idea. They should rename this “Background Noise.” Television news has been on a respirator for years. Younger viewers aren’t turning on the TV to watch archaic styles of news presentations. The older folks are falling asleep or passing away (or both). I just don’t think this works. It’s like starting a new print publication in 2020. Who’s the audience? You can’t create a news program based on market research data gathered during a pandemic. When things get “back to normal,” there won’t be as many people home to watch.