Robservations on the media beat:
It doesn’t really matter what Dan McNeil was thinking when he posted a disparaging comment about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor’s outfit during Monday night’s NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants. “NFL sideline reporter or a host for the AVN annual awards presentation?” McNeil tweeted, suggesting her attire might be more appropriate for the annual pornography award show presented by Adult Video News. McNeil deleted the tweet about 30 minutes later, according to Awful Announcing, but not before it had been seen (and archived) countless times. In the social media firestorm that followed, one of the fiercest responses came from Julie DiCaro, the writer and former host on Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, where McNeil co-hosts afternoons with Danny Parkins. “Always disappointed, never shocked,” DiCaro tweeted about her former co-worker. “It’s almost as if there’s a connection between the lack of women on air and the blatant sexism. I think a serious question that listeners need to ask themselves is why men feel comfortable doing something like this in 2020, and why they’ve gotten that message?” No comment yet from McNeil’s bosses at The Score, where the perennial bad boy is on his third stint in 28 years. Taylor’s response? “Well Danny Dearest if you would like to continue making sexist comments about me . . . please bring your misogyny with you to the NBA Countdown double header I’ll be hosting tomorrow night,” she tweeted. “Hey ladies remember you can wear whatever you feel confident in!”
The Chicago Reader has moved a giant step closer to converting to a nonprofit business model, thanks to the Internal Revenue Service. The nonprofit Reader Institute for Community Journalism, which was formed earlier this earlier to acquire ownership from majority investors Elzie Higginbottom and Leonard C. Goodman, just received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS. The transfer is expected to be completed January 1 — in time for the 50th anniversary of the venerable alternative newspaper. “This is terrific news for the Reader, especially given the impact of COVID-19 on our primary revenue base — advertising,” said publisher Tracy Baim. “I can’t thank Mr. Higginbottom and Mr. Goodman enough for their tremendous support in both saving the Reader in 2018 — just days before it was going to be shut down — and in support of our efforts these past two years.”
Marlen Garcia, a columnist and editorial board member at the Sun-Times, has been promoted to deputy managing editor for breaking news and staff development. “Marlen is already a trusted sounding board for many reporters, so she’s a natural fit to work with Mary Mitchell as a liaison between managers and staff on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion,” managing editor Steve Warmbir told staffers. A graduate of Maine West High School and Illinois State University, Garcia worked as a sports reporter for the Chicago Tribune and USA Today before joining the Sun-Times in 2012. She replaces Kathy Chaney, who left to join YR Media (formerly Youth Radio) as head of its new Midwest regional youth media hub in Chicago. The move reunites Chaney with former Chicago journalist Kyra Kyles, now CEO of the nonprofit youth media arts outlet, based in Oakland, California.
Monday’s bombshell report that legendary journalist Carol Marin would be leaving TV news following the November elections brought this response from Sandra Cordova Micek, president and CEO of Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11: “Over 15 years, Carol Marin has been a force on ‘Chicago Tonight.’ Her work at WTTW embodies the values of public media as she serves our viewers with trusted, independent, hard-hitting reporting. Carol does her homework, she covers the issues that matter to the people in the Chicago region, and has been an unmatched, essential news voice in our community. We wish Carol well in her future endeavors, especially as she continues to serve on the faculty of the DePaul College of Communication where she prepares young journalists to cover this great city of ours.” In addition to stepping down as a correspondent for “Chicago Tonight,” Marin also will be exiting as political editor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.
Marci Braun, interim program director of Entercom country WUSN 99.5-FM, has been named a regional brand manager of the country format. “I am thrilled for Marci to have this opportunity and much deserved promotion,” said Rachel Williamson, senior vice president and market manager of Entercom Chicago. “She has been a critical member of the US99 team for over a decade and I am excited to watch her grow in this new and expanded role.” Braun, who born and raised in Arlington Heights and graduated from Buffalo Grove High School and St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, has been a pillar of US99 since 2004. Coinciding with her new duties, she’ll relinquish her on-air role in middays to Katie Neal, whose show originates from WNSH in New York. Also added is a new evening show hosted by Rob Stone and Holly Hutton from WYCD in Detroit. US99 remains live and local in mornings with Drew Walker and afternoons with Scotty Kay.
Mark Guarino has parted company with The Daily Line after four months as managing editor and contributing reporter for the subscription newsletter on state and local politics. “I’ve had the opportunity to cover one of the country’s most important national stories, the summer of protest and rising unrest, for the Washington Post, and I’d like to devote my journalism efforts to that for now,” Guarino told me. “I’m also currently working with the New York Times on a similar effort and with ABC News as a field producer, directing stories from the Midwest to ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘Nightline.’ I am amidst the editing phase of my first book, due next year on the University of Chicago Press. This fall I’m also working with an agent on two new book projects. I wish The Daily Line the best.” Guarino, a native of Oak Park and graduate of Loyola University, began his career at the Daily Herald, where he spent 14 years as a reporter, copy editor and pop music critic.
Will Mendelson, former co-editor of ChicagoMOD magazine, the short-lived luxury lifestyle publication, has been named managing editor of Chicago Agent Magazine, the print and online journal of the residential real estate industry in the Chicago area. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Mendelson also worked for Chicago Tribune Media Group. “Chicagoland Realtors, y’all are about to be my new best friends,” he wrote on Facebook Monday.
Monday’s comment of the day: Andrew Herrmann: I had the good fortune of sharing a driver with Carol [Marin] in 1995 covering a trip by Cardinal Bernardin to the Middle East. Bernardin met with Yassar Arafat in Gaza and we were trying to get back to Israel. Huge roadblock on the Palestinian side for some reason. Carol jumped out of the car (brave) with a tape in her hand (smart), ran up to who ever was in charge on the PLO side (decisive), and told him, “This is Chairman Arafat for American TV!” (brilliant.) They let us through immediately. Years later I had the good fortune of working with her at the Sun-Times. She was respectful to everyone but what I’ll remember most is she always had time to mentor young reporters, especially young women. Her “news DNA” can be found in newsrooms around the country, I’m sure. Great journalist, great person. Congrats on a terrific career.