Robservations: Ex-staffers launch campaign to save Chicago Reporter

Chicago Reporter

Robservations on the media beat:

Laura Washington

More than 100 former employees of the Chicago Reporter are fighting to save the investigative news organization after 48 years of vital reporting on issues of race, poverty and inequality. As reported here last week, Fernando Diaz was forced out after two years as editor-in-chief and publisher, and officials of the Community Renewal Society refuse to comment on the future of the publication. In an open letter to the nonprofit board, ex-staffers wrote: “We are distressed by reports that the Community Renewal Society has put the Reporter on ‘hiatus’ and has removed its editor and publisher with no public announcement or explanation – and without any word about what will happen next. There has never been a more important time for The Chicago Reporter to be actively engaged in the work it does best as activists and citizens raise issues of racial and economic disparities and police shootings of Black men and women. . . . The Reporter’s success depends on its independent editorial control and its freedom to conduct its investigations and reporting without interference as it holds institutions and leaders accountable on issues of race, ethnicity, poverty and justice. We ask you to explain why you have put The Chicago Reporter on hiatus and removed its editor and publisher. We request that you create a transparent process for the future of the Reporter. And we insist the editor and publisher must have independent editorial control.” Added Laura Washington, a former editor and publisher of the Reporter: “We asked for an explanation, but so far we aren’t getting one. We know it’s not fiduciary because the funding remains solid.”

It’s another Dick Tracy/Svengoolie mashup in the funny pages of the Chicago Tribune. A series in the nationally syndicated comic strip features a cameo by the beloved horror-movie host played by Rich Koz. “He has found a possible clue for Tracy regarding some apparent vampire attacks,” Koz said of Sven’s storyline. “For some reason, Little Orphan Annie is hanging around with them too,” adding: “Trying my best to avoid being in the Family Circus.” “Svengoolie” airs at 11 a.m. Saturdays on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26 and 7 p.m. Saturdays on MeTV.

Dick Tracy (Tribune Content Agency)

Marc Silverman

Happy to report good news for Marc Silverman, afternoon co-host on Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM. Six months after he disclosed his diagnosis for Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, Silverman now says the disease is in remission. Calling it “the weirdest, craziest, hardest and most humbling spring/summer of my life,” he tweeted to fans: “As my journey continues, thank you for making me #SilvyStrong!” Silverman, 49, grew up in Skokie and graduated from Niles North High School and Southern Illinois University. He worked as a sports intern and reporter at news/talk WGN 720-AM before joining ESPN 1000 on its launch in 1998.

Declan Levy

Is there another Chicago broadcasting dynasty in the making? Keep an eye on Declan Levy, sports anchor and reporter for WXOW, the ABC affiliate in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Levy, a 2019 graduate of the University of Iowa and former intern at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, is the son of Doug Levy, president and general manager of Univision Local Media Chicago, and former host at WXRT 93.1-FM, the Entercom adult album alternative station.

Eugene Stanback

The National Association of Black Journalists – Chicago Chapter is establishing a scholarship fund to honor the memory of Eugene Stanback, former news photographer for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Stanback, who retired in 2013 after 38 years at ABC 7, died September 13 of COVID-19. He was 71. “He was a wonderful spirit who always had the best attitude in life,” said Laura Castañeda, a longtime friend. “I can’t think of a better way to honor his memory than by ensuring that aspiring journalists will know how much he gave to this industry.” (Here is the link. Donors should enter “Eugene Stanback Memorial Scholarship.”)

Monday’s comment of the day: Bob Roberts: I’m always glad to see another former City News broadcast editor do well, especially doing well in Chicago. Ray [Cortopassi], don’t be surprised if Paul (Zimbrakos) is watching. And remember that if your mother says she loves you, check it out!