Robservations on the media beat:
As she has done before every election, Carol Marin spent the weekend at her kitchen table poring over pertinent facts and figures as if she were cramming for a final exam. “In this case, it sort of is our final exam on elections,” she told me Sunday. That’s because this election will mark the last hurrah for Marin after 48 years in the news business. The legendary broadcast journalist is stepping down as political editor of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and correspondent for “Chicago Tonight” at Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11 at the end of the week. On Tuesday night Marin and longtime producer Don Moseley will work out of the main first-floor newsroom and studio at NBC 5 for the first time since March. “We’ll all see how long we stay on the air as results come — or don’t come — in,” she said. So how is Marin feeling? “Excited. Nostalgic. Nervous always about getting things right. Glad that I have one more election night to report. Mindful of sharing it with people I love both in front of and behind the camera. Grateful for the viewers who have so loyally and generously watched for all these years.” Marin and Moseley will continue to serve as co-directors of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence at DePaul University, which they co-founded in 2016.
Chris Fusco, who resigned in September as executive editor of the Sun-Times to become founding executive editor of Lookout Santa Cruz in California, has been tapped as keynote speaker for the 2020 virtual awards ceremony of the Chicago Journalists Association. The event will stream live from 8 to 9 p.m. on November 20. Fusco is expected to talk about challenges impacting the industry. Now in their 81st year, the awards will recognize outstanding journalism in the Chicago metropolitan region and Northwest Indiana.
Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM is coming to the aid of Goodman Theatre and fans of “A Christmas Carol.” Bowing to the pandemic, the Goodman’s 43rd annual production of the Charles Dickens classic has been re-created as an audio play featuring an all-Chicago cast of 19 (including Larry Yando in his 13th year as Ebenezer Scrooge). WBEZ and its Vocalo companion station will broadcast the production at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve and 11 a.m. Christmas Day. “We’re delighted to partner with Goodman Theatre so that we can bring this audio version of their revered holiday production to the homes, ears and hearts of all Chicagoans during this pandemic year,” said Matt Moog, interim CEO at WBEZ and Vocalo.
The Chicago Headline Club has joined the battle to save the Chicago Reporter. The fate of the 48-year-old investigative news organization has been in limbo since Fernando Diaz was ousted as editor-in-chief and publisher. “The Chicago Headline Club is gravely concerned about the Community Renewal Society’s decision to put the Chicago Reporter on hiatus after removing the publication’s editor and publisher,” the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists said in a statement. “The Chicago Reporter has not published news content since September 15. This abrupt halt in publication damages the Reporter’s reputation. We strongly support the Reporter’s ability to function as an independent, professional news organization, which is more crucial now than ever for Chicago’s evolving media landscape.”
Hearts are going out to former Chicago radio star Robert Murphy, who suffered a catastrophic loss over the weekend. The beloved log cabin he shared with longtime companion Cheryl Larsen in the Manistee National Forest in northwest Michigan was destroyed in a fire Saturday. “For over thirty years it has been my sanctuary, my fortress of solitude, my escape,” Murphy wrote on Facebook. “That ended yesterday when our Michigan cabin burned to the ground. We escaped with nothing but our phones but we are alive and safe. 2020 can’t end soon enough.” Murphy’s last radio gig — as afternoon host at Cumulus Media classic hits WLS 94.7-FM — ended in 2016.
Friday’s comment of the day: Tom Susala: Congratulations to Wade Linder on his promotion. I’m sure – owing to the present state of radio in the U.S. – he’ll spend the first 15 minutes of his first day on the job at the computer that programs all 34 Cumulus stations changing the time of play for “Sweet Home Alabama” from 11:15 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. What he’ll do until the next ratings period will be anyone’s guess.