Robservations: Chicago Reader celebrates 50th anniversary with gratitude

Chicago Reader

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago Reader (first issue October 1, 1971)

The venerable Chicago Reader will honor its 50th year of publication with special anniversary issues on October 14 and October 28, featuring its origin story and articles focused on the past half-century of award-winning work. As part of the ongoing celebration, a multimedia exhibit of stories, photographs, cartoons and other archival material will be featured at Chicago’s Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street. “The Chicago Reader at 50: A half-century of revolutionary storytelling” will run from October 6 to January 22. The Reader also will mark the milestone with a 50-day giveaway, including theater tickets, a souvenir Reader newsbox, Ben Platt concert tickets, Chicago restaurant vouchers and other items. Founded by four college friends — Bob McCamant, Bob Roth, Tom Yoder and Tom Rehwaldt — and first published on October 1, 1971, the free alternative weekly shifted to nonprofit status in 2020. “We continue to be honored to helm this legendary Chicago newspaper,” co-publishers Tracy Baim and Karen Hawkins said in a joint statement. “And we are very happy to start the 50th anniversary celebrations October 1 with 50 days of ‘Reader Giving.’ This has not been an easy journey to nonprofit status during a pandemic, but we are grateful to our staff, freelancers, supporters, readers and advertisers for staying the course.”

Zoraida Sambolin

Why did morning news anchor Zoraida Sambolin return to NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 last week after a four-month leave of absence only to resign a few days later? It was partly on the advice of her husband, Chicago White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams, she told fans on a Facebook video. “The reason is I wanted an opportunity to say goodbye to you,” Sambolin said. “You’ve been a part of my life for a very long time and I’m really grateful for that. I also needed to get some things right. My husband said to me: ‘Make sure that you let everybody know that you’re not sick.’ There were a lot of folks who reached out to me and to him, worried that my cancer was back and that I was ill. So we have done a thorough evaluation of my health, and I am healthy and I intend on staying that way. I am super happy that I get this opportunity to come and say goodbye to you.” Kevin Cross, president and general manager of NBCUniversal Local Chicago, said in a statement: “Zoraida felt that this decision was the best choice for her and her family. We appreciate all that she has done for NBC 5 and Telemundo over the years and we wish her well going forward.” Sambolin’s exit, effective this Friday, marks the second departure of a prominent Hispanic personality from NBC 5 in the past month. Meteorologist Andy Avalos retired in August after 27 years at the station.

Evan F. Moore

Evan F. Moore, has resigned as features reporter at the Sun-Times to become press secretary for Chicago Public Schools under new CEO Pedro Martinez. The South Side native joined the Sun-Times as digital content news producer in 2018 after working for the former DNAinfo Chicago. Calling Moore “a solid jack-of-all-trades for us in the features department,” Sun-Times interim editor-in-chief Steve Warmbir said: “Whether it was covering television, film or music, writing recaps of ‘The Chi’ or the occasional column for the opinion pages, Evan delivered. It’s a significant loss for us and a smart hire by CPS. We will certainly miss Evan.”

Jon Hansen

“Chicago Food to Go,” Weigel Broadcasting’s weekly food show, announced the results of its first viewer poll Saturday. Among almost 8,000 votes cast, the winners were: Gene & Jude’s (best hot dog); Bartoli’s Pizzeria (best pizza); Cone Gourmet Ice Cream (best ice cream); Big Ed’s BBQ (best barbeque), and The Burger Point (best burger). “Everyone has their favorite local spot that they just can’t wait to tell me about,” said host Jon Hansen. “People walk up to me on the street, while we’re shooting or I’m running errands, so eager to tell me about it. Not only because they love their food and service but because they know these local restaurants need our help now. Neighbors want to stand up and get someone to shout from the rooftops about their favorite place and I’m happy to be the megaphone.” “Chicago Food To Go” airs at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays on WCIU-Channel 26 and 10 a.m. Saturdays on The U.

Michael Madigan

Former Illinois Speaker and Democratic powerhouse Michael Madigan is the subject of a five-part podcast series produced by the Better Government Association, the Chicago-based nonprofit investigative news organization. Premiering October 4, “The Madigan Rule” includes interviews with four former governors (Jim Edgar, George Ryan, Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner) as well as numerous lawmakers and journalists who covered Madigan. Hosted by Justin Kaufmann, the series also features BGA editors John Chase and Dave Kidwell, two of the reporters who wrote “The Madigan Rules” series for the Chicago Tribune in 2010.

Friday’s comment of the day: Chad Rubel: Of course, the “balanced” NewsNation’s morning show name [“Morning in America”] is a Ronald Reagan slogan. Even The Onion can’t be this funny.