Robservations: WVON reports on missing women; Dick Allen book gets optioned; Block Club named Publisher of the Year

Candace McCollum

Robservations on the media beat:

A five-part radio documentary series on more than 50 Black women and girls in Chicago who vanished without a trace will air on WVON 1690-AM, the Midway Broadcasting news/talk station. “The Invisible Ones: Voices of the Missing,” hosted and produced by WVON morning news anchor Candace McCollum, will premiere November 29 and air four times daily throughout the week. “I sought to humanize many of these women whose names we never knew,” said McCollum, who was born and raised in Naperville and graduated from Neuqua Valley High School and Columbia College. “I cannot name one Black woman whose name is etched in the psyche of America because she went missing.”

Chili Dog MVP

A new book about the late Chicago White Sox legend Dick Allen has just been optioned for a documentary film. Chili Dog MVP: Dick Allen, The 1972 White Sox and a Transforming Chicago, soon to be published by Chicago-based Eckhartz Press, was written by John Owens and Dr. David Fletcher and edited by veteran sportswriter, baseball historian and author George Castle. (Here is the link to order.) “We look back at this unique time in Chicago history, when the arrival of a controversial slugger lifted the Sox out of a daunting hole and united a fractious fan base during a time when Chicago was going through tremendous changes,” said Owens, a longtime producer and president of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Allen, who missed induction to Cooperstown by one vote in 2014, is on the 10-person National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Golden Days Era Committee ballot. Andy Billman, the former ESPN producer who directed episodes of the “30 For 30” series, optioned the book and will be with Allen’s family in Orlando for the Hall of Fame vote December 5. A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Gilda’s Club Chicago.

Block Club Chicago

Block Club Chicago, the reader-funded nonprofit newsroom, was named 2021 Publisher of the Year Tuesday in the Local Independent Online News Publishers’ third annual Local Journalism Awards, presented by the Google News Initiative. “Block Club Chicago’s emphasis on consistent presence in neighborhoods to build trust has made it a leader in community-rooted local news,” the judges declared. “The team’s responsiveness to people’s needs during the pandemic demonstrates the organization’s core commitment to public service and public trust. The range of storytelling is impressive, as is the creativity on the business side.” Block Club also took home awards for best visual journalism project, best breaking news coverage and best coverage of protest and movements.

Lisa Miner

The impending retirement of John Lampinen as editor and the promotion of Jim Baumann to executive editor prompted a new round of promotions this week at the Daily Herald: Lisa Miner, assistant managing editor/news, was named deputy managing editor/news; Chuck Keeshan, weekend editor, was named assistant managing editor; and Robert Sanchez, deputy city editor, was named city editor. “We are confident in their abilities to work together with the rest of our leadership team to mentor our talented staff and continue the paper’s progress in responding to the needs of our suburban audience,” Lampinen and Baumann wrote in an email to staff. (This blog operates under an agreement with the Daily Herald.)

Madison Savedra

Madison Savedra, who wrote for the Daily Herald and Chicago magazine and served as a reporting intern for the Sun-Times, has been hired as a full-time reporter for Block Club Chicago. Starting November 29 she’ll cover Chicago’s Pilsen, Little Village and Back of the Yards neighborhoods. “I’m super sad to be leaving the fantastic teams at @ChicagoMag and @dailyherald, but they will always hold a special place in my heart!” she tweeted. “Many, many thanks to all the people who have helped me on this path.” Savedra, a St. Louis native and graduate of Loyola University, also was news editor of the Loyola Phoenix.

Brian Foster

Brian Foster, general manager of Alpha Media stations in Aurora and Joliet, has been promoted to regional vice president of the Portland, Oregon-based company. In his new role he will oversee Alpha Media stations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. “Years ago, I discovered my passion, not for radio or digital, but for telling our clients’ stories,” Foster said in a statement. “This message-first approach has led to sustainable growth inside my market, and I am thrilled to continue this endeavor with my new role.”

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Roxann Ruiz: Where’s the job posting for new WTMX leadership? They need to own up to their mistakes also.