Robservations on the media beat:
Now that the Sun-Times has been acquired by the parent company of NPR news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM and become a nonprofit subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, all eyes are on the search for new executive editors to lead the two newsrooms. The company has engaged Koya Partners, a Massachusetts-based executive recruiting firm, to conduct the search. Heading the effort is Steve Edwards, the former chief content officer of WBEZ who’s now a managing director of Koya Partners. The Sun-Times has been without a permanent executive editor since Chris Fusco resigned in 2020. Since then Steve Warmbir has been serving as interim editor-in-chief. For WBEZ the position will be a new one, reporting to chief content officer Tracy Brown.
Tonight will mark the test launch of ImageUnion.TV, a new video platform created by famed Chicago television and documentary producer Tom Weinberg. (Here is the link.) The site debuts at 7 p.m. “We’ve been creating this from scratch for over a year and now you get the first peek at the hundreds of short videos our curator-programmers have chosen,” Weinberg said. “Though I know it’s not completely ready for prime time, and we have mountains of work to realize the vision, it’s not like anything you’ve seen before.” For more than 50 years Weinberg has been on the cutting edge of independent video, including creation of WTTW-Channel 11’s long-running “Image Union” series and establishment of the nonprofit Media Burn Independent Video Archive.
“Kimiko’s Pearl,” a ballet written by former Chicago Tribune music and arts critic Howard Reich, will premiere the first scene of the Canadian production this weekend. Reich was commissioned by the nonprofit Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts to write the stage scenario for the multidisciplinary work, to be performed by principal dancers of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The digital short will debut Saturday at 6 p.m. (Here is the link.) “This remains one of the most moving projects of my career, partly because the story of Japanese-Canadian internment never before has been told in this balletic/multidisciplinary form,” Reich said. “I hope viewers will find the project as exciting as we do.”
Nominations opened Tuesday for the 27th annual Community Media Awards — including the coveted Studs Terkel Awards — sponsored by the nonprofit Public Narrative. Named for the legendary broadcaster, historian and author, the Terkel Awards honor excellence in covering and reflecting Chicago’s diverse communities. “Who is out there telling stories that represent your neighborhood, your experiences? This is the award for them,” Mareva Lindo, director of media engagement for Public Narrative, said in a statement. “We want to celebrate storytelling that centers Chicago communities.” Deadline to submit nominations is March 15. (Here is the link.) Awards will be presented online May 12.
Katherine Davis, who joined Crain’s Chicago Business last year as a general assignment and tech startup reporter, has been promoted to health care reporter. In her new role she will cover hospitals, health insurance, pharmaceutical makers and related news for the weekly publication as well as Crain’s Health Pulse newsletter. Davis previously was a reporter and associate editor for Chicago Business Journal/Chicago Inno. “Over time, Katherine has impressed her colleagues as well as the people she covers as a smart, nimble and perceptive journalist,” said Ann Dwyer, editor of Crain’s. “We’re confident she will deliver the fresh news and insights that people in the health care industry have come to expect from Crain’s.”
Nick Digilio, the popular former late-night host at Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM who just launched a new podcast, merits the spotlight in the February issue of Illinois Entertainer. (Here is the link.) In an interview with media columnist Rick Kaempfer, Digilio says: “The podcast will be a lot like the WGN show. Tons of guests that were regulars on my show on WGN, and we cover the world of pop culture. . . . We’ll do all the regular features that we did on the show. I’ll do movie reviews. And I get to swear a little. If you were a fan of the radio show, you’ll like this podcast.” Billed as “The Nick D Podcast,” new episodes upload Tuesdays and Fridays on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.
“Media Trends in 2022” will be the topic of an online seminar today sponsored by the Publicity Club of Chicago. Panelists will include three seasoned Chicago journalists, all of whom now write daily email newsletters: Monica Eng of Axios, Shia Kapos of Politico and Charlie Meyerson of Chicago Public Square. The Zoom event starts at noon today. (Here is the link to register.)
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Jeff Steven Kwit: I know no one who doesn’t like Mark Grote. Personable, humorous and knowledgeable. He will light up the night. Oh and more good news: I can now ignore Cheryl Burton on another platform.