Robservations: Chicago Tribune may roll presses in Milwaukee; Leila Gorstein leaving MeTV; Lucky 13 inspires Steve Darnall

Chicago Tribune Freedom Center

Robservations on the media beat:

By this time next year the print edition of the Chicago Tribune may be coming from Wisconsin. Under Alden Global Capital ownership, the sadly diminished daily is expected to be printed on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s former presses in West Milwaukee — 90 miles from the Loop. Gannett produced 11 Wisconsin newspapers from the site before moving them last month to the Peoria Journal Star. Gannett merged with GateHouse Media, the Journal Star’s parent company, in 2019. Freedom Center, the Tribune’s printing plant (and current newsroom) at Chicago Avenue and the Chicago River, has been sold to Bally’s for development of a casino. Sources said the Tribune could begin production from the 20-year-old Milwaukee plant by mid-2023. Par Ridder, general manager of Chicago Tribune Media Group, did not respond to a request for comment.

Leila Gorstein

Leila Gorstein, one of the original cast members and writers on “Toon In With Me,” has resigned after 18 months on Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting’s MeTV. Gorstein played a variety of lovable odd-balls on the weekday morning sketch-comedy and cartoon show hosted by Bill Leff. According to the network, she asked to be released to focus on her work with Second City, where the South Carolina native has been an improv actor since 2017. “You never know when one of her zany characters may show up again,” say the MeTV folks, who added that Gorstein will continue to be featured in reruns.

Steve Darnall

Steve Darnall marks his 13th anniversary this weekend as host and producer of “Those Were the Days,” the weekly showcase for the golden age of radio, founded by Radio Hall of Famer Chuck Schaden in 1970. To celebrate the milestone, Darnall will present an afternoon of shows all involving the number 13 — from “The Thirteenth Truck” on an episode of “Escape” to a Friday the 13th storyline on “Our Miss Brooks.” “It’s my belief that 13 is definitely a lucky number in this instance, especially as it means I’ve been hosting ‘Those Were the Days’ for one-quarter of its time on the air,” Darnall said. “It still feels like one of the best jobs in the world.” “Those Were the Days” airs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays on College of DuPage’s WDCB 90.9-FM.

Jessica Villagomez

Jessica Villagomez, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, has joined the faculty of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism as a full-time lecturer. In addition to teaching, she will focus on establishing a solutions journalism hub in the Midwest. Villagomez, who left the Tribune in 2021 to join Chalkbeat Detroit, is a graduate of Hinsdale South High School, DePaul University and Medill. Earlier in her career she worked as an editorial intern at the Latino daily Hoy, In These Times and “PBS NewsHour.”

John “Moon” Mullin

Chicago’s sports and media communities are heartbroken over the passing of longtime reporter John “Moon” Mullin, who covered the Chicago Bears over three decades for the Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune and Comcast SportsNet Chicago (forerunner of NBC Sports Chicago). Mullin, who was 74, died in Lake Forest Sunday of pancreatic cancer. “John was an instrumental part of our Bears coverage over the years and was always a thoughtful and wise leader of our team,” said Kevin Cross, president and general manager of NBC Universal Chicago. “He was more than just a writer. He was a teacher. He was a leader among his peers, and he was an inspiration to us all. He will be missed dearly.” Visitation will be Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Donnellen Funeral Home in Skokie. Mass will be Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Doug Strickland: Having worked in the television business for over 25 years, I find a podcast telling truths about how the business really is behind the scenes is quite refreshing. Amazing what these corporate bean counters that run TV news operations can get away with, taking liberties on their loyal employees who are just merely trying to make a living and a difference in the world. You go girls!!