Robservations: Block Club Chicago Wins Big Grant; DePaul Center to honor Bill Whitaker; Cubs writer Russell Dorsey leaves the Sun-Times

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Block Club Chicago reporters (Photo: Colin Boyle)

Observations on the media beat:

Tuesday was another red letter day for Block Club Chicago. In what it called “a wonderful vote of confidence,” the vital nonprofit neighborhood news site landed a $ 1.6 million grant from the American Journalism Project and a matching grant from $ 450,000 from the Chicago Community Trust. The funding will be used to expand the activities and operations of the Block Club, creating five new positions – Vice President of Revenue, Director of Member Services, Director of Major Gifts and Corporate Sponsorships, Director of Sales and Operations Coordinator. . An expansion of the Block Club editorial team will follow. “Local news does not die, it evolves,” said the co-executive editor. Jen Sabella. “The support of Chicagoans for our ultra-local newsroom has been overwhelming, proving that newsrooms don’t need to abandon the basics of the field – they just need to be responsive to the communities that ‘they cover. »Block Club was founded in 2018 by Shamus Toomey, Stephanie Lulay and Sabella, three editors of former DNAinfo Chicago.

Bill whitaker

Bill Whitaker, “60 Minutes” correspondent and 30-year CBS News veteran will receive the Distinguished Journalist Award from the Center for Integrity and Excellence in Journalism at DePaul University. He will be honored at a luncheon on April 28 with Heidi Wigdahl, a reporter for the NBC KARE branch in Minneapolis; and a 2010 DePaul alumnus, who will receive the Distinguished Alumna Award. “Bill Whitaker represents the best of journalism,” said Carole Marin, who co-directs the center with Don Mosley. “He listens, he investigates, and above all, he reports with fairness and humanity.” Wigdahl studied journalism and creative writing at DePaul and interned with the DePaul Documentary Project, where she helped produce stories with Marin and Moseley at WMAQ-Channel 5, owned by NBC.

Russell dorsey

Look for the Sun-Times sports writer Russell dorsey to join Stadium, the multiplatform sports network owned by Silver Chalice and Sinclair Broadcast Group and headquartered at United Center. Without confirming his new job, Dorsey announced on Tuesday that he was quitting The Sun-Times in late January after 18 months as the Chicago Cubs beat the writer. “Russ has done a great job for us covering all things Cubs, one of the hardest beats to face in Chicago sports,” Steve Warmbir, Interim Editor of The Sun-Times, wrote in an email to staff. “He had a great work ethic and was a fantastic colleague.” Dorsey, who grew up in the Southern Suburbs and started out as an intern with the Daily Herald, previously covered the Cubs, White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers for MLB.com.

Joe Fournier

After more than 12 years as a political cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, Joe Fournier revealed on Tuesday that his post had been abolished. His excellent work appeared three times a week in the opinion pages. “They let me go yesterday,” he wrote on Facebook. “Thanks to everyone who ever had a smile or a laugh at the songs. Love everyone and stay safe. Chris Jones, Editor-in-chief of the editorial page of the Tribune, confirmed Fournier’s departure, adding: “Joe is a great freelance designer and I love and appreciate his work. We are now simply trying to include a multiplicity of voices (and designers) on the opinion pages.

Bill ruthhart

Political reporter also leaves Chicago Tribune Bill Ruthhart. He joined The New York Times later this month as a writing coach and editor for its Writing and Early Career Fellowship programs. “Helping lay the groundwork for the next generation of journalists is important work, and I’m excited to start,” he tweeted on Tuesday. The Rock Island native and former Daily Herald intern previously worked for the Indianapolis Star. He joined the Tribune in 2010 as a watchdog journalist and covered town hall under the mayor’s administration. Rahm Emmanuel.

Rick o’dell

Rick O’Dell, program director of WRME 87.7-FM, the old-fashioned soft-rock Weigel Broadcasting station known as MeTV FM, offers encouraging words to fans in an interview with Rick kaempfer in the January issue of Illinois Entertainer. (Here’s the link.) “Everyone’s chasing the young viewer and listener, and if you want them you can only get a much smaller slice of the pie,” said O’Dell, who was a treasure. of Chicago radio for four decades. “Stations geared towards listeners aged 25 to 54 are in panic mode as the average age of radio listeners continues to climb. Yet Weigel Broadcasting, in its radio and television products, succeeds in targeting older viewers and listeners. That means we’re not in crisis mode, and we’re releasing a product that straddles my own tastes and preferences, and we’re filling a niche for people in that age group by giving them music that they don’t have. really no other place to get. “

Patty steele

“The Deep Six” gets deeply personal this week when Steve cochran and Patty steele co-host a two-part addiction and codependency special on Cochran’s “Live From My Office” podcast stream. Longtime New York radio personality Steele interviews his son Jacques overcoming his heroin addiction, and Cochran interviews his brother Mickey, who has just scored 18 years of sobriety after 30 years as an alcoholic. Cochran said the pair shared how they tore their family apart and nearly died of their addiction. “The ultimate truth is that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, if you are rich or poor,” he said. “Addiction doesn’t care. The series begins today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and other platforms, including cochranshow.com.

Jeff dickerson

In addition to the outpouring of love and support from friends, fans and colleagues, the death of journalist ESPN Jeff dickerson withdrew $ 1,102,070 for GoFundMe to support his 11-year-old son, Parker. The effort was spearheaded by Good Karma Brands ESPN sports / talk WMVP 1000-AM, where Dickerson covered the Chicago Bears for 20 years. “The incredible public response for Parker is a direct result of the efforts of so many ESPNs,” organizers said. “Every dollar raised through this effort will support Parker’s future and will be overseen by its guardians and administrators.” A graduate of Buffalo Grove High School, Dickerson, 43, died of colon cancer on December 28. Two years earlier, his wife, Caitlin, died in the same hospice facility after battling complications from melanoma.

Michael wilmington

Michael Wilmington, former Chicago Tribune film critic, died Thursday in Los Angeles of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 75 years old. Wilmington joined the Tribune in 1993 when the late Gene Siskel reduced full-time role to focus on TV work. Michael Phillips, who succeeded Wilmington as a film critic in 2006, called him “singular and ardent lover of cinema”. Born in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Wilmington developed a passion for cinema while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also written for the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and Movie City News.

Tuesday’s commentary: Mark Zegan: Newsy has a much better chance of survival, just by broadcasting, as a younger demographic might find it and might find it different and interesting. NewsNation is doomed to fail, and they prove it again by adding George Will. No disrespect, but all cable news networks call for an aging demo. I don’t care if NN is “unbiased”, but this news audience Has already made their choice. You can no longer share this pie. NN’s top rated hours are ALWAYS the entertainment hours. The average audience of the network is therefore always distorted. The network is in the last 15 ranked channels. It’s a huge FAILURE. Ultimately, Nexstar must realize this.

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