Mara Shalhoup Named Editor of Chicago Reader

Creative Loafing (Atlanta) editor Mara Shalhoup has been named to the same position at sister paper Chicago Reader.

She will take over an editorial staff that has witnessed the departure of three editors within an eight-month span.

Shalhoup has been with Creative Loafing’s Atlanta publication since 2000, a fact that was the source of initial skepticism from the Reader staff,
according to the always candid Michael Miner:

Shalhoup’s biggest weakness as a candidate turned out to be an important strength. The sale of the Reader to the Creative Loafing chain in 2007 opened a dark period in the paper’s 40-year history. It was a period marked by slashed budgets, massive layoffs, an ungainly redesign to fit a template dictated from Atlanta, and capricious leadership. Fourteen months later the company declared bankruptcy, and 11 months after that it was taken over by Atalaya Capital Management, the primary creditor. A Creative Loafing product from Atlanta had two strikes on her already when Shalhoup told Draper a few weeks ago that she wanted the job and then came north to try to win over the Reader staff.

But in a series of one-on-one meetings, Shalhoup managed to do that. We told her Creative Loafing stories and she told hers right back. We could at least close our eyes and pretend Atlanta didn’t exist. She had no such luck. She was as much a survivor as any of us, and she’d had a harder war.

Back in Atlanta, Thomas Wheatley described the staff as “sad-eyed” upon hearing the news, but added, “the Reader is a storied publication in one of the country’s most vibrant cities — and a tough opportunity to pass up.”

Shalhoup will start at the Reader on March 7.

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