More details have come to light on the CL, Inc. decision to fire long-time Chicago Reader editor Alison True. Speaking to senior editor Michael Miner -- who on Friday described True's firing as a "tragic misjudgment" -- Reader publisher Alison Draper indicated that the paper's next editor will be expected to collaborate more often with the business side:

"The editor of the Reader," said Draper, "has to work closely with sales to find innovative ways to take our fair share of the dollars that are shrinking and shrinking quickly." She promised me that she wouldn't "blur" the line between editorial and advertising, but she would "push" it. The distinction was clearer to her than it was to me.
Miner goes on to explain that True was fired at a Starbucks after the paper's Best of Chicago issue came out. It was, Miner says, the "fattest, most successful issue in years, a triumph True and Draper should have been sharing in."

Continue ReadingPublisher Says Chicago Reader Will “Push” Line Between Editorial and Advertising

Alison True has been fired as editor of the Chicago Reader after twenty-six years with the paper. According to senior editor Michael Miner, the decision was announced during a staff meeting this morning by Reader publisher Alison Draper. Said Miner, "I consider this act unfathomable — a tragic misjudgment by two people, Draper and [Creative Loafing CEO Marty] Petty, whom I respect. I suppose they have a vision of tomorrow's Reader they think True is wrong for."

According to Chicago Business, True was caught completely off guard by the move.

Continue ReadingAlison True Out as Editor of Chicago Reader

At a press conference last week on gun control, Reader staff writer Mick Dumke asked Mayor Richard Daley how effective he thought the city's restrictive gun laws have been, considering the shootings and murders have continued at a high rate. Daley, rather than addressing the issue, picked up a rifle and addressed Dumke directly. "It's been very effective," he said, chuckling. "If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. Let me put a round up your, you know." The next day Daley said he regretted his choice of words, while his spokesperson said Dumke was "missing the point" with his line of questioning, a view not shared by the reporter. "Actually, they're missing the point, and they're of course doing it on purpose. They want to miss the point," Dumke writes. "The point is that there's a critical discussion that needs to take place around here about gun control, violence, an understaffed police force, neglected neighborhoods, chronic joblessness, the war on drugs, failing schools, and the priorities of public officials. But Mayor Daley has shown no signs of being interested in it. He's decided what needs to happen, and we're either with him or against him."


Continue ReadingChicago Mayor Threatens to Shove Gun Up Chicago Reader Staffer’s Butt

Writers from the Chicago Reader, L.A. Weekly and Westword all took home top prizes at this year's James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards, which recognize excellence in food writing. The Reader's Cliff Doerksen won in the Newspaper Feature Writing category for his feature on mince pie, and Westword's Jared Jacang Maher came out on top in the Newspaper Feature Writing About Restaurants and/or Chefs category for his piece on the pay-what-you-want SAME Cafe. Meanwhile, the Weekly's Pulitzer-winning food critic Jonathan Gold added another awards notch to his belt with a win in the Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Reviews category.

Continue ReadingThree Alt-Weekly Writers Pick Up James Beard Awards

Jim Warren, who was named publisher of the Reader last fall, told the paper's staff this morning that he's resigning to take on "enhanced duties" with the Chicago News Cooperative, a public-service news service launched last fall. The interim publisher will be Alison Draper, the former Dallas Observer publisher of the Dallas Observer whom was recently named vice president and chief sales officer of the Creative Loafing papers. MORE: Romenesko has the full memo from Warren.

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Publisher Steps Aside

John Conroy has turned to the stage to tell the story of police brutality he spent more than a decade covering at the Reader. The two-act "My Kind of Town," Conroy's first effort as a playwright, fictionalizes some of the stories of police torture he encountered in the city. He tells the New York Times that for the play he tried to create characters with moral ambiguities in order to stimulate conversations about the audience members' own feelings on torture. "I'm not a 'gotcha' reporter, and I wasn't out to paint cops in any simplistic good-and-evil way," Conroy says. "And I didn't want to tell a story that said that the guilty cops have to be punished or the righteous have to win, but rather that these were real human beings who had to make choices that we as a society need to see -- and that those choices had consequences that we as a society and city need to deal with."

Continue ReadingEx-Chicago Reader Reporter Dramatizes His Work on Police Torture