The Reader's Mike Sula wrote a story a few weeks ago about a pair of suburban stay-at-home dads who make and sell bacon and sausage without having proper USDA certification. This week, a restaurant that was mentioned in the piece was visited by inspectors from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, who confiscated 80 pounds of bacon that lacked a mark of inspection and some headcheese that had been inspected only by Wisconsin officials. The inspectors say their actions were prompted by the Reader's article. Meanwhile, the dads profiled in the original piece say they are ceasing operations until they can make their company "legally operational." Sula tallies up the score: "Nanny State: 2 Real food: 0." MORE from the Chicago Tribune.

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Story on ‘Charcuterie Underground’ Leads to Raid

"The appointment of Jim Warren as publisher of the Reader has made the position of associate publisher redundant, in the view of the Reader's owners, and Steve Timble, who held that position and has been acting as publisher, has left the paper," Michael Miner reported in late October. (Ed: We missed this news when it broke; our apologies.) Timble, who was also the founding publisher of Time Out Chicago, had held the associate publisher position since September 2008.

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Associate Publisher Leaves the Paper

"The best newspapers maintain a wall between publishers and editors, and nothing crosses it but the budget. The Reader is no exception," Michael Miner writes. But he notes that's about to change with the hiring of James Warren -- an editorial veteran -- as the paper's new publisher. Warren, who says he hopes to "be pretty involved" on the editorial side, adds that he thinks his appointment "is an implicit affirmation of the link between quality journalism and a successful business," and Creative Loafing Inc. bosses are saying the move shows the Reader's commitment to editorial excellence. But as the paper's editor points out, it is important the business and editorial sides stay in their own corners. "It's good to hear the board and Warren acknowledging how important journalism is to the success of the company," Alison True says. "Because we're looking forward to getting the resources to support it. But if that wall disappears, so does our credibility."

Continue ReadingChicago Reader’s New Publisher Hopes to ‘Be Pretty Involved’ Editorially

James C. Warren, who was previously co-managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and before that the Tribune's Washington bureau chief, was named the Reader's new president and publisher today. He will start on Nov. 2. "If I bought into much conventional wisdom concerning high-quality print journalism, I'd be entering the fields of clean energy solar panels or medical robots. But I don't," Warren said in a statement. "Rather, I believe The Reader can be an even greater success if it is provocative, makes those in power squirm and yet is willing to entertain and have fun."

Continue ReadingLongtime Chicago Journalist Named Publisher of the Chicago Reader

In his new book, The Governor, Rod Blagojevich points fingers at many local politicians for his fall from grace. But he also blames the press, including the Chicago Reader, for his problems. In the middle of a chapter on how 33rd Ward alderman Richard Mell (who is also Blago's father-in-law) used the media to spread damaging rumors, he writes: "The first story I recall seeing was in the Reader newspaper. I think the title was 'Mell Gets the Shaft.'" He continues: "I felt violated. I felt betrayed. Who goes to the press about his own family?" Ben Joravsky, the author of said article, points out that the story was actually titled "Rod Gives 'Em the Shaft," and then goes on to tell his side of how that story came about.

Continue ReadingBlago Says the Reader Started Media Onslaught That Led to His Fall

Managing partner Michael Bogdan tells the Chicago Tribune that without the crushing debt, Creative Loafing is now generating positive cash flow, which will allow the individual papers to hire new employees "to fill holes where they need to grow." He acknowledges that despite all the promises, employees at the six-paper company will likely remain skeptical of Atalaya. "I don't expect people to trust me right now," he says. "The proof's in the pudding." MORE: Chicago Reader associate publisher Steve Timble discusses the sale and the new media landscape on WTTW's Chicago Tonight TV show.

Continue ReadingAtalaya: CL Generating Positive Cash Flow, Will ‘Fill Holes’ Soon

"Maybe we should have been smarter, or less starry-eyed about it, but we thought and hoped Eason would succeed," says Mike Lenehan, who owned a small part of the Reader before it was sold to Eason. "I don't think there would have been much sentiment to do [the deal] if we thought he'd turn out to be Ben Eason. Maybe we should have known better -- but that's what we thought." MORE: Reader media columnist Michael Miner discusses the paper's future with Chicago Public Radio, and Creative Loafing (Tampa) publisher Sharry Smith has sent out a memo calling Atalaya's acquisition of the company "a very positive development." (AAN News has been told the memo was drafted by all of the CL publishers together.)

Continue ReadingFormer Chicago Reader Editor Reflects on Sale to Ben Eason

"Creative Loafing's bankruptcy is just one more media story to follow, along with the Sun-Times Media Group's bankruptcy and the Tribune Company's bankruptcy," Michael Miner writes. "But CL's is the story I'm part of." He explores the difficulties of "reporting on your own house" as a media writer, and explains why he kept news of Reader layoffs off his blog for four days -- and didn't name any of the departing staffers -- just days after he had broken news of layoffs -- with names -- at Chicago Public Radio. "I have no explanation that will satisfactorily answer this question," he writes. "The fancy one I'll retreat to is one word long: epistemology. You see, it's not simply what journalists know that matters to us but also how we happen to know it. I knew what happened at WBEZ because I got a tip and worked the story; I knew about the Reader because it's home."

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Media Writer Reflects on Covering Creative Loafing

Kirk MacDonald, who was also COO of Creative Loafing Inc., is leaving the company to rejoin the Denver Newspaper Agency, which controls the business operations of the Denver Post, as executive vice president for sales, marketing, and digital sales. MacDonald, who joined the Reader in September 2008, says CL CEO Ben Eason will take over the COO duties temporarily, and that a new publisher will be named for the Reader.

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Publisher Steps Down

Reader media critic Michael Miner points out the striking similarity between a cover RedEye ran yesterday and one the Reader ran less than a month ago. But RedEye's editor claims no one from his paper ever saw the alt-weekly's April 9 issue. "As for the design, I had not seen that issue of The Reader, nor had my staff," Tran Ha says. "I mean, it was a story about parking meters - and some parking meters say 'fail' when they don't work."

Continue ReadingDid RedEye Rip Off a Chicago Reader Cover?