Wednesday, March 21, 2012



I have reproduced below in redacted form a letter I sent to Robert Feder, dean of Chicago media reporters, expressing my concerns about the “new look” at the Chicago Sun-Times. Developments at the Sun-Times are sufficiently troubling that I felt it necessary to share my thoughts with my readers.

Robert, by the way, is now at Time Out Chicago and can be found at:


Hi Robert,

I miss your column in the Sun-Times and, sad to say, have only sporadically followed you in your “new” gig, usually when something big happens in the media around town, the latter because you are the man in Chicago media. After going to the site to look for your comments about a very troubling development in Chicago media (See the following paragraphs.), I took the time to subscribe to your newsletter via e-mail. I look forward to reading you more regularly.

What concerns me and therefore prompted the aforementioned visit to your site is the transformation of the Sun-Times into a Midwestern version of the New York Daily News or Post, which should not be surprising given the new guy in charge. The paper is rapidly becoming (has become?) a joke. After long defending the Sun-Times to my fellow suburbanites as a “must read” for those who want to follow local news, and especially local politics, I am finding it increasingly difficult, well nigh impossible, to continue this defense in light of the “new” Sun-Times as my friends’ long, and formerly largely baseless, argument that the Sun-Times is just a tabloid rag seems to be coming true. One has to think that my old friend Jim Tyree has to be spinning in his grave.

One of my greatest concerns is that some, perhaps many, of the good newspeople and/or columnists at the Sun-Times will leave in disgust. Given the condition of the job market in journalism, this is perhaps an exaggerated fear, and I suspect the powers-that-be at the Sun-Times are counting on job insecurity to keep people there.

I hope that we hear from you soon regarding the new Sun-Times, Robert; your voice means a lot (yes, even to those in management at the Sun-Times) and you might be able to effect some much needed re-examination of this new course. I fear, though, that, given the general decline in genuine literacy that characterizes our society and people’s seemingly endless appetite for fluff and disdain for difficult, challenging, thought-provoking reporting and commentary on issues that really matter, there is no turning back at the Sun-Times.

Thanks, Robert; I look forward to reading you regularly again.

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