Lara Weber, a versatile and innovative editor at the Chicago Tribune for more than two decades, has been appointed to the editorial board of the newspaper.
Bruce Dold, editorial page editor of the Tribune, announced Friday that Weber would have a key role on the board as a writer and editor, focusing on the selection and editing of essays, columns, letters and other content for the commentary pages and online opinion section.
Weber fills the vacancy created by the resignation last month of Greg Burns, who stepped down to join Allstate Corp. as manager of financial communications.
Weber most recently has been the Tribune’s events editor, producing the “Chicago Live!” stage series and overseeing other public events under the Trib Nation banner.
A graduate of the University of Kansas and former editor for the Rockford Register-Star and Times of Northwest Indiana, Weber joined the Tribune as a one-year resident on the business copy desk in 1993. Except for two years off with the Peace Corps, she held variety of reporting and editing positions since then. She was part of the team that launched RedEye in 2002 and served as its first news editor.
Here is the text of Dold’s email to staff:
I am very excited to announce that Lara Weber will join the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.
Lara has been a creative force as an editor in nearly every department of the newsroom during her 22 years at the Tribune.
She has been events editor since 2012, overseeing all of the live public events produced under the Trib Nation banner. We developed Chicago Forward, our public policy events series. She and Rick Kogan created “Chicago Live!,” a stage show designed to give Tribune readers a new way to engage with newsmakers and arts personalities. Lara has produced events with a wide range of subjects, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Elie Wiesel, Patti Smith, Mark Cuban, Marlo Thomas and Cookie Monster.
Lara started at the Tribune in 1993 as a one-year resident on the Business copy desk, followed by a year and a half on the Sports desk (during Michael Jordan’s famed White Sox season), four years as a Graphics editor and a year on the National/Foreign source desk.
She left the Tribune in late 1999 to join the Peace Corps. She lived in a remote village in eastern Zambia from 2000 to 2002, where she worked on HIV/AIDS awareness projects as a community health volunteer at a time when much of Africa was just beginning to address the virus as a health crisis. In 2005 she served for one month as a Peace Corps volunteer in New Orleans, working with firefighters on disaster assessment and relief following Hurricane Katrina.
After her assignment in Zambia, Lara returned to the Tribune in late 2002 to work with Joe Knowles, Jane Hirt and Mike Kellams on the launch of RedEye. She served as its first news editor, overseeing 2003 coverage of the E2 nightclub stampede and a deadly porch collapse in Chicago.
In 2005, Lara returned to the “Blue” side as an associate Features editor and helped to launch the “At Play” section. In 2008, she was editor of the Smart section and then helped launch the Sunday section.
She spent a week in 2011 as a visiting writer on the Editorial Board, where she crafted excellent editorials about Facebook privacy and a bid to create a Music Row in Chicago. (Chalk up Facebook privacy and Music Row as unfinished business.)
Before joining the Tribune, Lara worked for the Rockford Register-Star and the Times of Northwest Indiana. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and remains a die-hard Jayhawks fan. She lives in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago.
Lara will have a key role as a writer and editor on the Editorial Board with a focus on the selection and editing of essays, columns, letters and other content for our expanded commentary pages and chicagotribune.com opinion section
Please join me in congratulating Lara.