Robservations: Suburban staffers protest stalled talks with tronc


Robservations on the media beat:

Editorial employees at the Pioneer Press suburban newspapers, the Lake County News-Sun and the Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune, who’ve been without a contract since last December, are turning up the heat on owner tronc. In a letter to advertisers, the 25 journalists represented by Chicago News Guild said their pay rates are the same as they were eight years ago, and there has been “no sign that the company plans to make any serious offer to us.” In an effort to jumpstart talks, community leafletting will begin this week. One-quarter of the Pioneer Press staff was fired in layoffs earlier this year. "Tronc cannot cry poor when its stock is rising, the CEO salary increases to over $8 million, and it's buying new assets,” said Rick Kambic, Pioneer Press unit chair of the Guild. “Aside from that, we have numerous unresolved non-economic issues in which tronc is refusing to meet us half way." Tronc did not respond for comment.

Mark Suppelsa

Ratings were higher than average for Mark Suppelsa’s emotional sendoff Friday as lead anchorman at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. Nielsen numbers showed 112,190 households tuned in to the final 10 p.m. newscast he anchored with Micah Materre, Tom Skilling and Dan Roan. (But that was only good enough for third place behind NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.) Suppelsa, 55, retired from the business after 36 years to move with his wife to their cabin in Montana. No decision has been made on a successor as WGN’s 5, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. news anchor. “We’re bringing in a few more candidates before we make some decisions,” said Jennifer Lyons, news director of WGN.

Jimmy Greenfield

Jimmy Greenfield, who’s been supervising hundreds of blogs on the ChicagoNow website for nine years, has been named digital sports editor for Succeeding him as ChicagoNow’s community manager will be Matt Schwerha, a tronc content manager and former managing editor of Aggrego. “Somehow, this eclectic group of so many races, backgrounds and ages discovered this common site and agreed it was a safe place to write,” Greenfield wrote in a farewell email to bloggers. “You have done and will continue to do extraordinary work. ChicagoNow has worked because of you and for that I’ll always be grateful.” Greenfield, a Highland Park native, joined the Tribune as an editorial assistant in 1995.

Bill Campbell

Friends and colleagues are rallying to help Bill Campbell, former public affairs host and editorial director at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, who suffered a stroke. They’ve started a GoFundMe page to assist his recovery. (Here is the link.) “Although Bill had insurance, much of the cost of Bill’s care isn’t covered by his insurance, because his stroke was atypical, symptoms that don’t exactly fit certain narrow rules and technicalities that insurance has set,” according to the page. “This is despite orders and urgent recommendations from Bill’s neurologists and neurosurgeons.” Campbell, 67, retired in 2010 after 32 years at ABC 7.

Friday’s best comment: Bobby Skafish: Happy for Chicago radio that Delilah is coming back. She gives off such warmth and goodness.