Robservations: Tronc execs get richer while Tribune cuts staff

Tribune Tower

Robservations on the media beat:

Chris Kuc

One day after the Chicago Tribune axed a dozen journalists, parent company tronc disclosed raises and bonuses for chief executive officer Justin Dearborn and chief financial officer Terry Jimenez. The notice in the company’s annual report Friday followed the award of a $15 million consulting contract to Merrick Ventures, another company owned by tronc chairman Michael Ferro. Tronc still won’t confirm the names (or even the number) of Tribune employees who lost their jobs Thursday. But sources said there were 12, including sports writer Chris Kuc, who tweeted that he learned his fate while covering a team on the road. Kuc, the son of veteran Chicago sportscaster Jerry Kuc, began working at the Tribune while in high school at Hinsdale South. Among others laid off were Washington correspondent Kathy Skiba, education reporter Diane Rado, artist Phil Geib, visual editor Michael Zajakowski, and copy editors Jason Morris and Mark Misulonas.

John Barron

Another notable departure from Tribune Tower last week was John Barron, whose position was eliminated as editor/general manager of Tribune Content Agency, the syndication and licensing unit of tronc. Barron, a former publisher and editor of the Sun-Times, oversaw the acquisition of McClatchy-Tribune Information Services and its transformation to Tribune News Service. “Along the way, I had the chance to be involved in the hiring of about 20 great journalists,” Barron said. “That was something I never thought I'd have the chance to do again. At TCA, I learned a lot about current and cutting-edge content business models. I'm looking forward to using all my experience on what comes next.”

Julian Jackson

Julian Jackson, vice president of design at Milwaukee Public Museum, has been named executive director of Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street. He previously was director of experience design at the Adler Planetarium. “Julian is uniquely qualified as well as genuinely enthused about leading the future of the MBC,” museum chairman Larry Wert said in a statement. “We are looking forward to new ways and expressions of telling the broadcasting communications story, and the board is excited to be working with Julian to bring life to that vision.” Bruce DuMont, museum founder and president emeritus, retired at the end of last year after leading the museum since its inception.

Horatio Sanz

Horatio Sanz, the actor, comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, will headline the next “Conversation in Comedy” at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. In conjunction with the museum’s ongoing “Saturday Night Live: The Experience” exhibition, “An Evening with SNL Alum Horatio Sanz”  April 12 will be moderated by Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper. (Here is the link for ticket information.)

Stephanie Zimmermann

It’s on to the next chapter for consumer reporting dynamo Stephanie Zimmermann after five years as a reporter/producer with the investigative unit at ABC News. Known as “The Fixer,” she was responsible for recovering more than $2 million for consumers. “It was a great five years, working with some awesome colleagues and learning how to do TV,” she told Facebook friends. “I wish it could have gone on longer, but I'm psyched to find something new.” Before joining ABC, Zimmerman spent 16 years as a reporter, weekend city desk editor, and consumer-help columnist for the Sun-Times. Earlier she worked for the Daily Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Jessica Sedgwick

Happy to note the recent hiring of Jessica Sedgwick as art director of Chicago magazine. Sedgwick, who previously held the same position at Splash, spent 10 years at the Sun-Times as a top features designer and shopping columnist. Before that she was a page designer and copy editor at the Daily Southtown. At Chicago magazine she reports to design director Kathy Shady.

Friday’s comment of the day: Mark Caro: Can't you just have columnists you like and don't like, as we all do, instead of wanting to vote hard-working people out of jobs on a day when the Tribune let go of some really good people?