Robservations: Tribune layoffs cost White Sox, Blackhawks coverage

Chicago Tribune (Photo: Stephen Battaglio)

Robservations on the media beat:

If you’re wondering how the Chicago Tribune will continue to cover the White Sox and the Blackhawks without dedicated beat writers, you’re not alone. As part of the latest wave of editorial job cuts at the newspaper, the layoffs of sportswriters Chris Kuc and Paul Skrbina leave the two teams without a full-time Tribune reporter assigned to travel with them. So what’s the plan? I tried to ask Tribune managing editor Peter Kendall, associate managing editor for sports Joe Knowles, and sports editor Tim Bannon, but couldn’t get an answer. I did receive this statement from a tronc spokesperson: “The Chicago Tribune is fully committed to covering the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Blackhawks. We value and understand the importance of covering sports both for fans and our readers.” Hope that clears everything up.

Steve Stone

White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone has been signed as baseball analyst at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720, starting this week. Through the World Series, Stone will appear every Friday on Steve Cochran’s morning show and every Monday on Roe Conn’s afternoon show, according to Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content at WGN. In February WGN announced a three-year deal to broadcast all 162 White Sox regular season and postseason games as well as select spring training games.

Cassie Walker Burke

Cassie Walker Burke, assistant managing editor of Crain’s Chicago Business, has been named Chicago bureau chief for the New York-based education news outlet Chalkbeat. The nonprofit news organization will be hiring two reporters to work under Burke in Chicago. Before joining Crain’s in 2014, Burke was executive editor of Chicago magazine. The Alabama native and former reporter for the LaGrange Daily News in LaGrange, Georgia, graduated from Auburn University and received a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Ben Bradley

Chicago TV’s big winner on primary election night Tuesday was WGN-Channel 9. The Tribune Broadcasting station swept the ratings from 6 to 11 p.m. for its marathon coverage. Especially noteworthy was WGN’s victory at 10 p.m. when “Chicago’s Very Own” beat all four of its rivals straight up. It was WGN’s first election night since Mark Suppelsa retired as main news anchor in December. Ben Bradley smoothly filled in alongside Micah Matere. WGN awaits the arrival next month of Suppelsa’s replacement, Joe Donlon, who moves up from Portland, Oregon.

Leslie Mueller

Four Chicago museums will be spotlighted in “Museum Access,” a 10-part public television series to premiere next month on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. With Chicagoan Leslie Mueller as host and executive producer, the series will feature stories about the Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and Museum of Broadcast Communications, among others. “Hearing from museum experts at the top of their game and getting behind-the-scenes peeks just adds to the adventure,” Mueller said in a statement. “With over 35,000 museums in the United States, there’s a treasure trove of new places to explore.” WTTW will air “Museum Access” at 11 a.m. Sundays, starting April 1.

Matthew Harris

Matthew Harris has moved up to promotion director of iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5. Before joining the station’s programming team late last year, the Bradley University graduate worked as promotions director and on-air personality for Cumulus Media stations in Peoria. At WGCI he reports to Echo Robinson, newly named director of marketing and promotions for iHeartMedia Chicago.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Vicki Smilkowski: Mary Schmich won a Pulitzer Prize; and unlike you [Bill K Walsh], she can spell.