Robservations: Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein to retire

John von Rhein (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

Robservations on the media beat:

Howard Reich

After more than 40 years as classical music critic of the Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein announced Wednesday he’ll retire on July 1. “It’s been a great ride, but the time has come to move off into other ventures and give somebody else a shot at one of the best jobs in journalism,” von Rhein, 72, wrote in a letter to readers. He joined the Tribune in 1977 from the Akron Beacon Journal. Succeeding him on the classical music beat will be veteran arts writer (and Van Cliburn biographer) Howard Reich, who’ll also continue as jazz critic. “I wish my longtime colleague the very best in his work going forward,” von Rhein wrote.

Heather Cherone

Heather Cherone, former City Hall reporter for the late DNAinfo Chicago, has been named managing editor of The Daily Line, the subscription newsletter on state and local politics. She will continue to cover City Hall as well. A native of Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood and graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Cherone previously worked for the Tribune, where she helped launch TribLocal in the suburbs. Her promotion coincides with new ownership of The Daily Line, led by primary investors Don and Jay Vincent. Founding publisher Mike Fourcher has left the company. “Jay and Don Vincent are terrific people, who have been supporters of and investors in the mission of The Daily Line since its earliest days,” Fourcher said. “They will be great stewards of the company and its journalistic goals.”

Steve Baskerville

The always sunny meteorologist Steve Baskerville will emcee the 27th annual Silver Circle Awards Friday at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. Sponsored by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, this year’s event will honor broadcasters Mike Adamle, Chuck Davidson, Chuck Goudie, Terry Savage, Jim Williams and (posthumously) Bill Frink, Frazier Thomas and Robert Trendler, along with former FCC chairman Newton Minow. Baskerville, who retired in December after 30 years at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, was inducted into the Silver Circle last year.

Peter Nickeas

Chicago Tribune reporter Peter Nickeas has been awarded a Nieman Fellowship, starting this fall. During his year at Harvard, Nickeas will “study the effects of trauma on children and use that understanding to inform editorial decisions and make violence coverage more accessible to readers,” according to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. “I believe deeply in the work we do here and I'm incredibly fortunate and grateful for this opportunity,” he tweeted.

Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney, the actress, 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 Julia Sweeney” May 22 will be moderated by Chicago author and broadcaster Jenniffer Weigel. (Here is the link for ticket information.)

Jay Bushinsky

Jay Bushinsky, who began in 1966 as a foreign correspondent based in Israel for the Chicago Daily News and later for the Sun-Times, went on to cover the Middle East for Westinghouse Broadcasting, CNN and CBS Radio stations including all-news WBBM 780-AM. He also wrote for many other newspapers. Bushinsky, 85, died Wednesday at his home in Savyon, Israel. A native of Buffalo, New York, and graduate of Queens College, Yeshiva University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame in 2002.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Jim Vail: Soooooo easy to be a big business today; just wipe out a billion dollars in debt like it never happened and move on. Oh, and never mind about all the suppliers you stiffed along the way.