Robservations on the media beat:
Two days before Bobby Moynihan was expected to headline a sold-out event at Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications, he canceled. The manager for the former "Saturday Night Live" cast member called Thursday to say that Moynihan had to be in Los Angeles because of a "sudden scheduling conflict," according to a spokeswoman for the museum. "Feel absolutely awful about this last minute change," Moynihan tweeted. "As a lifelong SNL fan I was looking forward to this more than you know." Dean Richards was to have moderated the "Conversations in Comedy" program Saturday in conjunction with the museum's “Saturday Night Live: The Experience” exhibition, which runs through March 31. "Excited to see the exhibit and reschedule this before the exhibit closes in March," Moynihan wrote. "See you soon." Ticket holders will receive refunds.
Lauren Stauffer, who began her career as an intern at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, is returning home to Chicago as managing editor of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Starting March 11, she will fill the position previously held by Richard Maginn, according to Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5. Stauffer, a native of west suburban Wheaton, most recently has been executive producer at WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., where she worked since 2013.
Now under independent ownership, the Chicago Reader raised more than $100,000 from more than 2,400 people and businesses in the alternative weekly's first fund-raising drive. "We could not be more happy with the support this campaign showed us," said Tracy Baim, publisher of the Reader. "Whether it was individuals who mailed in $1 money orders, others who came into the office with $5, or someone who generously donated $4,800, every single buck made a difference. Every contribution has motivated us. We want to save the Reader one reader at a time. We pledge to do our very best in every aspect of this work, from the editorial, art, photographic, and digital departments to sales, events, and circulation."
Nekia Nichelle, a Chicago broadcast personality and traffic reporter for iHeartMedia stations here, has been hired as morning news co-anchor at ABC affiliate WTVO and Fox affiliate WQRF in Rockford. Nichelle, who started as a producer for iHeartMedia, most recently has been reporting traffic for urban adult-contemporary WVAZ 102.7-FM. She also has been a lifestyle and entertainment reporter.
Colleagues at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 are hailing Debra Zimmer as a "newscast maestro" and a trailblazer in the business. Zimmer retired Thursday after 47 years as a television director. She joined CBS 2 in 1988 after working for ABC-owned KGO in San Francisco and NBC-owned WKYC in Cleveland. It's estimated that she directed more than 30,000 newscasts. "Debra made TV better, and more importantly, she made working in TV better for those that followed, for 47 years," said CBS 2 reporter Brad Edwards. Added CBS 2 news anchor Rob Johnson: "It is tough saying goodbye to one of the greatest directors I have ever worked with."
Todd Wallack, investigative and data reporter for the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, will be keynote speaker at FOIA Fest, the Chicago Headline Club’s seventh annual seminar February 23 on the Freedom of Information Act. The daylong event at Loyola University’s Schreiber Center will feature panels and workshops with leading journalists, attorneys and community groups. (Here is the link for tickets.)
Thursday's comment of the day: Paul Wheeler: Bravo Jennifer [Lyons]! I've worked with her and she's a class act. I'm a cameraman at CBS 2 and not only did our management stop our live shots during this cold snap, our GM Derrick Dalton had hot chili and chicken soup for the photographers in the crew room! And they're shuttling employees who walk to Union Station. Top that, Lyons!