Robservations: New Crain's Forum tackles area's toughest problems

The Crain's Forum (Image: Daniel Hertzberg)

Robservations on the media beat:

Crain's Chicago Business has launched an ambitious yearlong project online and in print to address what it calls the "seemingly intractable problems" facing Chicago and Illinois. Starting today, The Crain's Forum will explore a specific topic in depth each month with a dedicated website (outside the publication's pay wall) and a six-page special section in print. First up is the state's unfunded pension system and the path to solvency. (Here is the link.) Future topics will include affordable housing, gun violence and education funding. Hugh Dellios, a former editor at the Chicago Tribune, Associated Press and NPR, is editing the collection of stories, columns and editorials. "The goal is to respectfully and objectively raise the conversation about these issues," said Jim Kirk, publisher and executive editor of Crain's Chicago Business. "Most important, we want to make readers aware of the power that information can bring to creating meaningful change in regard to the challenges ahead for our city and state."

Marcella Raymond

Marcella Raymond, who disclosed this week that her job as a reporter for Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 has given her post-traumatic stress disorder, is continuing to speak out. In addition to several more posts on her Facebook blog, Raymond elaborated on her ordeal in a lengthy and revealing interview with Chicago Ambassador blogger Bob Chiarito. (Here is the link.) "I just want to make sure people know they aren’t alone and maybe some of it is therapeutic for me to tell it, but I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer," she said. "I think people are fascinated with TV reporters and think our jobs are glamorous, so I wanted to show them how hard it is and how un-glamorous it is."

The Summer of 1969

Summer weather may be elusive, but at least the music of summer is here. Me-TV FM, Weigel Broadcasting’s soft-rock oldies and classic hits WRME 87.7-FM, is turning back the clock this weekend to the summer of 1969. Starting today, the special will air in conjunction with Kent Kotal's Forgotten Hits, which has compiled a list of top 50 songs from the national charts and the Chicagoland charts from that summer 50 years ago. (Here is the link.)

Jill Manuel

Jill Manuel, a former television news executive in Chicago and Cleveland, has been named director of content at KXTV, the ABC affiliate in Sacramento, California. She will oversee content creation online and on-air and will be responsible for increasing audiences across multiple platforms. "This is honestly one of the most innovative newsrooms I have ever worked with," she said. Manuel, who had been a morning show consultant for the station, previously was news director of Tribune Broadcasting CLTV and assistant news director of Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. She most recently was a principal at Chicago-based consultancy JCAT Group.

The Drive 97.1 FM

WDRV 97.1-FM, the Hubbard Radio classic rock station known as The Drive, was named Major Market Iconic Station of the Year Thursday in the second annual Conclave Radio Awards in Minneapolis. Of five stations nominated for the Crystal Mic Award, two were from Hubbard Chicago — The Drive and hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM. Rob Cressman, program director of The Drive, was on hand to accept the award, which recognizes "inventive ways stations give back to their communities."

Amy Louise Williams, the driver of the car in which Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock was fatally injured, posted a photo of the accident on her Facebook page Thursday. Williams, a former Chicago television producer, was driving a 2004 Lexus on a highway near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on April 6 when it crossed the median and struck a 2018 Land Rover, according to police reports. Coppock died of multiple injuries 11 days later. "PLEASE let this be a message to always wear your seatbelt, AND don't let anyone ride in your car that will not," Williams wrote. "Not worth it. So sorry Chester, I love you and will always miss you!"

(Photo: Facebook/Amy Louise Williams)