Robservations: Editor Karen Hawkins named co-publisher of Chicago Reader

Karen Hawkins and Tracy Baim (Photo: GlitterGuts)

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago Reader

Karen Hawkins, co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader, has been named co-publisher of the alternative newspaper. “I am so excited to be joined by Karen as co-publisher,” said Tracy Baim, who's been publisher since 2018. “We worked together 20 years ago at Windy City Times, and have worked to pivot the Reader these past two years. Karen’s leadership and vision will provide a critical role as we seek to navigate the next few years in community media.” The new leadership structure coincides with the Reader's move to a nonprofit business model. Hawkins, who was founding editor and publisher of Rebellious Magazine for Women, joined the Reader as digital managing editor in 2018 and moved up to co-editor (with Sujay Kumar) in 2019. “After two years at the Reader, I believe more now than ever that nonprofit, community-focused local journalism is the future of the industry,” she said. Poised to mark its 50th anniversary in 2021, the Reader publishes daily online and biweekly in print.

Alex Trebek

In tribute to Alex Trebek MeTV will air an hour of programming Friday night dedicated to the late game show host. From 8 to 9 p.m. the Chicago-based network for classic television will air the “Mama’s Family” episode in which Thelma “Mama” Harper (Vicki Lawrence) appears on “Jeopardy!” and wins a trip for the family to Hawaii, and the “Cheers” episode in which know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) appears as a contestant on the show as well. Trebek, who hosted “Jeopardy!” for nearly 37 years, died of cancer Sunday at 80.

Samantha Thomas

Samantha Thomas, evening personality on Midway Broadcasting news/talk WVON 1690-AM, will host "Talent," a six-part video series highlighting music performers in Chicago. It will premiere at 7 p.m. Thursday on VON-tv, Midway Broadcasting's new digital streaming platform. Featured artists include Opal Staples, Miracle Holloway and Brionna Sorret. "We wanted to use our national platform to showcase some of the outstanding music talent that comes out of Chicago," said supervising producer Tracey Scruggs.

Chicago at the Crossroad

"Chicago at the Crossroad," an Emmy-nominated documentary about how the elimination of public housing led to instability and violent crime on Chicago’s South and West sides, will premiere at 8 p.m. Thursday on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. It will repeat at 5 p.m. Sunday. Written, produced and directed by Chicago filmmaker Brian Schodorf, the doc features candid interviews with gang members, community activists, gunshot victims and community leaders. (Here is the link to the trailer.)

David Jackson

Monday’s comment of the day: David Jackson: Let the hedge funds and grave dancers hold their own ball. On November 20 I'll be talking to my heroes, to my city and to my beloved peeps. Thank you [Chicago Journalists Association] for giving this Chicago child a chance to tell it like it is. . . . Forgive me for calling this a mid-lifetime achievement because I do hope to write another chapter. But Next Gen investigative reporters, the endless future is yours and yours alone.