Sun-Times cuts features editor in ongoing overhaul
Robservations on the media beat:
- The management makeover of the Sun-Times continued Monday with the elimination of Amanda Barrett’s position as features editor. Under new editor-in-chief Jim Kirk, the job is expected to be redefined more broadly, with responsibilities for features at all publications owned by Sun-Times Media. Kirk told editors he’s likely to fill the new position from outside. Barrett, who joined the Sun-Times as a copy editor in 2000, held a variety of jobs with the company (including a brief stint as managing editor of the Naperville Sun) before she was named features editor in 2007. She’s married to Larry Hamel, a sports editor at the Sun-Times.
- I was 12 years old when anti-war demonstrators clashed with police during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Even at that age, I clearly understood why the protesters were there and what they meant when they chanted: “The Whole World Is Watching.” But after three days of following the coverage of this week’s NATO demonstrations, I’m still unsure what all the shouting was about. For that I hold the local media at least partially responsible. Television stations had their cameras and reporters in the right places, to be sure, but fell short when it came to conveying a meaningful narrative. Without a ’68-style cataclysm to cover, they ultimately came off as relieved, let down and maybe just a little bit embarrassed by all the alarmist hype. Sort of how I felt after Y2K.
- Bill Kurtis has moved a step closer to reprising his role as narrator for the upcoming sequel to Will Ferrell’s Anchorman. Just as he did in the 2004 original, the Chicago news icon deadpans the intro to a teaser trailer for the new version, posted Monday on FunnyorDie.com. When Ferrell first announced plans for the return of Ron Burgundy last March, Kurtis told me he’d have no qualms about making a comeback, too. “I would certainly be interested in reprising the role,” he said.
- Whiz kid Brian Boyer, news applications editor for Chicago Tribune Media Group, was hired Monday to create and lead a news apps team at NPR. Among his goals will be to localize NPR’s national stories and to provide new tools for journalists to use data. “Leaving @tribapps will be very, very difficult,” Boyer tweeted. “I love my job, and am looking forward to loving my new job.” Bill Adee, vice president of digital operations at the Tribune, said he plans to hire a replacement for Boyer.
- Veteran Chicago sportscaster Kenny McReynolds is home recovering from a heart attack and surgery to repair a ruptured esophagus. He was stricken May 13 on his way back from a Big Ten Network broadcast and drove himself to the hospital. McReynolds said he hopes to return in June full time to Weigel Broadcasting, where he’s been sports director for 12 years. He continues to host Sports Edition, a weekly sports interview show, at 7am Sundays on Me-TV, 10am Sundays on U-Too, 9:30am Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays on Chicago Cable Channel 23, and 5:30pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on Chicago Cable Channel 49.