Ex-Chicago Tribune writer James Warren to be publisher of Creative Loafing's Chicago Reader
He's the biggest name yet drafted by the New York hedge fund which took over ownership of the Tampa-based alternative newspaper chain Creative Loafing; James Warren, former Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune and longtime TV pundit, will become publisher of the Chicago Reader.
The publisher's job has been vacant since July; in August, a bankruptcy judge approved a bid from New York firm Atalaya Capital Management to take over ownership of the Creative Loafing chain of newspapers from Ben Eason, the son of the founders.
Back then, Atalaya officials cited a group of advisors including former Chicago Tribune managing editor James O'Shea. now, Warren's appointment will likely be used as further proof the hedge fund doesn't intend to simply sell the newspapers, but hopes to improve them, first.
Some may recall Warren's many media appearances on cable TV news shows during the presidential campaign, often called in to explain then-candidate Obama's roots in Chicago and his appeal in Washington.
Click below to read the release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009
VETERAN CHICAGO JOURNALIST IS NEW PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER OF THE CHICAGO READER
The Reader has a new boss.
Veteran Chicago journalist James C. Warren will become the Reader’s president and publisher effective November 2.
Warren, 56, was co-managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and before that the Tribune’s Washington bureau chief. He has also been a regular contributor to several cable news networks and is currently a political analyst for MSNBC.
The announcement was made today by Richard W. Gilbert, interim CEO of Creative Loafing, Inc., the parent company of The Reader.
“The appointment of Jim Warren as The Reader’s publisher says clearly both internally and to this newspaper’s many loyal readers that compelling and provocative journalism remains the paper’s overarching mission,” Gilbert noted.
“Whether the Reader’s informative and entertaining content is in our printed pages each week or on our website 24/7, its origin is the work of talented reporters and editors covering Chicago unlike any other news organization in this city,” Gilbert said.
“While Jim Warren’s experience has largely been in mainstream media companies such as the Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times, he has a well-deserved reputation as an independent thinker who regularly challenges the establishment including many in his own profession. To honestly confront and provoke in order to bring readers the truth has been a foundation of The Reader’s success since its beginning almost four decades ago. I am confident that under Jim Warren’s principled leadership, this news company will remain true to that foundation,” Gilbert noted. “ It’s this content that The Reader’s large and responsive audience has turned to all these years and that is what we’ll continue to deliver in the years to come.”
Warren expressed enthusiasm for his new job. “I am delighted and humbled to be part of a pacesetter in its field at a time of tremendous challenge,” he said. “If I bought into much conventional wisdom concerning high-quality print journalism, I’d be entering the fields of clean energy solar panels or medical robots. But I don’t. Rather, I believe The Reader can be an even greater success if it is provocative, makes those in power squirm and yet is willing to entertain and have fun. I hope I can be of help in renewing and reinventing the print version and finding new audiences on the web. We can win. I can't wait.”
The Chicago Reader’s weekly printed circulation of 100,000 copies is distributed free each Wednesday/Thursday to more than 1,850 locations in Chicago and select suburbs. The Reader also publishes on its website, www.ChicagoReader.com with more than 750,000 weekly page views.
James Warren, originally from New York City, began his journalism career in the mid-1970s working as a reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger. In 1977, he joined the financial section of the Chicago Sun-Times, where he worked as a business reporter, a general assignment reporter, a legal affairs reporter and a labor reporter.
In 1984, Warren joined the Chicago Tribune as its labor and legal affairs writer. He later became the paper's media writer.
In mid-1992, Warren was named editor of the Tribune's Tempo lifestyle section.
In mid-December 1993, Warren was chosen to become the Tribune's Washington, D.C., bureau chief. Almost immediately after arriving in town, he attracted attention by exposing the clubby ways of the star journalists in Washington. Warren in particular targeted broadcast journalists who were paid to give speeches to the organizations that they covered. In a feature he dubbed “Cokie Watch”, Warren saved his heaviest vitriol for Cokie Roberts, whose speechifying Warren tracked regularly in his weekly column Warren himself wound up on TV for three years while living and working in D.C. From 1995 until 1998, he was a regular panelist on CNN's political talk show “Capital Gang Sunday”.
In 1997, Warren also began co-hosting a Sunday night radio show on WGN-AM with Michael Tackett titled “Unconventional Wisdom”. The show aired until early 2006.
In 2001 the Washingtonian magazine chose Warren as one of the 50 best and most influential journalists. Shortly after that, Warren returned to Chicago eventually becoming the Tribune's managing editor for features. Warren left the Chicago Tribune in August 2008, and soon began writing for the “Huffington Post”. Continuing a longtime column on magazines. He subsequently became a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly’s website. Warren is married to Cornelia Grumman, also a distinguished journalist. Ms. Grumman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2003 for a series of editorials about Illinois’s death penalty published that year when she was on the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune. Ms. Grumman is the Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund which is an education initiative committed to improving the lives of at-risk children by leveraging cost-effective investments in early learning. The couple lives in Chicago’s West Graceland neighborhood and has two sons, Blair, 5, and Eliot, five months.
Warren will assume the top post at The Reader which has been vacant since July. The former publisher was Kirk MacDonald who was also chief operating officer of Creative Loafing Inc. prior to the recent ownership change.