by Fred Kuhr
Tracy Baim, co-founder and publisher of Chicago’s Windy City Times, has a new job. She has stepped away from day-to-day responsibilities from the city’s LGBT newspaper to become the publisher of the Chicago Reader, the city’s iconic alternative weekly.
“This is a very exciting challenge and opportunity,” said Baim. “The Reader is an iconic media company and is a critical voice in Chicago. I look forward to continuing its tradition, and expanding its reach.”
This news came after an agreement was reached between the Chicago Sun-Times, owner of the Chicago Reader weekly newspaper, and a private investment group, which had formed a low-profit limited liability company (L3C) to purchase the Reader and ensure it remains a vital voice in the local media landscape.
Dorothy R. Leavell, publisher of the Chicago and Gary (Ind.) Crusader newspapers, will be chairman of the Reader board of directors. Board treasurer will be Eileen Rhodes, president of East Lake Management Group, and secretary will be Jessica Stites, executive editor of In These Times magazine.
Baim’s Windy City Times management team – Terri Klinsky, Andrew Davis, Kirk Williamson, Jean Albright and Matt Simonette – will now be responsible for the weekly production of Windy City Times.
The major investors behind the Reader purchase are longtime business leader Elzie Higginbottom and criminal defence attorney Leonard Goodman. A public fundraising and membership drive will also launch soon.
The Reader, founded in 1971, is among the last remaining alternative weekly newspapers that came out of the 1960s and ‘70s counterculture movements. The new owners say they will continue the strong tradition of cultural coverage and investigative reporting, focusing on both print and digital distribution channels.
In 1985, Baim co-founded Windy City Times. The author of 12 books, Baim has won numerous awards for her work as a journalist and publisher, including induction into journalism and LGBT halls of fame, most recently the Association of Women Journalists-Chicago Hall of Fame.
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