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Sun-Times reporters want you to sign their petition

Friday, Oct 24, 2014

* From the Chicago Newspaper Guild

Members of the Chicago Sun-Times newsroom have questions for Sun-Times CEO Timothy Knight and its parent company Wrapports board chairman Michael Ferro following the resignation of Chicago Sun-Times political reporter Dave McKinney. McKinney wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times for almost two decades. He co-authored a recent piece about litigation involving a former LeapSource business executive,who alleged that Illinois government candidate Bruce Rauner threatened her, her family and her future job prospects. The story ran with the backing and support of Sun-Times editors, McKinney wrote in his open resignation letter. However, McKinney said after the Rauner campaign pressured his superiors, he was yanked from his beat, placed on leave for a week and then was not allowed back to his political beat. Rauner is reported to be a former investor in Sun-Times Media. This situation raises ethical questions about what happens when politicians and investors interfere with news content.

* The petition

Mr. Michael Ferro and Mr. Timothy Knight:

We are deeply troubled by the situation leading up to Dave McKinney’s resignation. It raises incredible questions about whether Sun-Times reporters risk retaliation from management after writing stories unfavorable to a politician or our company’s investors.

We have basic concerns about whether we will be able to do our jobs moving forward without interference.

We want to know: did a politician or someone tied to that politician lodge a complaint with Mr. Ferro over a story? If there was indeed a breach in the firewall that is supposed to exist between owners and the newsroom, how do we know that will not reoccur? Would you or Mr. Knight address the newsroom to answers these questions and others?

Respectfully,
Chicago Sun-Times Newsroom and supporters

Get over there.

Any bets on how many BGA execs will be signing?’

Hat tip: Ahern.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

43 Comments
  1. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    I signed, by the way.


  2. - Wordslinger - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    Done.

    Once again, fantastic work cheez-wiz kids. This is exactly what you wanted the focus to be in the bell lap of the campaign.


  3. - Because I say so... - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    Thanks for sharing Rich. DONE.


  4. - anon. - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Reporters - if you want to have absolute autonomy start your own newspaper (how quaint) or blog. You are employees doing work how the boss wants the work done.


  5. - Wensicia - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    I’m in!


  6. - View from the Cheap Seats - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    Wordslinger, I would agree with you but is the major Chicago media focusing on it? Is the Tribune covering this petition? I presume not (but wish they would). Is the Sun-Times covering its own drama (ditto)? Rich’s reference the other day to the “media blackout” was right; it’s been covered a little bit now but not nearly enough. I admit to being a Quinn supporter but regardless of party or politician, what is happening here is a threat to the free press, to say nothing of the mistreatment of a good and decent reporter.


  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    anon, I think you should read the 13th Amendment.


  8. - Jocko - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    I feel like I’m watching the journalistic equivalent of “The Accused”…in which people are making the argument that Dave McKinney was “asking for it” (in this case, being reassigned)


  9. - 2 Cents... - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Signed and shared on social media outlets. Kudos to the “Newsroom” for having the courage to not let this be swept under the rug!!! Hopefully, this issue and the other “Corrupting” type of activities of Rauner and his like minded 1% makes daily news over the week leading up to Election Day.


  10. - ThinkTangerine - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Signed and shared. Thanks for being a loud voice on this, Rich.


  11. - Wensicia - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    @ View from the Cheap Seats -

    Eric Zorn posted his own questions on his blog.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/chi-suntimes-then-and-now-20141023-story.html


  12. - 47th Ward - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    “Mr. Ferro, it’s the employees’ union on line one…”

    Seriously, how do you think this guy feels about taking advice from the Guild?


  13. - Redux - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Signed & shared.


  14. - anon. - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Rich, I have read the 13th Amendment. That is why an employee, like McKinney, can quit.


  15. - OldSmoky2 - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    Signed and shared as well - Thanks, Rich.


  16. - Joe M - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    Signed. thanks for alerting us to this petition.


  17. - admin - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    I’m officially admin now since someone keeps taking anon. LOL


  18. - admin - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    Signing!


  19. - Aldyth - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Signed! Delighted to have a means to express my opinion.


  20. - Commonsense in Illinois - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Done


  21. - Norseman - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    News Flash:

    Rumor has it that the entire Sun Times reporting staff will be laid off. News will be provided by the RNN from now on. RNN is a new media organization started by Bruce Rauner.


  22. - walker - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Did they really mean to write: ==”It raises incredible questions about whether Sun-Times reporters risk retaliation from management…”==?

    No, It raises credible ones.


  23. - DuPage Grandma - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    Signed & shared,,,Thank you Rich for giving us the opportunity to do so.


  24. - John A Logan - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    Signed. Good for them.


  25. - Earnest - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    I signed. It has been an incredibly disturbing story. Of course, the only adequate response I can imagine is announcement of new ownership and leadership.


  26. - Responsa - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    It might have been more effective and more credible if the “members of the Sun Times newsroom” on whose behalf this petition is “respectfully” but anonymously signed, had publicly signed it. (Had put some journalistic skin in the game like Dave did.) As is, one is left to wonder how many of the newsroom reporters and support staff even knew about this petition beforehand, and what percentage support it and believe it is a good idea or the right approach.


  27. - Illannoyed - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    So what happens if the Sun-Times CEO and Wrapports Board Chair agree to meet with this group and denies any interference? Is that going to be enough for the reporters? What’s their end game here? It’s highly unlikely that the CEO and Board Chair will acknowledge that any influence occurred. This appears to have the makings of a “he said, she said, and we don’t believe it” story.


  28. - Responsa - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    Walker@2:44PM –people with journalism backgrounds and writing skills clearly did not author this petition.


  29. - admin - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    Show of solidarity. Capfax should remove the ST box links from its website.


  30. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    Clearly the copyeditors didn’t have a role in this …

    “Would you or Mr. Knight address the newsroom to answers (sic) these questions and others?”


  31. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    I signed the petition very gladly.

    I have a great relationship with the Sun-Times staff who publish letters to the editor, whoever they are, just as an ordinary person expressing views.

    I am shocked and saddened by all the stuff going on over there, starting with the Rauner endorsement, which was nasty toward unions and lied about Illinois being on the verge of permanent failure.

    I bought the paper from the store daily. Lately I’ve been asked by the workers behind the counter, “What, no Sun-Times today?” I say no, followed by a few unprintable words, which seems to amuse them. I loved the paper–really, really did.

    Then we have this nasty and petty attack on a journalist whose credibility is so far above dispute, and which is far worse than some nasty words in an endorsement.

    I’m so glad that folks are standing up to this stuff. This is what happens when people like Rauner get too much power.


  32. - Big Joe - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Signed it. Thanks, Rich for the opportunity. Says oh so much about how money can control so many things we take for granted, like honesty. Hope some news outlets that are not controlled by Rauner and his “goons” run with the story.


  33. - Meanderthal - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    I view this as not very productive and will likely only accelerate the evntual shutting down of the paper. Why would the owner and other investors put money behind this group now.
    Kind of sad.


  34. - TwoFeetThick - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:37 pm:

    Gladly signed. Thanks for publicizing it.


  35. - circular firing squad - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:37 pm:

    Still waiting to see the canceled check…we doubt Mitt sold


  36. - PublicServant - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Signed. Current ownership should be required to divest.


  37. - A guy... - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    === PublicServant - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Signed. Current ownership should be required to divest.====

    Yeah, there’s an argument for freedom. Oy.


  38. - Walter Mitty - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    Well this is one way… The reality is. Dave quit. Integrity when you are a “star” reporter will land you another job. It certainly doesn’t hurt that his wife I am sure does pretty well. I think of Chris Rock, A man is as faithful as his opportunities. When you have options, you can become the story. The folks that are not making such a great living I find hard to believe they are all “on board”. I get the sentiment and what is at stake. I applaud the effort. But there are some little people that are going to be affected. If they comply, they are going to say, of course not… It’s just sad all around.


  39. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Rich, as the questions are posed:

    =did a politician or someone tied to that politician lodge a complaint with Mr. Ferro over a story? If there was indeed a breach in the firewall that is supposed to exist between owners and the newsroom, how do we know that will not reoccur? Would you or Mr. Knight address the newsroom to answers these questions and others? =

    It seems to me that the editors/bosses have answered those questions.

    Yes, a politician lodged a complaint.
    No, they said there was no breach in the “firewall”, and the reporter was reinstated.
    The last question is up to the editor/boss.

    To me this is more of the October surprise mixed with a bunch of ticked off (rightfully) journalists, who will be looking for jobs in the next 6 months or so.


  40. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    Loving all the ethical platitudes here from anonymous blog commentators. LOL


  41. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    ===Loving all the ethical platitudes here from anonymous blog commentators. LOL ===

    Chuckles an anonymous blog commenter.

    You really have zero self awareness, don’t you?


  42. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 5:49 pm:

    Funny how Jim “I call the shots” Kirk is not even mentioned in the petition.


  43. - Wensicia - Friday, Oct 24, 14 @ 6:09 pm:

    ==Funny how Jim “I call the shots” Kirk is not even mentioned in the petition.==

    I’d call that a statement of “No Confidence” by the employees.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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