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* The Chicago Reader has been suffering serious turmoil since its new executive editor Mark Konkol took over. Konkol fired the paper’s editor by phone just after the editor got off a plane returning from his honeymoon, killed the transportation writer’s respected column, nixed a couple of columns by longtime Reader columnist Ben Joravsky and lost another columnist after publishing a racist front page cartoon featuring JB Pritzker sitting on a black lawn jockey ornament. Word from inside was that the paper itself could be in peril.
Sun-Times Media owns the Reader and here’s its CEO Edwin Eisendrath…
I am announcing today the departure of Mark Konkol from the Reader. Mark came to the publication bringing great hope for a new direction and a new life to a storied brand. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. A tumultuous ten days culminated in the publication of a Reader cover that we believe was not in line with either our vision for the Reader or that storied history. We wish Mark well.
While controversy is sometimes seen as part and parcel of the alternative weekly world, we believe it’s necessary in this instance to apologize to anyone who was offended by this week’s cover. The published cover in my view distracted from the publication as a whole.
The reporters at the Reader work hard to be great journalists. They can and will take on the toughest stories — including issues of race, injustice and people struggling to be heard.
We will put in place interim leadership and plan for the future.
* From the Reader’s own Twitter feed…