* I haven’t talked much about the buyouts at the Tribune, but that paper’s editorial page continues to have an outsized influence on Illinois politics (deserved or otherwise) and there are some major changes afoot. Robert Feder…
The buyouts may be over but the bleeding hasn’t stopped for the Chicago Tribune. On Tuesday Kristen McQueary, editor of the Tribune’s editorial page, announced that she’s quitting too. “After nine years on the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board and page editor since March of last year, Friday will be my last day at the paper,” McQueary tweeted. “I applied for the buyout, but my application was not accepted. I’ll be pursuing other opportunities. Stay tuned!” It’s not known why McQueary’s buyout bid was rejected but her departure leaves the Tribune minus another stellar talent. “To be sure, she and I differ on quite a few issues, but I have no doubt of her integrity and her heart,” newly departed Tribune columnist Eric Zorn said of McQueary. “She ran the Edit Board with grace, energy and humor during a very difficult year and has the affection and appreciation of the liberals, the moderates and the conservatives whom she supervised.” McQueary joined the Tribune in 2012 from Chicago Public Media and the Chicago News Cooperative. The Rockford native and graduate of Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Springfield previously worked for the Daily Southtown and Peoria Journal Star.
With much of the Chicago Tribune newsroom already being gutted under the new management of Alden Global Capital, it’s all hands on deck these days. In a surprise plot twist, Chris Jones, who’s been the Tribune’s esteemed theater critic for 20 years, is the favorite to replace McQueary as editorial page editor, sources say. It’s hard to imagine Jones bowing out as Chicago’s preeminent drama critic just when theaters are opening again. But it’s been hard to imagine a lot these days. Come to think of it, other than making money and wrecking newspapers, does Alden Global Capital even have an editorial philosophy?
* And Jones did, indeed, get the gig…
In announcing Jones’s appointment, effective July 12, Par Ridder, general manager of Chicago Tribune Media Group, wrote in an internal email: “As Chicago’s pre-eminent culture critic, he has a deep understanding of the city, his home for 30 years, and has built a reputation as frank, fair-minded and scrupulously accurate. Can there be more important attributes for an editorial page editor?
“Chris is committed to upholding the Tribune’s leading citizen status, and its statement of principles, which include the newspaper’s commitment ‘to inform and lead public opinion, to foster commerce and industry, and to furnish that vital check upon government which no constitution can.’”
Jones, 57, joined the Tribune full-time in 2002. A native of Manchester, England, he was educated at University of Hull and The Ohio State University and taught at Northern Illinois University and DePaul University. He also wrote about theater for Variety.
“Today, the Tribune announced me as the new editorial page editor, meaning that I will be in working with a variety of opinion columns and joining an editorial board that is smaller than in the past. But, I hope, mighty in the city,” Jones wrote on Facebook Wednesday.
“I’m still the theater critic, which is important to me and the paper, and I will review the major shows as I have for the past 20 years. It is my hope that other, diverse, freelance voices will also join our theater coverage, going forward. While these are very challenging times at the paper, there remains a strong commitment to the Chicago theater.”
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