Doubek leaves Daily Herald for Reboot Illinois ‘mission’

Madeleine Doubek, the veteran journalist who rose up the ranks of the Daily Herald to become executive editor and one of the most powerful women in Chicago media, is leaving the newspaper after 27 years.

Doubek resigned Friday to become chief operating officer of Reboot Illinois, a new, nonpartisan digital and social media service dedicated to involving citizens in key issues facing the state.

Expected to launch this fall on a variety of platforms, the initiative is being led by hedge fund manager Anne Dias Griffin, who runs Aragon Global Management and is the wife of billionaire Kenneth Griffin. Matthew Dietrich, former editorial page editor of the State Journal-Register in Springfield, previously was named executive editor of Reboot Illinois.

In an email exchange Friday, Doubek told me it was “gut wrenching” for her to leave “so many exceptional people at the Daily Herald who are outstanding, caring journalists,” adding: “I could not possibly be prouder of them and of the wonderful work public service work we’ve done together. I know they will continue to do terrific journalism that makes such a measurable difference in our communities. They are my extended family and always will be in my heart. 

“The Reboot Illinois mission is one that has been growing in my heart for many years and growing in its critical importance in our state. Helping to launch Reboot is such a thrilling opportunity. We intend to do all we can to help Illinoisans retake ownership of their governments. It's time for all of us citizens to make a positive difference. It might sound idealistic, but I believe deeply we can and we must, together, pay our state's bills, create more jobs, give our children the education they deserve and hold our elected officials accountable. 

“We're excited to be able to do that through non-partisan, digital and social media that will provide residents with both the high-quality, professional journalism they need, and the customized digital tools to take action and improve our state.”

A Chicago native and graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Doubek joined the Daily Herald as a reporter in 1985 and held a variety of editorial positions, including political editor, before she was named managing editor in 2007. She was promoted to executive editor and assistant vice president of the suburban daily in 2010.

In a memo to Daily Herald staffers, editor John Lampinen called Doubek “always a passionate journalist who relentlessly looks out for the public good.” He said she also was “a mentor to many of you, a colleague to all of us, a strategic adviser to corporate leadership and, if I can add a personal note, a special friend whose skills I always have admired and whose counsel, dedication and ‘truth-to-power’ feedback I always have valued.”

Lampinen said he looked forward to working with Doubek in her new role. “We will be in touch, and we will be collaborating as best we can on those endeavors that enhance the public interest,” he said.

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