Walter’s perspective: Skippy begs to differ on Blago coverage
Mon Mar 26 2012
Robservations on the media beat:
- On the eve of Rod Blagojevich’s incarceration, Chicago’s five major television stations surrendered 40 minutes of uninterrupted airtime to the bizarre spectacle of the felonious ex-governor making a stump speech and signing autographs in front of his home. In my blog post the next day, I excoriated local TV — and its news anchors in particular — for allowing Blago shamelessly to exploit the media without pointing out how deranged and delusional he was. A few days later I received this note from my old friend Skippy, the legendary CBS 2 news anchor and commentator Walter Jacobson:
“Other than when you described my homeless travail as a ‘stunt,’ this may be the first time I’ve disagreed with you. Our coverage of Blagojevich was an amazing example of what television does that print cannot — their eyes, their emotions — which in part explains why more people get their news from TV than the papers. Blagojevich is who he is, a truly tragic, outrageous character, a cartoon — but fascinating (for many reasons) and of tremendous general interest. Like how much of a cartoon is Jennifer Aniston, but how much do we sneak peeks while in the checkout line at Dominicks? Celebrity-crazed, that’s what our culture is. I (for many reasons) couldn’t take my eyes off Rod and Patti, like watching football on television — so much better (for many reasons) than watching it from the stands.”
- Readers of this blog have been expecting it for months, but ABC News president Ben Sherwood finally made it official Monday: Former NBC 5 reporter Alex Perez has joined ABC News as a Chicago-based correspondent. He’s the third NBC 5 staffer lured to ABC lately, following sports anchor Paula Faris, who became co-anchor of World News Now, and meteorologist Ginger Zee, who became weather anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America. A native of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Perez joined NBC 5 in 2005 from KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas. He's been between jobs since February.
- More than 19 months after Jill Carlson signed off as weekend sports anchor, Fox Chicago finally got around to hiring a permanent replacement. Starting April 2, Dionne Miller will join the station from Fox Sports Ohio, where she hosted pre-game and post-game shows for the Cleveland Cavaliers. She also worked as a free-lance reporter for the Big Ten Network, the Chicago-based channel jointly operated by the Big Ten Conference and Fox Sports. An Ohio native, Miller previously worked for WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio.
- It’s hail and farewell to our managing editor, Liz Plosser, who’s leaving next month after almost six years at Time Out Chicago. She’s moving with her family to New York, where she’ll be joining Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a new editorial division of Canyon Ranch, as an editor covering health and fitness. Said Time Out Chicago editor-in-chief Frank Sennett: “Liz is both a rock and a rock star, keeping us on the path editorially even as she does a dazzling job on creative projects she oversees . . . Hers will indeed be tough running shoes to fill.”
- Sarah Preston, former managing editor of Playboy.com and a regular blogger for Parenting.com, has been named managing editor and senior content manager for Orbitz Worldwide. Calling it “an opportunity of a lifetime,” she wrote: “I’m getting to do what I love, on a level I have worked very hard to achieve, for a company I respect that treats its employees well.” A regular contributor to Michigan Avenue magazine, Preston previously worked as nightlife columnist and dating blogger for Chicago magazine.