WGN’s ‘newsroom leader’ decides to call it a day

Saying it was “just time to make a change,” Muriel Clair has resigned after 34 years as an award-winning general assignment reporter at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9.

“There are things I want to do and places I want to go without regard to work schedules,” she told colleagues, emphasizing that it was her decision to quit the daily grind. “The operative word here is ‘quitting.’ I have not been asked to resign. I am not being fired.”

Clair is expected to continue her Teacher of the Month feature and handle other special projects on a freelance basis, according to WGN news director Greg Caputo, who called her “a stalwart on our staff.”

“The list of her accomplishments is long and significant,” Caputo said, “but I think from her perspective one of the most significant is that she became a newsroom leader and a mentor to so many WGN journalists — some who have gone on to new challenges and others who are still here.”

Before switching to television news, Clair had been an English teacher in Detroit and Kansas City public schools. In the early 1970s, she joined WDAF-TV, the NBC affiliate in Kansas City, and later moved up to NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 here. Since joining WGN in 1978, she specialized in legal reporting.

Inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago Television Academy in 2007, Clair was cited as “a first-rate journalist whose reports represent a clear and balanced set of facts with a perspective that illustrates respect and concern for the human side of a story.” In 2002, the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law honored Clair for her “journalistic integrity and work to improve the criminal justice system.”

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)