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Is time running out for Chicago Reader?

By City Cast Chicago | @citycastchicago


🗞️ THE FUTURE OF THE READER

Chicago Reader staff are planning to rally this week at the home of one of the paper’s co-owners. The protest is over the future of the 50-year-old alt-weekly.

Who are the players? Reader co-owner Len Goodman, co-publisher Tracy Baim, and editorial staffers represented by the Chicago News Guild.

How did we get here? The Reader has been transitioning to a nonprofit since 2019, following years of financial troubles. But in November, Goodman wrote a column skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines for children.

Following backlash from readers and staff, the paper hired an external fact-checker to review Goodman’s column. The fact-checker found 15 inaccuracies, though Goodman disputes those findings, according to Poynter.

In the end, the column was left up in its original form.

What’s the conflict? The debate spurred concerns from some members of the Reader’s board about “censorship.” The board passed resolutions that delayed the Reader’s transition, calling for Baim’s resignation from leadership positions at the nonprofit and for the current board to be able to appoint additional seats to the nonprofit board.

Staffers have repeatedly rejected the idea that Goodman was being “censored.” Attorneys for the nonprofit say shifting the balance of the board could hurt its tax-exempt status, Block Club Chicago reported.

What’s at stake? Jobs and the paper itself. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed last week, Reader staffers said the paper could run out of money within a few weeks if the dispute isn’t resolved.

What’s next? The impasse is only getting more contentious. Goodman sparred with Reader staffers on Twitter over the weekend, after Thursday’s protest was announced.

👉 Join Reader staffers at 11 a.m. Thursday at Wellington and Lake Shore Drive. Listen to how the Reader paved the way for alt-weeklies across the country.


📺 A CULTURAL STUDY OF OPRAH’S SHOW

“The Queen of Talk” covered everything from fad diets and book clubs to the LA Riots to Dr. Phil (yeah, she had some misses, too) over 25 years of her classic talk show, which started here in Chicago. “Oprahdemics,” a new Radiotopia podcast, digs into the enormous cultural impact of Oprah’s talk show.

Jacoby sits down with historians and co-hosts Kellie Carter Jackson and Leah Wright Rigueur to talk about some of the show’s most iconic moments and which ones didn’t age so well.

👉 Listen to Oprahdemics.


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Over 100 game-changing artists showcase original and limited edition artworks at Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair Chicago in partnership with Bombay Sapphire® this week, April 21–24, in Chicago’s Fulton Market.

If you’re looking for curious and creative encounters—this one’s for you, with a program bursting at the seams, including photographer Anna Marie Tendler’s pop-up portrait studio, exclusive print drops, live DJ sets, immersive installations, and free Bombay Sapphire cocktails.

Use code CITYCAST and save 30% on tickets. Book now.


📰 NEWSFEED

▪️ Graduate student workers at the University of Illinois Chicago staged a walkout Monday as negotiations for a new labor agreement continue to stall. The contract with the students’ union expired a year ago. [Chicago Sun-Times]

▪️ Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago Police officer convicted of murdering 16-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, will not face federal charges, despite calls from activists and McDonald’s family, prosecutors said. Van Dyke was released from prison earlier this year. [CBS Chicago]

▪️ Dolton native Jane Lynch is the face of a new $30 million Illinois tourism campaign called “The Middle of Everything.” Lynch directs and stars in ads that feature attractions across the state. [IL Tourism Office]

▪️ After years of complaints, delays, and construction, O’Hare’s people mover is running 24/7. [ABC Chicago]

▪️ Tonight at 7, hear from the candidates running to replace longtime Congressman Bobby Rush in Illinois’ 1st District. [Eventbrite]

Update: The 1st District candidate forum has been rescheduled for Tuesday, May 10, from 7-9 p.m. Organizers are still determining a location, but it will be in Greater Englewood. More information can be found here.


🎲 YOUR TAKE: PROPOSED CASINO

The city is hoping to bring in big bucks with a new casino, but residents in the neighborhoods being considered for the attraction are feeling wary.

Kevin Smith lives in River North, near the potential site for a Bally’s casino, and he told City Cast he wasn’t even aware of the proposal until shortly before a town hall earlier this month where “it looked like a done deal,” Smith said.

“I do not want a casino in my neighborhood,” Smith said. “With the casino, people will not want to live here. Property values will drop. Traffic will go up.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot could make a decision as early as this summer. Check out our handy cheat sheet to learn more about the different casino proposals.

How do you feel about a casino coming to your neighborhood? Email chicago@citycast.fm or text/call (773) 780-0246.

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