Over at his Chicago Reader blog, Michael Miner is doing the very important and very delicate work of covering–aggressively covering–one of the biggest local media stories of the year: the firing of his own boss, longtime Reader editor Alison True, by her boss, new publisher Alison Draper. Miner paints a pretty devastating picture of how Draper’s decision seems motivated largely by Draper’s desire to replace True with someone more willing to breach the traditional editorial/sales divide. He does a great job of letting Draper characterize her decision-making process with the kind of flashing-red-light euphemisms any reasonably sophisticated reader should be able to see through pretty quickly. I think we can anticipate seeing a very different Reader before much longer.
I don’t know Alison True well, but I have known her a very long time, and I have been a devoted and regular reader of her newspaper for even longer. I admire her very much, not only for her work but also for her commitment to the Reader, and its important (if sometimes maddening) role in Chicago’s literary and journalistic culture. My own writing appeared intermittently in the Reader over the past three decades, and I am proud of that. My own career in publishing was in many ways the antithesis of Alison’s, and though it’s hard for me to imagine the Reader, as an institution, without her, I hope she will flourish out here in Chicago’s post-institutional publishing community.