Feder: The most powerful women in media

Feder: The most powerful women in media

Every three years I survey the local media landscape, stick my neck out, and offer up my list of the most powerful women in Chicago journalism. I first did it in 2011. Then again in 2014.

It's that time again.

The idea grew out of a conversation I had with Ann Marie Lipinski, the former editor of the Chicago Tribune who now runs the Nieman Fellowship program at Harvard University. Lipinski defined power as the personal influence of a “strong, singular voice” such as that of a columnist, while I argued that power rested with those who set the agenda for their newsrooms — and ultimately for the rest of us.

I believe this year's ranking reflects both points of view.

No. 1 on the list is Jennifer Lyons, news director of WGN Television and CLTV. Under her admirable leadership, WGN has strengthened and expanded its news operation day and night. It now produces more than 70 hours of live, local news each week (including the immensely successful WGN Morning News, which airs from 4 to 10 a.m.). And that's not counting the additional output on CLTV.

Lyons, 49, a 24-year veteran of the Tribune Media station and onetime executive producer of the morning show, was named news director in July 2014.

How will the sale of Tribune Media affect WGN, Lyons and Chicago's busiest broadcast news department? Stay tuned.

You won't find any newsreaders on this list. Plenty of anchorwomen may be more famous than some of the people here, but celebrity is not the same as clout.

Here's one man's opinion. As always, I welcome yours.

The top ten

Jennifer Lyons, news director, WGN Television and CLTV

Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director, ABC 7

Julie Mann, managing editor, WBBM Newsradio

Carol Marin, political editor, NBC 5; correspondent, WTTW “Chicago Tonight”; director, Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence at DePaul University

Ann Dwyer, managing editor, Crain's Chicago Business

Mary Field, executive producer, WTTW “Chicago Tonight”

Cate Cahan, senior editor, Chicago Public Media WBEZ

Michael Sneed, columnist, Chicago Sun-Times

Susanna Homan, editor-in-chief` and publisher, Chicago magazine and Splash

Susan Smith Richardson, editor and publisher, The Chicago Reporter

The next ten

Jen Sabella, deputy editor and director of social media, Chicago

Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor, Windy City Times

Amy Carr, associate managing editor, Chicago Tribune

Mary Schmich, columnist Chicago Tribune

Kerry Lester, columnist, Daily Herald

Mary Mitchell, columnist, Chicago Sun-Times

Natasha Korecki, reporter,

Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief, Chicago Sun-Times

Diane Dungey, senior deputy managing editor, Daily Herald

Susy Schultz, president, Public Narrative

For more Feder or to comment on his columns, check his active blog at

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