Feder column adds new dimension to Daily Herald
It was quite the first week for the new team of Robert Feder and the Daily Herald.
On the same day we told readers the Feder Chicago media column would be running in the Herald, we also announced the purchase of three weekly downstate newspapers, plus their commercial printing and niche publication businesses, bringing to 15 the number of papers in our Southern Illinois group.
The first DH Feder post, which still operates as an independent blog on RobertFeder.com, announced the expansion of our newspaper domain and, as Feder put it, "Earlier this week, as you may have read, the company hired a media columnist for the Daily Herald."
That was quickly followed by a Feder scoop that Madeleine Doubek, our former managing editor, was abruptly parting ways with Reboot Illinois, a government watchdog site that changed hands last year and was moving away from creating original content to a paid subscription model.
No more Daily Herald news for the week, but Feder continued doing what he does better than anyone else: Digging up exclusive stories of the comings and goings of the Chicago-area media world. His piece on Kathy Hart's unexplained absence from popular morning radio show, "The Eric & Kathy Show," was among our top-viewed stories online this past week; all sorts of engagement on our Facebook page, too. In fact, if you're looking for some amusement, scroll through the comment threads on his column and check out the, um, passion people have about people in the media biz.
And while some might think of a media column as somewhat lightweight and celebrity-driven, the fact is Feder has a nose for serious news. He was the first journalist to show the world the letter, signed by Rupert Murdoch, announcing the firing of longtime Fox News broadcaster Bill O'Reilly. In fact, Rob simply published a copy of the document; nothing more needed to be said.
Another Feder exclusive was his Feb. 23 report that sports anchor Mark Giangreco had been suspended without pay by WLS-Channel 7 for tweeting, "So obvious, so disturbing. America exposed as a country full of simpletons who allowed this cartoon lunatic to be 'elected.'"
Some other stellar work, just in the past few months, include:
• Reporting, even before employees knew of it, the sale of the historic studios of WGN-Channel 9, home for four decades to "Bozo's Circus," and surrounding property on West Bradley Place to a developer. (The company remained, but as tenants.)
• Disclosing, through previously unpublished media accounts, communications among Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and scores of local and national media heavyweights that provided an insider's look at, as Rob put it, "how the mayor works the media and how some media power brokers try to work the mayor."
• Revealing that TV host Steve Harvey was leaving Chicago for Los Angeles so his daytime talk show "could attract more celebrities." (One commenter quickly noted that Oprah didn't have trouble finding celebs when she was based in Chicago.)
We're still fine-tuning some of the specifics of how we present the Feder column, but the plan is to post a link to the column on our entertainment page at dailyherald.com before 8 a.m. each weekday. Likewise, the column will appear in the online version of our business publication, the Business Ledger. Rob is pretty much a 24/7 kind of guy, so he can post at any and all hours, and we'll be doing our best to pass it along quickly. In print, we've been running his column Wednesday and Friday on our Metropolitan Chicago page opposite the Opinion page. But same deal there: If there's a Feder scoop we think all readers need to see, we'll do our darnedest to get it in print, too.
Perhaps I should stop using the collective "we" here. Truth is, I was given the honor of serving as the Feder liaison to the Daily Herald. So if you see something you don't like, send all complaints to ... RobertFeder.com.