Feder: Former Tribune editor Gerry Kern still cheering for paper's success

  • Gerry Kern

    Gerry Kern

Updated 6/23/2021 8:20 AM

As top editor of the Chicago Tribune for eight tumultuous years, Gerry Kern led the city's premier legacy news organization through a protracted bankruptcy, a major downsizing of staff and a solid commitment to local news, investigative reporting and digital advancement.

Now, five years after he retired, Kern, 71, is watching from the sidelines as 40 more journalists -- including many of the paper's marquee stars -- exit with buyout packages from the company's new hedge fund owners. In the words of current Tribune editor Colin McMahon, it represents "a tremendous loss of talent, passion and grit."


Much of what Kern championed during his tenure, especially in the area of opinion leadership on the editorial page and among op-ed columns, has been imperiled by the latest staff reductions.

"My heart goes out to my former colleagues in the Chicago Tribune newsroom," Kern told me Tuesday. "I understand full well the trials they are experiencing, and I completely understand why many have chosen new directions for their careers. I wish them every good fortune."

Kern, who joined the Tribune in 1991 after seven years at the Daily Herald, moved up to editor in 2008 at the dawn of the Sam Zell era. To his credit, Kern shielded his newsroom from the worst of the Tribune Tower circus upstairs. Then he managed to get out just as the Michael Ferro nightmare was unfolding.

Get the full report, and more Chicago media news, at robertfeder.com.

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