Three important appointments were announced today to the staff of the Reader, meeting in the back room of the Blue Frog on East Hubbard.
Marty Petty, CEO of the Creative Loafing chain, which controls the Reader, said that acting publisher Alison Draper had taken the job permanently. This news came as no surprise. Even when her job was supposedly temporary, Draper—former publisher of the Dallas Observer—had made it clear she expected to hold it for a long time. She'd been simply the publisher on this paper's masthead ever since she replaced Jim Warren in March.
Draper than announced that managing editor Kiki Yablon had agreed to become editor. Again, the news was no surprise. Yablon had been acting editor since Draper fired Alison True last month; she was both the obvious choice and an exceptionally popular one with the editorial staff.
The surprise was Draper's announcement that she'd hired Geoff Dougherty as her associate publisher. The founder of the online Chi-Town Daily News in 2005, and more recently founder and president of its successor, the print-and-online Chicago Current, Dougherty has been closely identified with Chicago's new journalism, and he famously asserted at the Chicago Journalism Town Hall early last year that for $2 million a year he could cover Chicago as well as the Sun-Times or Tribune. Maybe so, but although he was adept at pulling grants out of foundations he couldn't raise that kind of money, and now he's pulling the plug on Chicago Current.
"You know it seems pretty clear that I was going to be able to have a lot more impact on the things I like having an impact on—journalism and the business of journalism—at the Reader versus the Chicago Current," he told me.