Working for the Sun-Times—just like Mike Royko! | Bleader

Friday, May 25, 2012

Working for the Sun-Times—just like Mike Royko!

Posted By on 05.25.12 at 06:54 AM

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The view from the new break room
Four thousand years ago, I got my first job in journalism, working as a copyboy for the Chicago Daily News.

Yes, yes—copyboy. The girls of that trade were called "copygirls." As you can see, the 70s were not a particularly politically correct time.

My job mainly consisted of hanging around the newsroom, waiting for an editor to bellow out: "Copy!"

At which point, I'd run over and do as instructed. Like: "Get me a corned beef on rye at Al's deli!" Or: "Shut the fuck up and stand here while I figure out what I want you to do!"

Ah, the glory days of journalism.

Sad to say, the job—as fun as it was—didn't last forever.

A few months after they hired me, the Daily News went out of business. No fault of mine—I swear!

Most of the staff—including Mike Royko—went over to the Sun-Times. They even asked me to come over as a copyboy. Don’t think I wasn’t tempted—anything to work for the same paper as Royko.

But . . .

I decided the time had come to move on from running copy. And so on my merry way I went—which, one thing leading to the next, wound up with me writing for the Reader.

More than 20 years and counting . . .

All of which is a long introduction to the fact that after all these years, I’ve finally gone over to the Sun-Times.

Yes, yes—the news you've been hearing is true. After months of negotiations, the Sun-Times's parent company, Wrapports, purchased the Reader.

We officially got the word Wednesday, at a Reader staff meeting featuring Timothy Knight and Jim Kirk, who are, respectively, the CEO and editor in chief of Sun-Times Media.

It was, I believe, the fourth one of these meet-the-new-owner get-togethers I've attended since the first one, back in 2007, when the Reader's original owners sold to a company called Creative Loafing.

A name I hope never to hear again.

Folks, I won't sugarcoat it. As you probably already know, this has been a rough, rough time for our business. Advertising plummeting, papers folding, reporters getting fired, editors let go.

To stay in journalism you either have to be a lunatic or a hopeless dreamer—not even sure there’s much of a difference.

The good news is that at Wednesday's meeting Knight and Kirk assured us that they have faith in a brighter future for newspapers. Plus, they love what we do—else why would they buy us?

To prove their point, they invited everyone to Sun-Times headquarters for free food and drinks.

Free food and drinks! Are you kidding me? No one loves free food and drinks like journalists.

So when the workday ended, I headed on over with my pal and writing partner, the great Mick Dumke. We wound up in a large, white staff room overlooking the Chicago River—not far from the site of Mayor Emanuel's latest TIF boondoggle.

A fun time was had by one and all. They even have a game room. Personally, I look forward to whupping Abdon Pallasch in a game of table hockey. And when I’m done with him, I'll take care of a certain Sun-Times photographer who goes by the name of Al Podgorski.

Before the party was over, everyone got hammered and Mick got hit on by the ladies in classifieds.

That didn't really happen.

But what did happen is that one official after another assured us that they love what we do and they want us to keep doing it.

Are you sure? I asked them.

Yes, we're sure, they replied.

So . . .

Take that, Mayor Emanuel.

And that . . .

And that—just for good measure.

We're just warming up.

See you in the game room, Abdon!

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