Letters & Comments: July 1, 2010 | Letters | Chicago Reader

Letters & Comments: July 1, 2010 

"Most of what I know about good writing and editing I learned from Alison and the paper she ran so well."

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"That's Alison"

Re: "Alison True Fired as Reader Editor," by Michael Miner on our media blog, June 25

I'm very saddened to hear this. I've been working with Alison at the Reader since the late 80s—in fact, I'm pretty sure she gave me my first assignment. I've always held her in high regard and felt sympathy for her being stuck in the middle between the new owners and a staff that she clearly loved and respected. —Jim Newberry

Having a hard time believing/accepting this. I began writing for Alison when I was still in college and she was an editorial assistant back in the mid-80s and always found her and still find her to be incredibly astute. —Adam Langer

The Reader in its current iteration is a superb publication, keeping its traditional long-form stories and in-depth reporting side-by-side with an easy-to-use website and solid, reliable listings—and very good tweets and Facebook updates. I don't know what else the money-people can expect than what you guys already turn out. —Marc Geelhoed

My professional association with Alison goes back almost 20 years now, and I would have to call it one of the great experiences of my life. Everything I wrote from the early 90s till a few years ago, I wrote with her in mind: I thought of her as my ideal audience for my most envelope-pushing experiments in feature journalism. . . .

What makes me think of Alison as a genuinely great editor . . . is that even when she'd lost so many of her essential staffers and freelancers, even when the Reader's offices had started to look like a ghost town, she was still finding ways of making it work. The Reader today is a shadow of what it was a decade ago, but the quality of the journalism it's been running about, say, TIFs, not to mention the Olympics, is as good or better than anything it ran in the glory days. That's Alison . . . —Lee Sandlin

I was lucky enough to work at the Reader for a couple of years, and I look back on that time as the most valuable experience I've had in journalism. Most of what I know about good writing and editing I learned from Alison and the paper she ran so well—even when it was owned by people who often seemed actively determined to run it into the ground. I don't know how to express how saddening it is to hear she's been let go. —Mark Athitakis

I've written for a lot of local and national publications, but the standards for writing, editing, and reporting that I learned at the Reader are still the highest, hands down. —Heather Kenny

I checked my phone at a stoplight and was so appalled and saddened that I had to pull over. Alison True is one of the best editors I've worked with. One of those editors who you still wanted to work for/with even though she couldn't pay you as much with the budget cuts. Who championed and helped shape stories that kept the true grit and characters of Chicago above ground, not buried. This is a sad, sad day. —Leah Pietrusiak

Truly a sad day for Reader writers and Reader readers. Alison has always been a great, generous editor to work with, someone who said yes to weird stories no one else would have touched. I am grateful that I had the chance to work with her for the past six years. —Jessica Hopper

As I have watched from afar as the Reader has been redesigned, restructured and resold I always thought that the core of what made the Reader distinctive and sustainable could carry the company through the turmoil in the media industry. Now with this latest news about Alison, I'm beginning to think this is the beginning of the end. I still think no one person makes the Reader special. It really is the work and culture of a whole lot of special people. But so many things and people have been cut or diminished that I'm really afraid that the Reader will die by a thousand cuts. I hope that's not true. Chicago needs the Reader's distinctive voice. —Rena

What the ____!!!

There is no short epitaph that would sum up what Alison was to the Reader through the many, many, many years she spent there trying to make it, like everyone who has ever worked there tried, a perfect thing of beauty. —Kathryn

I'm enormously grateful to Alison for her kindness and encouragement and that I hope that the personal and professional generosity she's put out there over the years will come back her way many times over. —Reece Pendleton

Alison was my editor for years—crucial years for my development as a writer and as a human being. I learned lots about writing but also about diplomacy and decency. Godspeed, indeed, Alison. Thank you for everything. —Achy Obejas

I feel sick. Alison's been at the helm the entire time I've written for the Reader—in other words, the entire time I've been a writer. Her encouragement, insight, and support have been epic. —Anne Ford

Thank you Alison for all the amazing work you have done for Chicago. And thank all of you current Reader cats for hanging in and not letting them totally fuck up the paper. —edmar

Alison hired me as the greenest of green editors in 1998 and, over almost 10 years, was the best boss at the best job I'll probably ever have. She, and everyone at the Reader, taught me the value of skepticism in reporting and precision in language. Constitutionally immune to making a scene, she is a professional role model of the first order and I consider myself very, very lucky to have had the benefit of her support and expertise. I'll spare the internet the rest of my current, less charitable thoughts on the matter. —martha

. . . I have just thrown my pen across the room . . . it made a black mark on the wall that looks just like a centipede. I have circled the mark and labeled it, "The day they let Alison True go . . ." —Kurt Mitchell

Alison True is a superb editor and manager. The Best of Chicago has just walked out the door. —J.R. Jones

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