It's the end of another year at ChicagoNow and I'm still standing

It's the end of another year at ChicagoNow and I'm still standing

Christmas Eve. Just a few days left in 2018. You’ll see a lot of recaps of the year in different forums. It’s no different around this place. Here’s mine.

This is the end of my sixth calendar year at ChicagoNow. When I started in 2013, the idea was to see if I could put together enough stories about Parkinson’s Disease to write a book. Then I’d leave. I figured that might take a couple of years. I was right about that. I was wrong about the book and leaving. It’s four years after that deadline and I’m still here and….

I’m still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

This has been a strange year at ChicagoNow. We’ve changed management. It looked like we were going to close shop. We upped the advertising on the site…by a lot. It may be annoying but it kept us in business. I didn’t like it but I understood. I almost left because of this but, I got over it. Yep, I’m still here and….

I’m still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

It got worse. Because of budgets cuts, writers who were paid a stipend to write here lost that. There was an incentive for the best posts of each month…we lost that, too. It caused some bloggers to leave. Others left for a variety of reasons. A lot of them were the people I felt closest to on this site. The new bloggers who replaced them laid low. We didn’t get a chance to meet and know them. If you don’t know who they are, it’s hard to read their work and share it. ChicagoNow lost its sense of community in 2018. That was one of the best things about this site. I miss it a lot but I got past it, I think. I must have because I’m still here and….

I’m still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Then there’s TRONC. They’re the folks that own ChicagoNow. They also own a bunch of newspapers throughout the United States. They changed the name to Tribune Publishing this fall, after a couple of years of taking abuse for that name.  I still like to call them TRONC because that’s what they deserve.

If you think the changes at CN were drastic, it’s nothing compared to what occurred at their newspapers. Lot’s of layoffs, lots of buyouts. Long time experienced journalist gone and replaced by younger, less expensive writers…if they were replaced at all. At the same time, management was getting million dollar bonuses and bigger payouts for their stock….even after being named in a sexual harassment scandal. Disgusting.

Then TRONC mismanagement caused them to lose their European readers. They had months to get into compliance with the new regulations and failed to do so. They still haven’t done it. What that means is no one in the EU can read anything from the TRONC stable of properties, on the internet. They can’t access anything I write or anyone else from this site. Now I know that TRONC doesn’t give a damn about ChicagoNow but you’d think they’d want more readership for the Chicago Tribune or the Los Angeles Times, right? A few of my fellow bloggers left over all of this. I didn’t blame them. I was close to my breaking point, too, but again, I got past this, I guess. I must have because I’m still here and….

I’m still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Talking about the Los Angeles Times, they were sold by TRONC this year. Lucky them. But a sordid story about them and TRONC chairman Michael Ferro broke a couple of weeks ago. It seems that Mike made an anti-Semitic remark at a dinner. That’s not too shocking since he was the one involved in the sexual harassment scandal and also the executive getting the huge payouts. Hat Trick!!

As disgusting as all of that sounds, what follows might be worse. Davan Maharaj, the editor in chief/publisher of the Times knew about the story and buried it….for a $2.5 million payoff. That’s the short version of this story. You can read the long version here. There’s so many things wrong about this that I feel like taking a shower just writing this. But, think about how many journalists you can hire for two million? Maybe we could have got our stipends and incentives back with that money.

I honestly thought that was the deal breaker for me. It just rubbed me as being so wrong that I almost left….keyword: almost. It took me a day to get past this one, too. I figured if no one quit over this, why should I? So, even though I hated this, I’m still here and…

I’m still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Every year, I evaluate whether I want to keep writing my blog. It happens at the end of the year and on my blog’s anniversary date. They’re about six months apart so I have time to make these decisions. I’ve always stayed because there’s very few places where I can write about a variety of topics. It also doesn’t prevent me from working on other projects, at other outlets, so why leave? Looks like you’re stuck with me…at least for another six months.

And with that, I’m waving goodbye to all of you for 2018. I’m going to take some of that accrued CN vaca time and chill for the next week or so. It’ll be good to get refreshed and get ready for what I expect to be a cray cray 2019….both in the world and at ChicagoNow. Have a merry Christmas, a happy New Year and hopefully we’ll meet up again sometime in January because I’ll still be here and….

I’m still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Related Post: Escaping Chiberia

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    Howard Moore

    My so called friends think it's time to edit this section. After four years, they may be right, but don't tell them that. I'll deny it until they die! I can't believe I've been writing this blog for four years. It started as a health/wellness thing and over the years has morphed to include so many things that I don't know how to describe it anymore. I really thought this was going to be the final year of the blog but then Donald Trump came along. It looks like we're good for four more years..God help us all! Oh yeah...the biographical stuff. I'm not 60 anymore. The rest you can read about in the blog.

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