I’m no stranger to staff cutbacks, budget cuts, and whatever other slicing and dicing newspaper owners now feel they need to do to preserve profitability. (See here.) I’m sad to see what it’s done to my shop, and I feel bad as well for the folks at the Chicago Sun-Times, which has provided a home for a lot of my book reviews, interviews, and cultural pieces in recent years. That’s thanks to Henry Kisor, the paper’s former books editor–now retired but busily managing a successful career as a mystery author and blogger. Henry was generous enough to take a chance on me when I was just about to give up on doing cultural journalism, and I can’t imagine any young, ambitious critic would have the same kind of luck I did cold-calling the paper now; Henry’s post today has an accounting of some of the damage that’s already been done as the paper plans 30-some layoffs. Among the losses are Lloyd Sachs, one of the best cultural reporters in Chicago, and Avis Weathersbee, who, by all reports, defended the role of the the books section in the paper–clearly a thankless job in this decade.
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