HERALD STAFF REPORT
The Herald is getting a new publisher.
Herald Management Committee Chairman Bruce Sagan and current Publisher Susan Walker have turned the reins over to Randall Weissman, a veteran journalist who spent more than 40 years at the Chicago Tribune.
“Weissman is eminently qualified to lead the Herald, having served in numerous roles at the Tribune, from reporter to associate managing editor to administration editor. He left the paper in 2011 during one of the Tribune’s staff reductions,” Walker said.
Sagan said that Walker, who has been with the Herald for 24 years, said that she would be retiring within the year. “We decided to find someone as soon as we could to allow for a beneficial transition,” said Sagan.
When offered the position as publisher, Weissman jumped at the chance. “I’m very excited to be getting back into active journalism,” he said. “I started reporting before I had a driver’s license, so it has been part of my life for many years.”
Weissman said, “I have been teaching at Governors State University since I left the Tribune, but that’s not the same as working with other journalists on a daily basis.”
“His experience makes him fully cognizant of the challenges – both societal and economic – facing all news organizations,” said Walker.
“The need for accurate, objective news reports has never been greater,” Weissman said, “and that’s what Bruce, Sue and I want to make sure the Herald continues to provide to its readers. Our goal is to make sure Hyde Park residents and businesses feel the Herald is an essential part of the neighborhood landscape.”
He said, “The Herald is a part of the community, and I hope to work with all segments of the community to make sure that we are serving all of them.”
Weissman said he cringes whenever he hears the term “fake news” slung around in conversations. He doesn’t deny that bias exists among reporters and editors, but he wants to assure the Herald’s readers that his goal is coverage that is as objective as possible.
“We will provide our readers with objective reporting,” he said. “If we decide to run an article that presents a particular opinion, we will make sure that it is clearly identified as such.”
Another of Weissman’s missions is to explore business and strategic options that will help to sustain newspapers during this period of economic and advertising constriction.
“Advertising revenues continue to shrink,” he said, “but the demand for accurate reporting is surging. We need dedicated reporters and editors to gather the facts and get them to the readers. That means we also need to find a new economic model.”
Sagan has been connected with the Herald since 1953 and served as publisher for many years. Walker came to the Herald as advertising director and has served as general manger, vice president and publisher. She plans to continue her newspaper efforts with Cook County Publishers, Inc. and the Illinois Press Association.