Layoffs began at the Sun-Times Thursday, eliminating management personnel with no union to protect them. Sunday editor Marcia Frellick and assistant managing editor Avis Weathersbee were fired, as were Lloyd Sachs, Michelle Stevens, and Mike Gillis of the editorial board, arguably the only overstaffed part of the paper. The process was none too gentle from what I hear — those dismissed were escorted out of the newspaper’s offices by security guards without being given a chance to clean out their desks.
Business editor Dan Miller quit. Predicting the paper will soon be sold, Miller told Crain’s Chicago Business: “The business section is going to be very tiny. There isn’t much need for a business section editor when there isn’t much of a business section or staff to direct.” A creative editor known to test the margins of journalistic protocols, Miller was a founder of the six-year-old Chicago Innovation Awards. Cofounder Tom Kuczmarski, a business consultant, tells me, “I went to a few other media outlets in Chicago and they didn’t get it. I went to Dan Miller and said one of the things we need to do is celebrate innovation in the city, and he said ‘You’re damn right. Let’s do it.’ The first year we had 75 people show up. Last year we had 760 show up. Not just business — it’s academia and government and nonprofits. It’s just amazing to see how the Chicago community has gotten behind this.”
So Miller’s gone. There are many more names to come.