• John H. White/Sun-Times
  • Terry Savage moderating a panel at the Annual Economic Outlook luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Chicago this past January

“I realized it wasn’t just the cost,” said Terry Savage. “They just didn’t want me.”

Her column, that is. The Sun-Times didn’t want the personal finance column she’d been writing for the paper for the past 25 years, for $50 a column in the early days but eventually for a comfortable living wage. Savage says Michael Ferro, chairman of the investment group that owns Sun-Times Media, said to her a while back when they ran into each other socially, “You’re a very expensive woman.”

Savage’s column hasn’t appeared in the Sun-Times in about a month now, and on Tuesday Crain’s Chicago Business took note.

An ad from Fifth Third Bank that for the past few years had run close to her column and, in effect, underwrote it, was discontinued, Crain’s reported, and that was the kiss of death. Savage says she volunteered to help find a new sponsor. “I said, ‘Tell me who in the sales department I’m supposed to deal with. I will do whatever I can to help you sell advertising. I asked for a week. Ultimately, [editor in chief] Jim Kirk said to me, ‘Don’t bother. You’re not going to get anywhere anyway.'”