Just try to sneak it by me when I’m on vacation, why don’t you:

RedEye editor to lead day-to-day operations of Chicago Tribune as managing editor.

I know the tempting reaction is total revulsion, but Jane Hirt clearly isn’t as stupid (or as behind the curve) as cover stories on dudes who shave below the neck would suggest. As I’ve argued before, RedEye is structurally brilliant–it’s an actual, total commuter paper, not just a daily newspaper that’s convenient to handle on the bus. It’s a true structural innovation that will only seem more revolutionary over time. And the deep-space vacuuity (current headline, I shit you not) of its content and the miraculously consistent sheen and cynicism of its tone speak to McDonalds/Coke/Kraftlike commitment to quality control.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that even if you think RedEye is apocalyptically horrible, you cannot deny that they do what they intend to do every day and deserve points for execution. Whether or not they (Joe Knowles is moving to a position under Hirt) can shift gears from the crack cocaine, or more accurately the gas-soaked paper bag*, of print journalism and maintain the execution while elevating, um, everything else, is really the challenge. At least I think it is, but I am wrong a lot, and sic transit gloria.

*”She understands audiences and how to satisfy them”: Damn, we are a long way from afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. I suppose RedEye is as far as you can get from that before you turn into Cook County Magazine.