Levitt's dog Abby Credit: Jamie Ramsay

Forty-eight years ago this week, the first issue of the Reader hit the streets, introducing Chicago to an irreverent alternative to the daily newspapers, nightly newscasts, and radio broadcasts that defined the journalism landscape at the time.

Launched by a group of friends from Carleton College, the Reader proclaimed itself “Chicago’s Free Weekly.” That first issue, dated Friday, October 1, 1971, had 16 black-and-white tabloid-size pages and the kind of provocative essays, political news, whip-smart theater and restaurant reviews, and eye-popping personals that made the Reader a must-have staple for generations of readers.

As the decades went on, the Reader grew, helping to shape the mix of long-form journalism and free circulation that made alt weeklies flourish around the country.

And we all know what happened next.

That we are here when so many of our peer publications are not is a testament to the dedication and stubbornness of this staff, the vision of various leaders over the years, the support of advertisers and sponsors, and the ride-or-die devotion of you, the Reader‘s readers. We wouldn’t be here without any of you.

We’re grateful for all of you who make every issue possible. Sujay Kumar and I, as coeditors in chief, are committed to building on the legacy of the Reader. And ushering in the next 48 years of kicking ass.   v