Senior writer Deanna Isaacs began contributing to the Reader in the 1980s, climbing a creaky staircase to a cluttered warren of offices in a then-unfashionable area of River North to deliver her typewritten freelance stories to managing editor Patrick Clinton. Many of those articles were brief, event-related pieces for the paper’s double-spread Calendar Page. (As best she can remember, her first Calendar byline was for a piece about the arrival of an exotic fish at the Shedd Aquarium, and its equally exotic donor.) But there were also longer features on subjects such as forensic hypnosis and the battle over abortion rights. Deanna had cut her teeth in journalism as a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times and Chicago’s City News Bureau; prior to that, she earned a PhD in English at Northwestern University. Over the years, she’s worked on various Reader special projects, including its venture into the suburbs, The Reader’s Guide to Arts & Entertainment. She’s been the Reader’s culture columnist since 2001. Smitten in middle school by the work of war correspondent Ernie Pyle and, much later, by New Journalism and the Village Voice, she says she still feels lucky to have landed at the Chicago paper that gives writers the freedom to find the city’s real stories and the editorial support to tell them well.

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