CHICAGO — Karen Hawkins, co-publisher and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Reader, is leaving the organization to become story editor with The 19th*, an independent, national nonprofit newsroom reporting on the intersection of gender, politics, and policy.

Hawkins started at the Reader in October 2018, when she joined incoming publisher Tracy Baim to help turn around the struggling, legendary alternative newspaper. The two had worked together more than 20 years prior at Windy City Times. After starting as the Reader’s first-ever digital managing editor, she moved up to co-editor-in-chief in 2019 and then added the title of co-publisher in 2020.

Hawkins’s last day with the Reader will be June 10. Reader culture editor Salem Collo-Julin will be promoted to managing editor, and other editorial changes will be announced soon.

“I wish Karen all the best at The 19th*,” said Baim. “Her new colleagues are getting an incredible addition to their team. I absolutely could not have done this work at the Reader without Karen by my side. We helped each other get through tremendous struggles to turn around the Chicago Reader. We inherited a company losing $1 million a year, with no business staff, then survived the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the most recent struggle to get to nonprofit independence. Karen has provided an invaluable partnership to me in this work, and I will miss her teamwork deeply.”

Karen Hawkins headshot
Karen Hawkins

“Karen has been a critical part of our work,” said Eileen Rhodes, chair of the board of the nonprofit Reader Institute for Community Journalism, which now operates the Chicago Reader. “She brought a commitment to strong journalism, diversified voices, and empathetic leadership. I can’t imagine doing this work without her, but I wish her the best at The 19th*.”

Hawkins is also founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women and the Feminist Media Foundation. She co-hosts the podcasts Of Course I’m Not OK and Feminist Erotica. She is an award-winning reporter and editor whose journalism background includes positions at The Associated Press and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also serves as a national board member for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists.

Headshot of Reader Managing Editor Salem Collo-Julin
Salem Collo-Julin

Salem Collo-Julin (she/they) has been on the editorial staff of the Chicago Reader since 2019. As culture editor, her areas of focus include the City Life section, visual arts and architecture coverage, and the literary arts. From 1999-2014, Salem was a member of the midwestern art group Temporary Services, and coedited the book Prisoners’ Inventions (Whitewalls, 2003). She also cofounded Temporary Services’ publishing imprint, Half Letter Press. Her writing has been found in Windy City Times, the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Lumpen, AREA Chicago, the book Organize Your Own (ed. Anthony Romero, Soberscove Press, 2016), and other publications.