Jim Warren told this paper's staff Monday morning that he's resigning as publisher of the Reader. He said he's "taking on enhanced duties with the Chicago News Cooperative and pursuing other intriguing journalism opportunities."
Warren, a former managing editor of the Tribune, was named publisher last October by Richard Gilbert, who at the time was interim CEO of Creative Loafing, the company running the Reader for its new owner, Atalaya Capital Management. Gilbert soon was succeeded by Marty Petty, former publisher of the St. Petersburg Times.
Warren's career at the Tribune — as Tempo editor, Washington editor, and features editor — did less to persuade this paper's staff to welcome him than to look a little sideways at him, wondering whether he regarded the Reader as a place to land after he left the Tribune in the general turmoil of the takeover by Sam Zell. It didn't help matters that Warren had been nominated for his Reader post by Jim O'Shea, a former Tribune managing editor serving on Gilbert's board, and that when O'Shea launched his Web-based Chicago News Cooperative, whose main job is producing four pages a week in the New York Times, Warren was a twice-weekly contributor.
The interim publisher will be Alison Draper, a former publisher of the Dallas Observer whom Petty recently named vice president and chief sales officer of the Creative Loafing papers.
In a gracious announcement to this paper's staff, Warren noted that he'd been hired before Petty was, and that the CEO should have the opportunity to name her own publisher. "The paper needs a corporate team working in lockstep," Warren allowed, and went on to say that his brief stay at the Reader "underscored that a very elusive commodity is found in abundance" at this paper, "an underlying passion among the editorial and sales staff both for what they do and for Chicago." In today's media world, "for only a dwindling minority is their daily labor a calling," Warren went on, putting his finger, at this moment, squarely on the Reader's sense of itself.