The editorial shake-up at Chicago is clearly the work of new Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro.
Tribune Publishing has just replaced
Elizabeth Fenner, the editor of Chicago
magazine, with Susanna Homan, creator and publisher of Splash
Let me restate this in personal terms. Out is an editor of a magazine that my wife and I read whenever we visit our daughter, a subscriber, and have been so impressed with it that we were about to take out a subscription ourselves. In is the head of a celebrity-fixated insert into the Sunday Sun-Times
that we throw away without looking at it.
The change, which also makes Homan publisher of Chicago
, is obviously the hand of new Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro at work. Splash
was his creation at the Sun-Times
, and in a long, indulgent profile
in Friday's Tribune
he calls it a success. Before launching Splash
for Ferro, Homan was founding editor of the luxury lifestyle magazine Michigan Avenue
, and she freelanced a weekly about-town column for the Sun-Times
called Susanna's Night Out.
Fenner became editor of Chicago
in 2011. She'd spent the previous three years as assistant managing editor of Time Inc.'s Money
magazine, and she'd earlier been executive editor of Women's Health
. By the crude, seat-of-your-pants standards by which journalists categorize each other, she brought to Chicago
the status of "serious journalist," and did nothing here to call that standing into question. When she was axed, Chicago
associate editor Whet Moser tweeted that he was "grateful to @bethfenner for her tremendous support and the freedom she gave me. the mag has been excellent under her care."
Just the other day, Fenner and Chicago
political writer Carol Felsenthal had lunch and discussed Felsenthal's future projects. Friday afternoon Fenner called to tell her she'd been axed.
"She loved her job . . . and she had a great interest in politics," Felsenthal says. As for Homan, Felsenthal doesn't know her and is only vaguely familiar with her output. For some reason, Michigan Avenue
comes in the mail though Felsenthal didn't ask for it, "and I throw it right in the garbage can." Splash
"was like to me some kind of joke that went along with my formerly favorite newspaper, the Sun-Times