Published on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 00:01
Robert Feder announced early today that he is leaving Chicago Public Media and will no longer be writing media blogs/columns for their websites Vocalo.org and WBEZ.org. In his final blog entry for the company, entitled "A note of thanks - and farewell (for now)
," he let his fans know that he was moving on.
In his final CPH column, he talks about the incredible year it has been since he first started writing for the website, including all of the many important media events that have transpired in that time period. He also thanked CPH CEO Torey Malatia, the staff at CPH, and most of all, the readers and audience he re-connected with after his exit from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Soon after graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's prestigious Medill School of Journalism in 1978, Robert Feder began working for the small, suburban Skokie Life newspaper. However, he is best known for his 28 years as a journalist at the Chicago Sun-Times. He started at the Sun-Times in 1980 as an assistant to media columnist Gary Deeb. A few years later, he took over as the paper's media columnist. His well-respected writing for the Chicago newspaper made him one of the nation's premier media columnists. In 2008, the then-struggling newspaper was offering long-time employees a buyout to exit the company. Feder accepted the buyout and walked away from his newspaper home in October 2008.
After just over one year off, he returned to the media beat, as the first star blogger for the fledgling Chicago Public Media website, Vocalo.org. His fans from the Sun-Times quickly found him online and followed him to the new site. Even though Vocalo.org hired a few other bloggers to join its ranks, it was Feder's work that gave the website the most traffic, respect and nationwide recognition.
At the end of October, CPH decided to switch all of its Vocalo.org blogs over to a brand new website created for it's main Chicago radio station, WBEZ.org. To accommodate the switch over, Robert Feder took some vacation time while the web changes were going on. It was supposed to be done in just a few days and he would then return to his writing. Unfortunately, days became weeks and the many problems with the website were not going away. Old columns of his became unreadable, links to the his past work were broken, links and photos within his past columns were messed up or missing, the new site was not as pleasing to the eye and had smaller fonts in sections, and perhaps worst of all, the comments sections of his past columns, which were supposed to immediately migrate over to the new site, went missing. It was the busy comment section and the immediate connection to the readers that helped make his transition from "old media" to "new media" so pleasing. The missing comments section was a problem.
Robert Feder decided to extend his vacation away from his CPH writing until the website issues were fixed. Since the last column of his before the change over, which was on October 25th, he has only posted one column, not counting today's farewell. Some work was done to the WBEZ website and some problems fixed, but not all and certainly not at a fast pace. The seeming lack of urgency on CPH's side to immediately fix its website's multitude of problems -- problems that should have been found and fixed long before the site even launched -- and get its star attraction back writing for it, is shocking. The website's issues was a major contribution to Robert Feder's decision to move on.
Moving on does not mean giving up, though. This is only a goodbye to WBEZ.org and not a goodbye to covering Chicago's media happenings.
Feder wrote in his farewell column today, "let me assure you, I won't be leaving the daily media beat. I expect to make an announcement about my new online home soon."
Robert Feder owns the domain name RobertFeder.com
. He currently has it pointing to his page at WBEZ.org, but very soon, it will point to his new online home. In the meantime, he will update his fans via his Twitter account
After leaving the Chicago Sun-Times, he took a year off before returning to Chicago's media beat. It will not be as long of a wait this time -- a few weeks, not many months. News of where his daily work can be found again will come shortly.
Chicago Public Radio's loss -- and it is a huge loss -- will soon become another publication's website's boon.