Published on Thursday, 09 June 2011 17:54
Chicago Sun-Times television columnist Paige Wiser has been released by the newspaper after almost 18 years there. The official reason for her release is due to a pair of mistakes made by the columnist in her review of the Glee Live! concert this past weekend.
In a statement posted
on the Chicago Sun-Times website this afternoon, Sun-Time Editor in Chief Don Hayner wrote:
A review in the June 5, 2011, Sunday Sun-Times of a Glee Live! performance included the mention of a song that was not performed and a description of another song that the critic did not witness.
The critic, Paige Wiser, is no longer employed by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Accuracy and honesty in reporting are essential parts of the promise we make to our readers. We regret the incident and apologize."
Paige Wiser is a lifelong Chicago area resident, going to high school at Sacred Heart of Mary in Rolling Meadows, and then St. Viator in Arlington Heights. (The two institutions merged into one while she was a student there.) She earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Wiser, then known by her maiden name of Paige Smoron, became an intern at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1993, while finishing up her Master's Degree. She was hired after earning her Journalism degree by the Sun-Times in 1994. She has worked in numerous capacities at the newspaper writing about various types of media & entertainment, as well as her own lifestyle column, "Planet Paige." For the last three years, she mainly covered the television beat, writing regular columns for the newspaper, along with blogs for the Sun-Times' website.
Wiser, who turns 41 next month, is married and living in the Chicago suburbs. Her husband is top Chicago radio producer Jim Wiser, who currently produces Greg Jarrett's morning show on WGN-AM. He became famously known around Chicago as "Jimmy Bud" Wiser, the producer and hapless foil for Jonathon Brandmeier's WLUP-FM radio show in the 80's and 90's. The two were wed in May, 2002, and despite already having a following and fanbase with her maiden name, she happily changed her name to Paige Wiser.
For years, Paige Wiser has successfully juggled the role of being a full-time mother to her two children and a full-time columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, often writing columns in the wee hours of the morning after her family went to bed or before her children woke up.
In an era where financially struggling media companies are always looking for reasons to reduce staff and save money, Paige Wiser made a monumental judgment error by submitting a sub-par article with glaring inaccuracies, far below her usual high standards, and below the standards of her employer. This resulted in an embarrassment her newspaper. Many years ago, a column or article with these type of mistakes in it would have led simply to a reprimand. Nowadays, it leads to swift firing.
Numerous columnists have been released by the Chicago Sun-Times this year in cost-cutting moves and they have not been replaced. It is not expected that the Sun-Times will fill the vacancy left by the sudden loss of their popular television critic.
The Chicago Sun-Times has not only removed the "Glee Live" concert review from their website, but also wasted no time in removing close to all mentions of Paige Wiser from the paper's website, including her name from the list of columnists and her bio.
UPDATE: In her first public statement since her dismissal earlier today, Paige Wiser tells the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal that "I'm at fault. I do understand what a big deal this was. I am ashamed, and it's just a matter of making bad decisions when you're exhausted." Apologetically, Wiser explained what went wrong and the reasons behind it in Phil Rosenthal's piece, which can be read at this link HERE