Chicago Reader co-owner Len Goodman and three board members stepped down April 26 amid protests from employees, freeing the embattled alternative newspaper to transition to a nonprofit organization, The Chicago Tribune reported.
The Reader has been stuck in limbo since December, when a planned transition to a nonprofit model was delayed over concerns about alleged censorship of an opinion piece written by Goodman, who pushed for an investigation into the matter and more representation on the successor board.
Goodman announced he was stepping away from the Reader immediately over "an unresolvable impasse" with fellow co-owner, Chicago real-estate developer Elzie Higginbottom, who wanted to move forward with the planned transition to a nonprofit newspaper. Board members Dorothy Leavell, Sladjana Vuckovic and Carol Bell, who were aligned with Goodman's concerns, announced they were also stepping down immediately.
An initial plan to go nonprofit was delayed after editors pushed back on a November opinion piece by Goodman expressing concerns about vaccinating his 6-year-old daughter against COVID-19; the article created backlash on social media for some controversial scientific claims.
In an email to Windy City Times, Chicago Reader co-publisher and WCT co-founder Tracy Baim said, "We are very excited to hear that Len Goodman has agreed to sell his half of the Chicago Reader to the nonprofit Reader Institute for Community Journalism. We are grateful to both Goodman and Elzie Higginbottom for their support these past 3.5 years, and for the service of the for-profit board. While this has been a difficult past few months for our staff, we are very happy we can now move to an independent future."