The board of directors of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ), publishers of the Chicago Reader, announced that Tracy Baim (who co-founded Windy City Times in 1985) is stepping down as president and publisher at the end of 2022, per a press release.
Baim was hired in the fall of 2018 to save the legendary Reader newspaperjust two days before it was going to be shut down by its then-owner, the Chicago Sun-Times.
The board of directors of RICJ will hire a national firm to conduct a public search starting this month.
Baim ushered in a new era for the 51-year-old alt paper, stewarding the Reader through the COVID-19 pandemic, leading the 50th anniversary, and establishing the nonprofit Reader Institute for Community Journalism.
RICJ Board Chair Eileen Rhodes said, "Tracy has been an incredible and tireless steward of RICJ and the Reader and a pillar of local media, more generally." Rhodes then listed many of Baim's accomplishments, including "the Studs Terkel Award, induction into Chicago's LGBT Hall of Fame, the Society of Professional Journalists Chicago Hall of Fame, and the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame. We thank her for her leadership, look forward to her continued support of the Reader, and wish her well in her next role."
"As the first woman and first openly gay person to lead this 51-year-old, award-winning newspaper as president, I am very excited about what comes next for RICJ and the Reader. The team that leads the Reader and RICJ is incredible," Baim said. "I am confident that working in concert with a new leader they will take the Reader to even greater heights. Like any good relay runner, I am ready with a steady hand to pass the baton to the next-generation CEO and publisher."