The information superhighway…
That old synonym for the internet ( conjuring up days of AOL Instant Messenger and really loud modems ) served as my entry into Windy City Timesway back in 1995. Two friends suggested that I pitch Tracy Baim about that, and she accepted.
I guess Tracy liked what I wrote because she then had me write about other things, such as business and health/fitness, and I also wrote for the affiliated publication Blacklines and En la Vida. In 2004, she asked me to be a full-time reporter for Windy City Times.
I didn't know how much of ( or how wonderfully long ) a ride this would be. However, I knew the position would challenge my very essence. Previously, my life was very structureda job where I worked 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., five days a week. But Eleanor Roosevelt, of all people, entered my mind with that famous quote: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Journalism was not initially my "thing," as I was a law-school grad. However, I knew I liked writing, and I was bolstered by two things Tracy said about me: that she liked how I wrote and that I turned in everything on time. ( I guess the latter was a relatively rare thing. )
I was hired in the midst of the 2004 political season, so it was a trial by fire. One of the first interviews I remember doing was with then-Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine. He had a phalanx of people standing behind him at one end of a long table, while I was alone at the other. Once I got through that experience ( and Devine was congenial ), I thought I might have a future in this business.
There have been innumerable highs and lows during my time at Windy City Times, where I am now executive editor. When I started full-time, I thought the LGBTQ community would be one that was cohesive. ( After all, weren't we all in the same boat? ) It took me about two weeks to realize that it wasn't the case: Classism, racism, biphobia, transphobia, corruption and fat-shaming were just some of the things I witnessedand that left me disillusioned. However, I also saw times when the community came together and supported each othermost notably during times of tragedy ( the Pulse shooting and, most recently, the death of George Floyd ), but also during times of celebration ( like the 2006 Gay Games that took place in Chicago, and the legalization of marriage equality across the nation ).
Windy City Times has covered it all, thanks to a staff that's beyond incredible ( and who mostly have been around as long as I have, or even longer ). Publisher Terri Klinsky is the largely unseen thread who has kept the newspaper together in so many ways. Webmaster/distribution manager Jean Albright seemingly juggles 19,000 things with nary a complaint. Art director Kirk Williamson used his myriad skills into making every print issue look incredible. Managing Editor Matt Simonette writes about so many topics ( ranging from movies to politics ), informing people with entertaining ( and, thankfully, brief ) articles.
Then there's Tracy Baim. What can you say about her that hasn't already been said? Not many people would've had the guts to co-found a newspaper straight out of college. What she has done for the LGBTQ communityin Chicago and beyondis simply incalculable. She made this publication into a vehicle that allowed people to realize that there were/are others like them, whether it's through a hard-news article or a human-interest storysomething that was especially important in the days before social media, but which still holds resonance.
I'd like to thank everyone else associated with Windy City Timesincluding website developer Martie Marro, the delivery drivers and, especially, the many talented writers and artists who have devoted their time and talents to this newspaper. I'd also like to thank the people who have allowed us to interview them and have allowed so many others to peek into their livesand maybe learn something. Lastly, I'd like to thank the readers; you have made and continue to make this newspaper as it enters the next phase.
Windy City Times looks forward to providing even more news as a digital-only publication. Yes, COVID-19 severely hurt our revenuebut it has not taken away the resolve to inform and entertain.
It has truly been an honor being part of this newspaper.