The Chicago Headline Club is shocked and disappointed to learn of the resignation of Dave McKinney, the respected longtime Springfield bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. To pull a reporter off of his beat, and offer him what he considers a demotion following a political campaign’s objection to a story, weakens the institution of the free press. This is troubling alongside the decision by the Sun-Times to reverse its three-year, no-endorsement policy and endorse the politician whose campaign initiated the complaint. This is a sad day in the history of the Sun-Times, and Chicago journalism.
Reached Wednesday for comment by The Chicago Headline Club, Jim Kirk, Publisher and Editor in Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times, issued this statement:
“It is with reluctance that I accept Dave McKinney’s resignation. As recently as this Monday on our Op/Ed page, I stated that Dave is among the best in our profession. I meant it then and I mean it now. The pause we took last week was to ensure there were no conflicts of interest and was taken simply to protect Dave McKinney, the Sun Times and its readers as we were under attack in a heated political campaign. We came to the right result, found the political attacks against us to be false and we stand by our reporting, our journalists and this great newspaper.
I disagree with Dave’s questioning the integrity of this newspaper and my role as editor and publisher. I call the shots. While I’ve been here, our ownership and management have never quashed a story and they have always respected the journalistic integrity of this paper.”