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Meet Dorothy Leavell, the Chicago Reader’s New Publisher

Local alt weekly the Chicago Reader has a history dating back nearly 50 years.

The paper has hardly been immune to the tumult of the newspaper business and to controversy generated by its sometimes-provocative content. It’s been without an executive editor since a widely denounced cover illustration earlier this year showing J.B. Pritzker sitting atop a lawn jockey. It also endured a contentious, two-year negotiation between the paper’s then-management and the Chicago Newspaper Guild.

Since 2012, the Reader had been owned by the Chicago Sun-Times’ parent company. Last month, word came that The Reader had been sold to a group led by Dorothy Leavell, who will serve as the Reader’s new publisher. Leavell has been the publisher since 1968 of the African-American focused Chicago Crusader and Gary Crusader newspapers. She also serves as chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2016.

In a statement, Leavell praised the history of the paper’s reporting. “Our goal as new ownership is to preserve and strengthen this brand and to make the paper accessible to all Chicago communities,” she said.

Leavell joins Chicago Tonight for a conversation.

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