Three veteran critics, among the most respected in Chicago, have taken voluntary buyouts at the Chicago Tribune after decadeslong careers at the newspaper.
Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin leaves the Tribune after 33 years — 28 of them on the architecture beat. Phil Vettel worked at the paper for more than 41 years and was its restaurant critic for three decades. And Howard Reich has covered music, arts and culture for the Chicago Tribune since 1983.
Their departures this month leave the nation’s third largest city with no full-time architecture or restaurant critic, and only one remaining full-time music critic.
Kamin warned in his last column: “Imagine Chicago without a full-time skyline watchdog. Schlock developers and hack architects would welcome the lack of scrutiny.”
In his final column, Vettel wrote: “The work is never done. There’s always another restaurant to cover, another trend to spot, another new chef who’s about to make the world stand up and take notice.”
Reich looked ahead in his final column: “Coming next: this year’s international release of ‘For the Left Hand,’ a Kartemquin Films documentary inspired by my Tribune stories about Chicagoan Norman Malone, who transcended personal tragedy to become a concert pianist playing music written for the left hand alone.”