Add Anne Kavanagh to the growing list of WFLD-Channel 32 news veterans engaged in major career makeovers: After almost 23 years as a general assignment reporter at the Fox-owned station, she's launching a full-service Chicago-based media consulting company.
Officially opening Monday, MediaPros 24/7 will offer media training, crisis management, publicity and event planning, video production, website renovations and social media. The company's slogan: "We know news. We have the contacts. We make it happen."
Kavanagh's partners in the venture are Maria Dugandzic, a former CNN international producer who previously managed the network's Chicago-based Midwest bureau, and David Viggiano, former entertainment reporter and producer at Channel 32. Working with them will be a team of current and former journalists from CNN, Fox, NBC and elsewhere.
While she remains a special contributor to Fox Chicago, Kavanagh said the startup of her own business fulfills a longtime ambition, adding:
"The media is changing and we have to change with it. Journalists have to find new ways to market their work. But the encouraging news is the need for good content is greater than ever because of the Internet. Our company is working on several projects including two documentaries that give us a chance to tell great Chicago stories."
A Chicago native and graduate of Lane Tech High School, DePaul University and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism (I'm proud to say I was her newswriting instructor at Medill), Kavanagh was among the first reporters hired to launch Channel 32's news operation in 1987. She shifted to part-time status last summer.‚ She's also teaching an investigative reporting class at DePaul's College of Communications. Robservations on the media beat:
- Diann Burns, the former Chicago television news anchor who's kept a low profile since her early departure from CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 in 2008, is getting ready for her close-up again. On her Facebook page Monday, she wrote: "People!!!!!! I have a special announcement that I can't wait to share!!!" Burns, who spent 18 years at top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 before her five-year debacle at Channel 2, recently unveiled a fancy new website and online shrine to herself. (Here is the link.)
- Brian Rooney, who joined ABC News in 1988 after three years as a reporter for Channel 2 here, was forced out last week as part of massive downsizing at the network news division. The 22-year ABC News veteran (and son of "60 Minutes" essayist Andy Rooney) had been a Los Angeles-based correspondent who covered everything from forest fires and earthquakes to politics and wars. Reflecting on his dismissal, he told Variety's Michael Schneider:
"The mood not just here in Los Angeles, but all over ABC News is dark. Friends are disappearing and few people know whether they will have a job or what their job might be at the end of this. Just as an observer, aside from my personal interest, I have never seen a corporate reorganization as drastic and immediate as this. It will have unintended consequences. They will and already have lost people they want to keep. But the amazing thing -- I just love journalists -- these people will do their jobs until they are told to leave the building."
- Just three weeks after his last appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show," look for Sun-Times columnist and multimedia movie critic Richard Roeper to turn up with Jay Leno Wednesday night. They'll talk about Roeper's new book, Bet the House: How I Gambled over a Grand a Day for 30 Days on Sports, Poker, and Games of Chance.
- Chicago radio and television luminaries will serve as celebrity volunteers Thursday on CRIS Radio, the Chicagoland Radio Information Service operated by the Chicago Lighthouse. Among volunteers who'll be reading newspapers and periodicals for the blind or print disabled will be Roe Conn, Janet Davies, Felicia Middlebrooks, Mary Frances Bragiel, Bart Shore, Andy Avalos, Lee Ann Trotter, Greg Brown, Mike Kendall and Joe Collins.