Dec. 3--Michael Cooke, who left the Chicago Sun-Times as Editor in Chief in February to take the same post at the New York Daily News, is returning to Chicago to oversee editorial operations at both the Sun-Times and its sister papers.
Cooke announced his Daily News resignation Friday, effective Jan. 2, to take the newly created position of Vice President of Editorial for the Sun-Times News Group, which includes Hollinger International's numerous Chicago-area dailies and weeklies.
"I wanted somebody at the top who would be able to go into the titles and make them better, make them more local, take some of the best of what we've done at the Sun-Times and make sure it was happening everywhere in the organization," said John Cruickshank, Hollinger's Chief Operating Officer for the Chicago media properties.
The move reunites Cooke and Cruickshank. Hollinger brought both men to Chicago in 2000 from Vancouver, where they worked at different papers, to head the Sun-Times newsroom.
Cruickshank eventually moved into the publisher's office when scandal chased out predecessor F. David Radler, who pleaded guilty to a federal fraud count in September, and he presided over consolidation of the company's local holdings. He named John Barron as the Sun-Times top editor, succeeding Cooke, earlier this year.
"There are two messages here: Michael is coming back, but he's not coming back to the Sun-Times newsroom," Cruickshank said. "I have tremendous confidence in John. John's done a great job and, frankly, John's extended what Michael and I started.
"But there are lots of other things that we need to do in the news organization. This is not a critique of our other papers, but they have not always had the kind of editorial experience that Michael brings and I think it can make a real difference."
Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Chairman and Publisher of the New York Daily News, courted Cooke for some time. But Cooke was said to sometimes have an uneasy relationship with Daily News' Editorial Director and Deputy Publisher Martin Dunn.
The Sun-Times News Group's varied properties include the Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Southtown and Star, Naperville Sun, Post Tribune of Northwest Indiana, as well as the Pioneer Press suburban weeklies.
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