Glenn E. Reedus
Interim Editor and Publisher
At the age of twelve, Glenn E. Reedus went on a field trip that included a tour of the Chicago Tribune. That experience planted a lifelong seed. He knew then he wanted to become a newspaper reporter. He has regaled friends and family with the story that the Trib’s newsroom was the most exciting thing he had ever seen. As a resident then of North Lawndale’s K-Town, Glenn knew there wouldn’t be much encouragement or enthusiasm for a career few African-Americans held. Fortunately, his high school teachers at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School convinced him it was a dream worth pursuing.
Creighton University was journalism heaven for Glenn. During his freshman year, along with a college classmate, he launched a monthly news publication, “Black Realities” tailored to Omaha’s Black community. It was also during college that his professional newspaper career began when he worked the rewrite desk at Omaha-World . Following graduation, Glenn began work as a general assignment and business reporter for the Waterloo Daily Courier newspaper. Throughout the rustbelt, Glenn followed his passion to Pontiac, MI as a full-time business reporter, and as a columnist to Toledo, Ohio at The Blade newspaper. An opportunity to work as the night city editor drew him back to Pontiac and The Oakland Press before returning home to Chicago in January 2007 as the Executive Editor of the Chicago Defender, Chicago’s oldest Black-owned weekly newspaper and then to The Chicago Crusader. He has won national reporting awards as well as business reporting fellowships.
Glenn is married, has three adult sons, and one granddaughter. His hobbies are all things tech , fountain pen and fountain inks collecting.
Alexia Diamond recently graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where she majored in convergence multimedia journalism and minored in Black studies. She has worked in several traditional newsrooms such as KOMU, KBIA, and The Kansas City Star. After those foundational opportunities, she decided to travel with her journalism skills. She has worked with the McCann World Group advertising agency in Tokyo, Japan as a video strategist for her client Spotify, and The Indian Express in New Delhi, India as a general reporter in sports and city life. She also took a few side trips to Singapore and Bali. During her time abroad, she found her passion for wanting to work in the entertainment industry such as film, music, or art as a social media engagement specialist. She now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and will soon be back in Japan for the JET Program in September 2021.
Rita Oceguera is a bilingual community engagement reporter and a fellow for Report for America. At The Chicago Reporter she focuses on creating relationships with the Latino community living in the suburbs. She is helping initiate a bottom-up approach to reporting where sources are involved throughout the entire reporting process. Rita loves exploring how she can make journalism more inclusive, utilizes data to uplift the narratives of her sources and is always looking to instill a multimedia angle to her projects. She studied investigative journalism and anthropology at Northwestern University.
John A. McDermott
Editor and Publisher of The Chicago Reporter
1972 to 1985
“Race,” John A. McDermott wrote, “touches everybody and everything. Racial peace and progress are more than moral ideals today. They are matters of profound self-interest to every person and institution in this community.”
That philosophy, posed in the inaugural editorial in The Chicago Reporter, was the mission of McDermott’s life and his most lasting legacy. In 1972, the civil rights activist founded a publication that he promised would go far beyond “mere muckraking.” The Reporter would be “dispassionate, accurate and constructive in its approach” to the “make or break” issue of race.
McDermott dedicated his career to fighting for racial progress. In 1960, the Philadelphia native moved to Chicago to serve as director of the Catholic Interracial Council of Chicago. There, he helped organize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic 1966 trip to Chicago, as well as King’s meeting with then-Mayor Richard J. Daley. He also marched with King in Selma, Ala., and in Chicago. And McDermott helped create the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, a Chicago-based fair housing group.
McDermott served as editor and publisher of the Reporter from 1972 to 1985. Chicago magazine once hailed McDermott the “Editor for the Public Conscience.” His publication became the foremost, most trusted resource on race and poverty in the city, winning more than 30 journalism awards under his tenure.
He passed away in 1996 after a long battle with leukemia, leaving behind his wife, Marie Therese, and three sons: John Jr., Michael and Matthew.
And an award-winning news organization that continues McDermott’s original charge: To “tell it like it is.”
Publisher of Catalyst Chicago
1990 to 2016
In 1989, when the Chicago School Reform Act gave rise to local school councils and other major policy changes, Linda Lenz, then an education writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, saw the need for a publication that would focus on public education with the kind of detail and depth that her newspaper and others could not.
At the time, Chicago was about to elect its first LSC members, and Lenz knew from her reporting that while many of the parents, teachers and community members on these panels would bring fresh insights, they also would face a knowledge gap about the larger issues that would affect their work and their schools.
She brought her idea to the Community Renewal Society, and soon after published the first issue of Catalyst in February 1990.
It quickly became a trusted watchdog and resource for school improvement in Chicago.
Catalyst combined data analysis, extensive on-the-ground reporting and a wealth of knowledge about the Chicago Public Schools to address a wide range of topics, among them issues in teaching and learning, school choice, equity in school resources and the latest relevant research.
Most notably, it was Catalyst reporting that sparked the federal investigation into a questionable $20 million no-bid CPS contract for principal training, which led in turn to corruption charges against CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett, who pleaded guilty.
Such reporting brought Catalyst and its small staff dozens of national and local awards.
In 2016, Lenz retired from her position as publisher, and Catalyst and The Reporter began a merger that aims to broaden education coverage by examining other issues, besides schools, that have an impact on student learning.