Fracas At 'The Sun-Times': Unions Demand Nonprofit CEO Step Down

The challenges to running a nonprofit newsroom became apparent again last week when two unions held a vote of no confidence in Matt Moog, CEO of Chicago Public Media and president and board member of Chicago Sun-Times. 

Of the 86% of union members who voted, 96%, or 114, expressed no confidence in Moog. Participating were the Sun-Times Guild and the SAG-AFTRA units at WBEZ and Vocalo.

Among other things, the unions demand Moog’s immediate removal from his roles within the organization and the installation of an interim CEO.

This is largely symbolic: Moog is due to step down in August, a decision he announced last year.  

But the unions also insist that there be no further layoffs during Moog’s tenure, and that he be removed from strategic and programming decisions in the event he does not leave his post immediately.

As yet, no replacement has been announced.  



Moog played a key role in the merger of Sun-Times and WBEZ in what they claim is the country’s largest nonprofit newsroom.  

But in April, barely two years into that acquisition, Chicago Public Media laid off 14 employees, including 15% of the 62 unionized content providers at WBEZ, Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate. Four nonunionized Sun-Times staff members also lost their jobs.

In addition, Vocalo, a radio offshoot of WBEZ, was to be discontinued as such.

“Under Mr. Moog’s stewardship, we have seen a loss of talented and expert staffers and continued revenue declines, stunting our efforts to achieve sustainability even as we receive generous foundation support that should fuel growth,” the unions wrote in the joint letter to Chicago Public Media’s board of directors. “The lack of transparency and accountability in his leadership has led to mistrust among newsroom staff, and he has created unnecessarily combative relationships with our unions.”

There is still no word on a replacement for Moog. He is to stay on until one is found. 

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation contributed $10 million to the $61 million merger of Sun-Times and WBEZ.

The Chicago Public Media board recently approved the 2025 budget, which includes a $1.14 million deficit.  

During the weekend, Sun-Times sent an email asking for $5 donations. 

“We are just one week away from the end of our fiscal year end, and the Chicago Sun-Times is falling short of our fundraising goal,” the email states. “To maintain strong independent news in our communities, we rely on reader support — and we need to hear from 1,000 donors by June 30th.”

The unions did include a note of confidence. 

“We want to be clear: Our members are still optimistic and hopeful this merger between the Sun-Times and WBEZ can be a success.”



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