Each Monday, we will be profiling newsrooms big and small from across GateHouse in our Newsroom Profile feature. If you'd like to have your newsroom profiled here, just fill out the Newsroom Profile Questionnaire.
|Newspaper name and location:||
Suburban Life Publications, Downers Grove, IL
Jonathan Schuler, managing editor
David Good, AME/sports
Lesley Valadez, AME/news
Ryan Terrell, news editor
Amber Krosel, news editor
Erinn Hutkin, news editor
Eric Hahn, lifestyle editor
Jerry Moore, opinions editor
Mark Busch, photo editor
Scott Lester, design director
|Give us a short history of your newspaper:||
Suburban Life was established in the 1990s with the purchase of five family-owned newspaper groups serving the western Chicago suburbs. Many of our titles date to the early decades of the 1900s, and they're a part of each community's history. Today, we publish 22 weekly newspapers as well as 68 community and niche websites from our 43-person newsroom in Downers Grove.
|Tell us something unique about your community:||
The western suburbs are full of flair and flavor, but we take a lot of pride in Downers Grove being the hometown of actress Denise Richards, ex-wife of Charlie Sheen. While back in town to film her reality TV show, Denise claimed to have been a former Downers Grove Reporter papergirl.
|Do you have any quirky or fun newsroom traditions? Any mascots? What's your newsroom snack of choice?||
We like playing practical jokes on one another. For example, when Jon Schuler dared to take a few days off last summer, he returned to the office to find his cubicle filled to the brim with balloons.
Our unofficial mascot is Wilt, a very large plant who reminds us he needs water by drooping depressingly onto the floor.
|What has your newsroom accomplished in the past year that you are most proud of? What was your biggest story of the year?||
We're most proud of being named the best nondaily newspaper and best website in 2010 by the Illinois Press Association.
One of our biggest stories of the past year was a local Navy recruiter who murdered his pregnant wife and then evaded police for months. We broke more news on this national story than any of the major Chicago news outlets did. Here's some further info.
|What new initiatives does your newspaper have planned this year? (Is there a new feature, special section or big story you want to tackle?)||
We're recently implemented some changes to take WebCube and NewsCube to a new level. We've redoubled our online effort, with the objective of chronicling the daily happenings in our towns to the fullest — as if we were a "paper of record" online. In print, we're putting a much greater focus on enterprise, personality, ASFs and analysis — like a news magazine.