Formerly Of The Chicago Sun-Times

Quick update: I was informed today that I am no longer a Chicago Sun-Times columnist or contributor. So let’s spread the word on that. Sure, because I’d love for another publication to snap me up as the immensely hot property I am in time for me to debut with my coverage of next week’s Apple Event, but mostly because I’m certain that the Sun-Times would appreciate my doing that.

Where to, next? I dunno!

But here’s how I would describe my Dream Date:

  • I’m kind of a fan of being part of a larger outfit. I loved being a Sun-Times columnist (and will always be proud of the work I’d done there since 1999) and part of the fun was living up to the legacy of the great writers who came before me and were being published beside me.
  • I like health insurance and stuff, but freelancing is fine. I was freelance for the Sun-Times during my whole tenure.
  • Ability to publish with great agility. One of my few troubles with the Sun-Times was associated with understaffing. The editors are great folks who work very hard and are stretched quite thin, which often meant that my columns would take days to appear on the site. I’d love to be able to just write something quick and timely and have it in front of people shortly after I pressed a button on the CMS.
  • Willingness to publish long, thoughtful stuff, too. I’m only just now getting around to writing about this year’s smart speakers because (a) I didn’t want to be part of the initial marketing scrum and (b) it’s actually taken me a good while to figure out what I think. I have huge respect for my friends at iMore and other sites, whose skills are well-suited towards getting valuable coverage out there almost simultaneously with the events unfolding. My skills are elsewhere.
  • Nonetheless, I’m battle-hardened for getting out something quick in response to breaking news, and I would have published SO many quick 200-300 word bits for the Sun-Times if I had publishing privileges on the CMS. But! Honestly, I don’t want to have to know how many clicks something is getting, or be raked over the coals for not getting more of them.
  • I reserve the right to make up a word if I can’t fromate one that suits the immediate need of a sentence. This is where heroes step in and fix the inadequacies of the English Language.
  • And I’d like to receive enough trust that I can just provide X columns per week or month. I hate pitching. By the time I’ve convinced somebody that a thing is worth publishing, I could have already written it, and if I’m writing it, I want to get paid for it somehow. It’s a vicious circle.

I got my first regular magazine column in 1989. Ever since, my professional goal has been to do for tech what Roger Ebert did for movies. Yes, that was his beat, but what made Roger indispensable was his point of view. When the cast of an upcoming movie is announced, hundreds of sites scramble to post 300 copies of the same information. That’s fine. Roger wasn’t part of that land rush, though. Roger’s take on something was always worth reading, and there was only one writer who was posting it: Roger Ebert.

To do anything as well as Roger did is impossible. But my aspiration to consistently write with that kind of purpose, and to deliver that kind of value, will always be there.

The Sun-Times isn’t — wasn’t — my only source of income. I’m fine. So if I can’t find another columnist-type gig…who knows. Maybe I’ll just post stuff right here. It’s a solution that ticks all of the above boxes except for the first one. Maybe if I establish a routine here, I’ll look for sponsors. Or maybe I’ll give Patreon a go.

Or maybe I’ll become a ronin, honing my skills and purifying my spirit as I work for a series of outfits that need my swords for a specific task.

In any event! I send my thanks to all of my former editors at the Sun-Times over the past fifteen to twenty years. And I’m still tech contributor to WGBH public radio here in Boston, and I’m still co-hosting podcasts with my friends on MacBreak and Material.

And, yeah, if someone with a checkbook would like to step in before I do the unthinkable — publish my Chicago Apple Event coverage here, where I won’t get paid for it — please do get in touch:

(my last name) at gmail.com.

57 thoughts on “Formerly Of The Chicago Sun-Times

  1. Richard Hopwood

    Hi Andy

    Sorry to hear that news. But chin up!! You are way too good at what you do to let this stop you!!

    All the best

    Rich

  2. Jorge R Valenzuela

    Dear Andy its so sad to heard that news! I’m a big fan from Puerto Rico and I think The Sun Times its making a hard desition in letting you go! But in times like this it’s were a smart person like you rise from the ashes! Good luck in your new journey and no matter where you go there will be a lot of followers reading your good knowledge!
    Jorge Raphael Valenzuela
    From Puerto Rico

  3. Ljl

    sorry. It sucks. I have been a fan of yours for just about your whole career. I was among the 2009 layoffs from the Tribune, moved away to be closer to the Aged P. I was lucky to find an editing job; the MomLady is pushing 91, and I get along . You will do, too. Better, in fact. Rooting for you — but I know it’s pretty stinky, deep down. Allbest.

  4. Doug Wilber

    Sorry for this decision. You are a voice in the wilderness. Hope new opportunities come up

  5. Dan Russell

    I have sought out your material in its many forms and locations. I respect your opinions and have found you have made a positive contribution to my life.

    Press on.

  6. Warwick

    From a time zone far, far away: very sorry to hear the Sun-Times is in such trouble. Hopefully, you will land somewhere where we can find what you’re writing! I look forward to the chance to read it.

  7. Jonathan

    I’m so sorry to hear the news, Andy. I hope another smart publication makes you an offer soon. Wherever you publish, fans like me will follow, read, and support. That includes Patreon. In the meantime, I’d be happy if you would publish your Amazon affiliate link here on CWOB so I can support your work when I do my shopping. Please keep us updated!

  8. R. A. Miller

    Congratulations on graduating to the next phase of your career. I enjoyed your work over the years—and continue to. Thanks for adding value to my life, Best wishes

  9. Eric Diamond

    Andy, I’ve been a huge fan since I worked at Mindscape in Northbrook, IL, and would get MacWeek and immediately turn to the back page. I also briefly wrote tech pieces for the Sun-Times, fondly remember Don Crabb, and regularly listen to MacBreak because you’re on it. (I like Rene too, but let’s face it—he’s just a starry eyed kid [kidding, Rene-love you too man.])

    I hope your stint as an ex-columnist is short, and if I can help, please let me know. I’m across the river from the old Sun-Times “ship” in the Burnett building. Just reach out—ediamond@me.com. You are always a pleasure to read.

    Your grateful fan,
    Eric

  10. Glen

    Dang. I always thought you were an institution there. I greatly value your opinion as someone who doesn’t make excuses for Apple. Love your insight on MacBreak Weekly. And I briefly met you at MacWorld 2007 when I worked for Apple and was working as an usher there for the keynote. Well it’s the Sun Times loss in my opinion. Actually I think you took a pic of all there waiting for the event from your position in line and promised me a copy of that pic… but that was so long ago.

  11. Jeff Reynolds

    Good luck to you, Andy. I know you’ll do just fine. I really enjoy you’re writing and opinions, even though I don’t always agree with them. I listen to more tech podcasts than I read tech journalism these days, so keep that up, too.

  12. Kevin O’Connor

    I tried subscribing to the SunTimes just to read your columns; it was the worst website to find you on so I cancelled after three months. I would gladly contribute to a method where I could read your writing. I’m sorry about your tenure ending but had a suspicion that when the paper was sold the end was near. Best wishes in your job search!

  13. Matthew j

    Jeff Johnson and the other scum involved in purchasing the Chicago sun times are experts at driving companies into the ground while selling snake oil. They drove answersmedia into the ground while touting vaporware such as answers tv, and the I’ll fated Web tv project for Costa Rica’s telecom.

  14. Matthew j

    Jeff Bohnson and the other scum involved in purchasing the Chicago sun times are experts at driving companies into the ground while selling snake oil. They drove answersmedia into the ground while touting vaporware such as answers tv, and the I’ll fated Web tv project for Costa Rica’s telecom.

  15. Morris Tewborg

    You do great work sir, and have prevented me from making several tech mistakes. Make that skinflint LEO pay you your worth! ;)

  16. Vern Williams

    I’d say you’ll be missed… but I’ll see you here, on TWiT and probably bump into you occasionally and make you wonder how you know me. All the best to you Andy!

  17. Tom Gradwell

    Bummer Andy. Hard to believe they would let you go after almost 20 years. I’ll keep listening to your insights on MacBreak Weekly and good luck in your future endeavors.

  18. J.C. Hutchins

    I’ve been a fan since the mid-90s, and was inspired to become a journalist thanks in great part to your writing. I—and many others, I’m sure—will happily contribute to a Patreon, should you go that route. Thanks for all the excellent journalism at the Sun-Times and beyond.

  19. Chris Hart

    Long time admirer here and it’s been my pleasure to spend a few moments with you over the years, Andy.

    I’m optimistic for your next chapter and I know someone out there will appreciate the quality of your work and hire you.

  20. Eric Williams

    Living on the west coast, the Sun-Times rarely entered my consciousness except as a consequence of reading yourself or Roger.

    Now they will have no brain-share at all.

    Seems a strange move.

  21. Ken B.

    I’ve followed your work for years and know you will land squarely on your feet. Changes of this nature always come with some amount of trepidation, but your fans are behind you and you are a great and unique talent. I, for one, am excited for what your future holds.

  22. John Canfield

    Two ideas

    Ukulele tech journalist.
    Cleaning winders (stole from this clip)
    https://youtu.be/y1oMU0bNWhY

    Your consistently a highlight of my week on MBW! I record preshow with python script off twitch!

    BTW, I have watched those ukulele clips from twit like 20 times over the years. It just makes me happy :)

    Also, neighbor of your former company’s HQ. think batwings

    John

  23. Brooks Clark

    I would just like to say that I am not an apple lover, but I watch Mac Break Weekly just to see/hear your comments and opinions. Rest assured I am becoming a Material regular, as well. Keep up the great content (as if you could do anything less) and keep your sense of humor.

  24. Chris Fredette

    Well that sucks. It’s happened to me and there’s much I can say but you will find something and it will probably be a better gig. You’re sir are good at your profession.
    I’m just some random guy who listens to macbreak weekly and enjoys your honesty and metaphors so I hope this helps.

  25. Michael Logue

    Sorry to hear. But if they let you go they must be close to folding.
    I am not an Andriod fan, but I am a faithful listener of Material as you and Ion are a hoot.

  26. Harold Hackman

    Andy,
    I’ve been watching your work for years. I’m looking forward to the next “thing” with anticipation.

  27. Jim Kulpa

    So sorry to hear that you are no longer with CST. It is a big loss for them. Luckily, I am able to keep up with you through Macbreak Weekly as I listen here over in Qatar. You and Leo have been a part of my life for a very long time.(virtually of course)

    Best Wishes.

  28. Paul Moore

    Hello Andy,

    I truly enjoy listening to you and the crew on MacBreak Weekly. Very informative and laughter on my part (you can’t hear).

    Hang in there. Ups and downs are part of the adventure of living. It gets better with time.

  29. Phil Stephens

    I am reader, not someone with a chequebook, but I like your work, and found you via MBW.

    I like your work, please, keep everyone informed about how or where to find you, or how to help.

    Enjoy!

    Phil from Tasmania, Australia.

  30. Phil Stephens

    Damn you Andy!

    After hearing this announcement on MBW I came here, and followed some of your hardware recommendations, and it just cost me a LOT of Money! :-)

    I suspect some Amazon affiliate marketing would be ethical, but useful to you.

    I look forward to seeing your writing in lots of new places. you have a unique style… Is there a book in there? I click on “Writing” and get a broken link.

    Regards, Phandrens

  31. Ronald Shiflet

    I once loved you – you were my favorite tech journalist. Now you have become jaded. Me too. Leo also – way too much. Things fall apart – like newspapers (the whole industry). The tech you (and I) heralded-in has now undermined many things we love and need. So Mary Shelly-esque!. I love you still, but as a person with real morals and beliefs – less as a journalist (but that can change). Maybe something great is about to happen – for you, me, Leo – or all of us. I hope so.

  32. CubbieBlue

    It’s not you it’s the sea change of the print media. Chicago has been firing The Sun-Times for the last 5 years.

  33. Paul

    Let me guess, you were close to retirement and getting a pension? The American way…fire to save money and not pay for retirement.

    I’m sure you will land on your feet. We love you Andy!

  34. Craig T

    Best of luck to you, Andy! You’re a great writer. I’ve always enjoyed your articles; and I love you on MacBreak Weekly. Take care.

  35. Andrew Hazlett

    Andy, I’m sorry to hear this news. You’re much more than a mere tech journalist. You think about the cultural and social impact as much as the micro-details of fresh gadgetry. If I could wave a magic wand, you would be installed at the New York Times. Seems to me your interests, integrity, and style would complement and enhance their mix of practical tips and analysis. Regardless, I have no doubt you soon will be snapped up by some fortunate publication.

  36. Jerry McCullough

    Sorry to hear that, Andy! I watch you all the time on MBW. Also listened to Ihnatko’s Almanac. Remember that when one door closes, another opens! I hope you find a gig at another publication sorry soon. Your talents are very much appreciated.

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