CWN suspends fall publication

By Katherine Anne Robinson

The Chicago Weekly News has stopped publishing for the remainder of the quarter due to financial and management problems. They intend to resume printing Winter Quarter.

“We’re not planning to compete. We’re planning to win,” said Chicago Weekly News publisher David Muraskin in a prepared statement. Muraskin declined further comment.

In an article that ran on the cover of yesterday’s issue of the Chicago Weekly News, Muraskin and executive editor Sivani Babu cited the poor economy, combined with the small profit margin of a newly-established newspaper and past mismanagement, as the main factors that contributed to their decision to take a hiatus.

“It is our hope that the next seven weeks will allow us to rebuild our advertising base and improve the general structure of the paper,” Muraskin and Babu wrote in the article.

Assistant news editor Kendra Tucker explained the break as a time to find financial support. “We hope to amass financial backing through increased advertising and hope to get more contributors to sponsor our paper,” Tucker said.

According to Larry Arbeiter, the director of University communications and the University News Office, the current problem the Chicago Weekly News faces “isn’t in any way a result of what David or Sivani did. They inherited a difficult situation.”

“They’re obviously unhappy, but are doing a very responsible thing by taking this time. I hope they can improve it,” he said.

Chicago Weekly News contributing editor Nick Kolakowski echoed Arbeiter’s sentiments. “They inherited a system that was destined to fail,” Kolakowski said.

“When we ran the CWN we ran a pretty tight ship,” Kolakowski said, referring to the period between March 2000 and July 2001 when he served as executive editor of the newspaper. “From what I heard, Lani Perlman and Kimberly [Buxbaum] ran it into the ground.” Perlman and Buxbaum were last year’s publisher and executive editor, respectively.

“It’s really sad,” Kolakowski added. “I hope that they can clean up the mess from the previous people and get the paper back up next quarter.”

Adam Harrington (BA ’01), who was with the Chicago Weekly News from December of 1998 through November of 2001, and who served as the newspaper’s publisher while Kolakowski was executive editor, said he believes it will be very difficult for the editors to overcome this situation.

“I can’t judge what their motives are in [taking a hiatus]. I’d hate to think it was their only option,” Harrington said. “I think they’ll have a very hard time starting up again. Writers will go elsewhere and it would be a real shame if they shut down for good.”

“It’s not good to have one paper providing all the news. That’s why the paper started up in the first place,” he said.

According to Harrington, the paper survived and did very well for a few years. “When people like myself, Jake Gershman and Nick Kolakowski were there, we prided ourselves on getting quality news out as quickly as we could,” he said.

After Harrington stepped down, Perlman took over his position. “She and Kim threw away everything that was there in order to make the paper entirely theirs. Anyone who questioned what was being done was thrown out the door. I myself was fired in November of last year,” he said.

Harrington said that Perlman and Buxbaum blamed others anytime something went wrong at the paper. “They didn’t take responsibility for anything,” he said.

“I knew at the time the damage done was going to be very hard to undo and I wish there was something else I could have done,” Harrington said.