Standoff between Chicago Reader co-owner, staff leaves paper's future in doubt

The Chicago Reader has been serving the city for more than 50 years. But now, the future of it is in doubt.

A squabble with ownership is delaying the Chicago Reader's transition to a nonprofit model, and the Reader is running out of money and time.

The conflict stems from an op-ed written by co-owner Leonard Goodman in which he expressed concern about vaccinating his daughter against COVID-19. The piece sparked backlash among staff who brought in an independent fact-checker to address his inaccuracies.

Goodman calls it censorship, and he has to sign off on the paper's transition to nonprofit status.


On Thursday, supporters held a rally in front of the co-owner's home. The music editor and head of the union says they likely have enough money for payroll for one more week, but he is still holding out hope for this Chicago treasure.

"It's unique in being one of the oldest alt weeklies still standing. It’s a free paper … but what's more important is it addresses Chicago, as I put it, eye to eye, not from a distance. We are sort of in and of Chicago. We love it and we want to see it thrive," said Phillip Montero.

The staff wants to continue to raise awareness about the Reader in hopes that Chicagoans will support their fight to save it.