Accepting an invitation to speak at a meeting of the Hinckley
Historical Society later this month on the history of local weeklies
and community journalism, I decided to contact someone who spent
more years than I did in the weekly business to get her input.
Kathy Siebrasse and her late husband, Chuck, owned The
MidWeek for 19 years before selling it to the Daily Chronicle.
Kathy graduated with a journalism degree from Northern Illinois
University and went to work at the Chronicle for two years as
Next, she was hired by Jim Morel, who owned the Citizens
Shopping News, which was renamed The MidWeek and converted into
a weekly newspaper, not just a shopper filled with ads.
Kathy served as editor for the next two years, the same
as I did right after college, when I was hired as editor of three
Ogle County weeklies.
When Morel decided to sell, she and Chuck bought the paper
in 1982 and owned it until 2001. She said editing a weekly was
hard work and stressful, but also a magical and inspiring time.
She loved interviewing people all over the county and learning
about their lives and accomplishments.
She and Chuck also immersed themselves in community activities,
volunteering for many groups and events, as well as promoting
My time in community journalism was life-changing.
I was lucky I found my calling at a young age,
Kathy Siebrasse and her late husband Chuck are shown
in their MidWeek newspaper office some 30 years ago. second photo
of Kathy at her desk. (Photos provided)
I can testify to the same feeling of making a difference in the
life of a small town, so I now realize my time in the weekly
business were some of the best years of my life.
Since nearly all the local weeklies no longer are in business
around the county, I asked Kathy what she thinks will replace
them, if anything. She said blogs, Facebook and podcasts are
what attracts the younger generation today. Social media
outlets are the wave of the future, she said. But she did
caution that there is a lot of misinformation produced by people
who dont care about the facts or share emails that they
dont take the time to verify as factual.
After they sold the paper to the Daily Chronicle, she went
to work for Sen. Brad Burzynski as his district director for
10 years. She also worked as the public relations director for
the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.
During this time, she launched her own local magazine,
Invironments, which she ran from 2008 to 2014. Beginning in 2011,
she also worked at NIU and now is in the Center for Governmental
Studies. She still is using her journalism skills on the job,
producing newsletters, working on websites and other communications-related
So our paths in journalism are very similar, as I left
newspapering in the1980s to become public information officer
for a Department of Energy research and engineering laboratory
in the San Francisco Bay Area, eventually becoming manager of
public affairs and employee communications, a career that lasted
more than 20 years.
During the later years in my career, I returned to column
writing as a sideline for three newspapers in the Bay Area. Upon
retiring and returning to DeKalb County 11 years ago, I found
the Chronicle willing to add my column to its pages, so have
enjoyed that part time off and on since then.
I asked Kathy why she isnt writing a column or producing
a blog. She said she is busy enough at work, but did not rule
out returning to personal journalism at some point
in the future. I hope she does, as her background and knowledge
of DeKalb County would make a very interesting column.