Amy Guth, who was recently tapped as the new General Manager for RedEye (with a weekday circulation of 200,000) and Metromix, has worn a lot of hats for the Tribune Company.
Prior to her current gig, she managed SEO and social media for the Tribune in addition to writing a social media column. Before that, she was digital editor for the news organization’s books section, Printers Row. I caught up with her to see what’s in store for her—and the company—with her new role.
What changes can readers expect to see in the near and distant future as a result of your influence?
I have big plans, and a low threshold of tolerance for rules and structures. What could go wrong?
Big plans related to what? Can you give me a tiny hint?
Digital and events.
Between the Sun-Times photographer layoff and the changeover at WBEZ, it seems like a tumultuous time in Chicago media. What's your philosophy on how Chicago's journalists can remain optimistic, relevant—and, most importantly—employed?
Certainly, our industry has seen a period of rapid change, and it hasn't been without casualties. Personally, I've always found change rather exciting because it forces creativity's hand. I think right now is an exciting time filled with multimedia opportunities spread out before us on which to tell our stories on different platforms. So, that said, I think collaboration and networking (online and off), digital adaptation, and constantly growing and challenging ourselves and our skill sets—all that is very important.
What have been some of your favorite things RedEye/Metromix has done lately?
What I've always loved about this brand is the people connected to it. The staff and the readers who get it and love it. I've also always been a fan of the DIY vibe—one of the first times I met "Chicago Wingman" Ernest Wilkins, for example, he had a spur-of-the-moment idea to recreate Ferris Bueller's Day Off by going to every key place in the movie, holding mini meet-ups in these locations, posting photos and social updates as he went. He did it! He even got onto a float in the Von Steuben Day parade (I personally witnessed that part). By the day's end, so many people in the community and in other cities followed along, and were rooting for him 100%.
On September 3, you announced your new role on Facebook, saying, “many people came by at different times and told me my office smells good, my new boss threw me a happy hour meet-n-greet type of deal and a chicken showed up and serenaded me.” What does your office smell like?
Funny you mention that. People keep coming by and remarking that it smells quite nice. Hat tip to my reed diffuser air freshener, I suppose. (And no offense intended to the previous occupant.)
What did the chicken serenade you with?
The chicken serenaded me with first a wonderful impromptu song that incorporated my first and last name into the lyrics, followed by a re-worked rendition of "Putting On The Ritz." It was lovely. I've since learned that the chicken is a recurring character in our RedEye/Metromix lives, first appearing at a meeting on former editor Tran Ha's birthday one year.