Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times
Biggest Scoop: The first interview with newly minted First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1992. “I’d kept her direct number from a previous interview. Also, I had the scoop on Greg Louganis having AIDS, and the Jordan split.”
Career-Defining Moment: “When Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, and Julia Roberts all walked by me in quick succession at the Academy Awards a few years ago, and said ‘Hi, Bill.’”
Hobnobs With: Joe Mantegna, Harold Ramis, Richard Roeper, Abra Prentice Wilkin, Christie Hefner, and Joan Steel.
Career Path: After graduating from Princeton, he worked for Charles Percy in 1972 in DC, jumped to First Chicago Bank & Trust’s training program, then had his own retail store for seven years while he freelanced on the side. He quit retail and was scooped up by Lerner Papers in 1987, finally joining the Sun-Times in 1992. He was a full-time entertainment reporter for NBC and Fox, and now is with CBS.
Mantra: Never throw out a phone number.
Celebrity Dish: “Tommy Lee Jones is always really tough; he hates the media. And Ed Norton has no sense of humor.”
Stella Foster, Chicago Sun-Times
Biggest Scoop: "I’ve had so many— marriages, concerts, breakups, adoptions—but the most recent was sad; the death of Bernie Mac."
Career-Defining Moment: “When they offered me my own column at the Sun- Times, after my dad and Kup [Irv Kupcinet, the Sun-Times’ late gossip columnist] died in the same year. It debuted December 2, 2003.”
Hobnobs With: Designer Shell Reyes, Judge Arnette Hubbard, Dr. Linda O’Bannon, Melody Spann- Cooper, and Art Norman.
Career Path: Worked for the PR director of Beatrice Foods, then for Irv Kupcinet for 25 years.
Mentor: “My sister Jamie Foster Brown and her husband, Dr. Lorenzo Brown, who gave me my first column in Sister 2 Sister magazine.”
Mantra: Don’t print to print; always be fair.
Celebrity Dish: Hates celebrities who pretend they can’t stand the paparazzi yet are always in public places where the paparazzi are.
Ann Gerber, Skyline
Biggest Scoop: Reporting Elizabeth Taylor’s nose job at 16, and oh-so many celeb tweaks since, including Carolyn Bessette- Kennedy’s nose and dye jobs.
Career-Defining Moment: “When the Sun-Times hired me as society editor in 1989. It was the only time people in Barrington, Lake Forest, and Kenilworth bought the paper.”
Hobnobs With: Author Sherrill Bodine, Mamie Walton, Mary Ann Childers, and Paula Fasseas and her luncheon groups.
Career Path: Started working for the Lerner Papers in high school and college (at Senn, Wright Junior College, Mundelein, and Northwestern University). She left Lerner in 1989 for the Sun-Times, then went to Leader Papers in 1992 and back to Lerner’s Skyline when it was bought by the Sun-Times. In February of this year, Skyline was sold to The Journal.
Mentor: Leo Lerner.
Mantra: Everybody has a story.
Celebrity Dish: “[I’ve feuded with] social climbing bitches who push everyone out of their way. They know who they are.”
Shia Kapos, Crain’s Chicago Business
Biggest Scoop: Construction woes at the Palmolive Building, home to numerous Chicago business executives.
Career-Defining Moment: Working on the Metro desk at the Chicago Tribune.
Hobnobs With: The folks who work behind the camera.
Career Path: Always wanted to be a print journalist, but dabbled in radio and book publishing, and landed at Crain’s after stints at People magazine’s Chicago bureau and the Chicago Tribune.
Mentor: Andrea Hanis, Kapos’ editor at Crain’s.
Mantra: Have no fear and forget about being thin-skinned.
Celebrity Dish: “When George Clooney was shooting in Chicago, he mistook me for someone else, and he said something nasty about People reporters.”
Liz Crokin, RedEye
Biggest Scoop: “Tough because there have been so many—the Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo breakup is the freshest, but I also broke the Hilary Duff–Joel Madden breakup. I don’t mean to be, but I seem to be the breakup queen.”
Career-Defining Moment: “Getting my column in RedEye, on September 29, 2003.”
Hobnobs With: Rande Gerber, Chelsea Handler, Mark Cuban, and restaurateurs Jack Binyon, Donnie Kruse, and John Coletti.
Career Path: At the University of Iowa, she had internships with the White House and Bill O’Reilly; worked as a wire reporter for City News Bureau on the night shift, then got a column in RedEye. She also freelanced for In Touch and Us Weekly, and currently freelances for E! News, Life & Style, and Extra.
Mentor: RedEye manager Brad Moore.
Mantra: Work hard, play hard.
Celebrity Dish: “Where to begin... Vince Vaughn completely blew me off a few months ago even though I know him well. John Cusack yelled at me when he mistook me for a reporter who’d caught him lying.”
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