Meet the RedEye Staff

Amy Guth

General Manager

  • What I do: General manager, RedEye and Metromix
  • Who I am: I head up RedEye and Metromix Chicago, host “RedEye Remix” on WGN Radio (Saturday nights, 12-2 a.m.), and in 2013, I was named Chicago’s Funniest Media Personality by Laugh Factory. I’m president of the Association for Women Journalists Chicago, a mentor-editor at The Op-Ed Project and author of the novel, "Three Fallen Women.” Before RedEye and Metromix, I was SEO/social media manager for Chicago Tribune, where I also co-wrote a social media column and was co-host of the "30 Second Social" series. I co-hosted the long-running Chicago reading series, RUI: Reading Under The Influence, for four years. And prior to that, I covered digital publishing for the news organization's books section, helped out with the early phases of ChicagoNow and somewhere in there, was named to Chicago Newcity Lit Top 50 list. And prior to that, I covered digital publishing for the news organization's books section and helped out with the early phases of ChicagoNow. Before that I founded and served as executive director of Pilcrow, a small press literary festival, and cooked and wrote for a living.
  • What I like: Krav maga, kayaking, cooking, a totally crazy challenge, cowgirl boots, The Smiths and excellent manners.
  • Talk to me about: Digital media and publishing, search engine optimization, book promotion, broadcast, social media, the intersection of technology with literature and journalism. And folding oragami cranes.

Kristin Samuelson

Managing Editor

  • What I do: I oversee all things RedEye, including the production of our website, iPad, print edition, videos, social media, apps, and our awesome staff. I'm also in charge of the digital sides of Metromix and The Mash.
  • Who I am: While I was born in Chicago, I grew up for the most part in Woodstock, IL. Where's that, you say? It's where "Groundhog's Day" was filmed. Singing has always been a big hobby of mine. I graduated in 2005 with a degree in journalism and a minor in vocal music and was lucky enough to land myself an internship right out of college at WGN Radio as the assistant producer for the Spike O'Dell morning drive program. That helped me start my career at the Chicago Tribune in 2006 as the editorial board coordinator. Since then, I've tried my hand at consumer-help reporting, business reporting, video production, and now finally RedEye.
  • What I like: When I'm not at RedEye, you can find me singing karaoke. I hate football, but I'm a huge Bulls fan, and I like the Cu ... I mean drinking at Wrigley Field. I also thoroughly enjoy jumping on the Blackhawks bandwagon when they're doing well, and am not too proud to admit it.
  • Talk to me about: Journalism, digital journalism, consumer help, online video production, easy video tips for non-photojournalists, producing radio segments (generating ideas, lining up guests, developing the show's structure), singing, live music performance, networking.

Annie Cercone

Designer

  • What I do: I'm a designer for RedEye. I design for all platforms including print, iPad and web.
  • Who I am: I'm originally from Columbus, Ohio, and I started with RedEye in April of 2014. Before RedEye, I graduated from Ohio University in 2011 (OU Oh Yeah, Go Bobcats) and spending a couple years at the Abercrombie & Fitch home office.
  • What I like: Oldies and Motown music (especially on vinyl). PIZZA. When interactivity meets a beautiful design, on that note any design that's beautiful/cool/interesting/awesome/precious. Pittsburgh sports. Midwest folks who are nice to strangers.
  • Talk to me about: Anything listed above, or anything at all really. I enjoy conversing about most subjects!

Annie Ryan

Business Development Manager

  • What I do: I develop and enhance new revenue streams for RedEye and Metromix by leveraging our unique brand resources to create partnerships. I also am involved in strategic planning for the RedEye and Metromix brands and help support marketing, editorial and sales initiatives. I oversee The Mash, Chicago Tribune’s weekly teenage media brand, aimed at empowering our next generation of young consumers through journalism and news literacy.
  • Who I am: I grew up the youngest of three kids, mostly in Columbus, Ind., with the exception of 3.5 years in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I majored in fine arts and art history at Indiana University, with a focus in graphic design. While growing up and in college, I realized that I always enjoyed being the event planner in my clubs and extra curriculars, leading me to a career in event marketing. I worked on the Tribune Events Group team for about five years and then shifted into my current role. I currently live in Lincoln Park with my husband, Matt, and puppy, Lorenzo.
  • What I like: I teach kids art lessons on the side and love to dabble with haphazard art projects (painting, drawing, random Pinterest crafts, etc.). I love running and usually run a few half marathons a year. I have run 4 Chicago Marathons but enjoy the minis a bit more . Travel dominates my husband’s and my schedule. We take long weekends to visit family and friends around the country or destination trips to explore abroad, etc. Other loves include country music, Indiana basketball and Michigan football.
  • Talk to me about: Partnerships, brand strategy, teen media.

Ashley Thorpe

Event Producer

  • What I do: I am RedEye’s event marketing and production lady. I work alongside editorial, marketing and advertising to bring RedEye stories and brand initiatives to life. I sell events, manage client expectations, book venues, vendors and talent.
  • Who I am: A very lucky, loud and proud 25 year old from Elmhurst. Thanks, Ma!
  • What I like: Singing and dancing, preferably to Beyoncé, and good guacamole. In that order.
  • Talk to me about: Crazy ideas, new events, solid programming and clients with tons of money to spend. (I'm kidding about that last one. Sort of.)

Chris Sosa

Sports Editor

  • What I do: I’m RedEye’s sports editor. If there’s something awesome or noteworthy involving sports, especially in Chicago, it’s my job to get you pumped about it—through any print/visual/audio means necessary. For the most part, sports are fun as hell, so they should be presented that way.
  • Who I am: My roots run deep in Chitown. I was born and raised on the South Side, then attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and have been back working in the city ever since. I’ve been fortunate to have interacted with and witnessed any number of inspiring athletes, from high-schoolers on up to larger-than-life legends.
  • What I like: If I’m not at the office or covering an event, well, I’m still probably at a game or watching one. Or on the golf course, or practicing martial arts, or playing volleyball, or grabbing drinks with friends. I may or may not have an unhealthy addiction to TV (I love “The Walking Dead,” “Homeland” or “How I Met Your Mother,” to name a few).
  • Talk to me about: Anything sports related, of course! And we’re always looking for story ideas that will get our readers laughing, crying or thinking. Bring it on.

Rianne Coale

Web Production Intern

  • What I do: I’m a web production intern for Metromix. Basically, I run the Twitter and Facebook accounts so that Chicago knows what's up with the city’s entertainment. I also create lists and guides that make searching for particular restaurants, bars or activities easier.
  • Who I am: I’ve been an intern at Metromix/RedEye for a whopping eight months on and off. I just recently started back after a four month hiatus, during which I graduated from Loyola University Chicago. I am now the proud owner of a degree in Journalism. I say owner because I paid an arm and a leg for that piece of paper! I’m the girl that walks into the office dressed from head to toe in solid black but has a personality that’s as colorful as a rainbow. I frequently laugh silently to myself at my own punny genius while I schedule social media, but my jokes, for some reason, are never quite as funny when I share them out loud with peers. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, my childhood house is haunted.
  • What I like: I like white wine and Netflix. I spend a lot of time LOOKING for things to do and not enough time DOING them. I have a passion for photography. I can beat the pants off of anyone playing Just Dance and I love to bake, especially cookies! There’s a special place in my heart for adventure and thrill seeking. I also really love performing and watching improv comedy. Honestly just a slap a label that says ‘FUN’ on anything and I’m in!
  • Talk to me about: Bras and panties—I work at Victoria’s Secret. Horror movies because chances are I’ve seen it. I love hearing people tell embarrassing stories about themselves and sharing mine. Nonsense. I can probably make sense of it somehow. Tell me what’s on your mind because I’d love to have an intelligent conversation with you!

Curt Wagner

Production Editor / TV Critic

  • What I do: I oversee production of RedEye’s print edition, edit stories in the print and online editions and supervise copy desk and designers working at night. I try my best to keep up with the Show Patrol TV blog, in which I used to write more frequently. Hopefully someday I will again.
  • Who I am: I've done just about every job at Chicago Tribune and RedEye, but happiest doing the TV gig. I love going to Comic-Con or set visits and talking to artists about their work.
  • What I like: Other than TV, I dabble in reading, watching pro tennis (used to play before blowing out my shoulder), and am a big U of Nebraska volleyball fan. Love hanging with my friends and their kids (I'm the fun uncle). Oh, and I have two cats.
  • Talk to me about: TV, including "Strike Back," "AHS: Coven," and "Doctor Who."

Dana Moran

Features Editor

  • What I do: Some days, I’m writing a board game based on Katy Perry’s career and testing a new brand of nail polish. Others, I’m editing six movie reviews in one morning and pulling together a last-minute spread about November fashion staples. I’m RedEye’s features editor, and my job is to stretch myself and others to be more creative every day.
  • Who I am: I’m from Bellingham, Wash., and graduated from the Newhouse School’s newspaper program at Syracuse University. I spent four years at SU’s student newspaper, The Daily Orange, where I did jobs ranging from features editor to editor-in-chief to design editor. I previously worked as a designer at the Times of Northwest Indiana, and spent more than three years as a copy editor at RedEye before moving into my current role.
  • What I like: Being athletic, cooking, eating, drinking, reading, wearing fuzzy socks, yelling, decorating, riding my bike, laughing.
  • Talk to me about: Turning a basic idea into a complete infographics package. Thinking outside the box. Making your pop-culture content accessible to non-idiots. Freelancing for the features section. Competing on your bar trivia team.

Elise De Los Santos

Copy Editor

  • What I do: I'm one half of the copy editing collective at RedEye. I fact-check stories, edit them for grammar and style and proof pages for general prettiness.
  • Who I am: Northwestern Medill alumna, bleeder of purple and white, lifetime resident of the western suburbs, survivor of 12 years of Catholic school, chronic alphabetizer and color-coder, Black Friday shopper and Starbucks Gold Card holder.
  • What I like: Big books (and I cannot lie), road trips, tailgates, football on TV, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, European history, English literature, amaretto sours and the colors cerulean blue and emerald green.
  • Talk to me about: Compound modifiers, Oxford commas, hyphenated prefixes, suburban living, those stacks of paper glued together called books, Harry Potter, Christopher Nolan films and any drama imported from the BBC.

Emily Brown

Web Reporting Intern

  • What I do: I’m the web intern for RedEye. That means I post a lot of the articles that you see in print everyday on RedEye’s website. I also keep the site up to date at night. I write a few sports articles as well.
  • Who I am: I started interning at RedEye in February. I’m currently a student at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in journalism and psychology and am graduating in December. I’ve interned around a few spots in Chicago at Comcast SportsNet, WGN Sports and 22nd Century Media (a chain of newspapers in the suburbs).
  • What I like: I love sports. Bears, White Sox, Blackhawks and the Bulls are my teams. But my number one sport? NASCAR. Aside from making fun of me for my sports obsession, my friends say I’m too busy. In my off time, you can find me at the beach this summer. Most importantly, I truly appreciate all of the opportunities I’ve had at RedEye. Aside from learning about writing and posting for the web, I’ve had more interview opportunities and written more articles than I thought I’d ever be able to at such an early stage in my career. They’re opportunities some people will never get, and I am forever grateful for those.
  • Talk to me about: Sports, sports and more sports! Or any content you’d like added to the web. Have an idea for a cool photo gallery? I’m your person. Want something added to the our news feed? Let me know.

Ernest Wilkins

Music Reporter

  • What I do: I research, write and talk about music all day. Need music interviews, criticism or columns? I GOT YOU. Also, hugs. I'm a good hugger.
  • Who I am: A native Chicagoan by way of Homewood, Ill. I stumbled into this job. After attending Florida State University, I took an entry-level job at Island Def Jam Music Group and worked as an assistant A&R. Lost that job, got an internship at RedEye and never looked back. Long story short: It’s not how you get there, it’s what you do when you arrive.
  • What I like: Sports, boxing as a workout, pro wrestling not as a workout, cooking, dancing, DJ’ing, making mixtapes and playlists, doing comedy, throwing parties, reading, reading, and more reading.
  • Talk to me about: Sports, music (especially rap), pro wrestling, men’s clothes, booze, nightlife, DJ’ing, team building.

Gwendolyn Purdom

Copy Editor

  • What I do: Consider me the grammar/accuracy/writing-style police. I read every story for RedEye and try to make sure we don’t do something mortifying, like use the wrong form of your. I also write articles about various things: weddings, sports, take-out, Lego experts, etc. Oh, and they let me embrace my lame love of puns, writing headlines and decks.
  • Who I am: I’m a Chicagoland native who headed out east to Lehigh University (You may remember us from such awesome sports upsets as unseating No. 2 Duke as a 15 seed during March Madness a few years back.) in Pennsylvania, then stuck around in Washington, D.C. for four years. In D.C., I interned with USA Today, then worked at Washingtonian magazine where I reviewed theater and wrote the monthly pets column, among other things. I also spent a few of my D.C. years as the associate editor at Preservation magazine, where we covered history and architecture. Since I’ve been back in sweet home Chicago, I’ve worked on the Tribune’s digital news desk and just joined RedEye’s team this summer.
  • What I like: Dogs and animals in general (which is not to say I don’t love a good burger), theater, books, pop culture, history and obscure trivia of all sorts. I’m pretty much curious about everything, which is why I’ve written about a lot of different things.
  • Talk to me about: The time I auditioned to be one of the Washington Nationals baseball team’s racing presidents mascots for a story and fell on my face. Or went undercover to the D.C. Scientology Center. I’m interested in stories that reveal a world or culture or characters I didn’t know existed.

Jay St. Pierre

Designer

  • What I do: I design that pretty little sports section you read every day, and help out with the design of our iPad edition. I also usually design the cover of the print edition once a week and pick up Music, Movies, Eat & Drink and other print pages as needed.
  • Who I am: I was born and raised in Destrehan, La., a small town right outside of New Orleans. I’m one of three kids. I went to LSU (GEAUX TIGERS!!!) where I studied mass communications, kinesiology and business administration. I starting my career at The Claion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. From there, I moved to Colorado Springs, where I became the lead sports designer for The Gazette. I lived there for a little more than a year before taking the same position at The World-Herald in Omaha, Neb. I spent two years in Nebraska before taking this job in Chicago.
  • What I like: Sports ... sports ... and more sports. I love football and pretty much anything LSU. I can also watch the occasional basketball and baseball games. I’m slowly becoming a hockey fan since pretty much everyone at RedEye loves the Blackhawks. I love being outside, which kinda explains why I moved from the South to Colorado. I love cooking—but not just Cajun food. Moving to this city has made me try foods I’ve never tried before, and I’m slowly attempting to recreate them in my kitchen. Oh ... and I love trying new beers, whiskeys and wines.
  • Talk to me about: NOTHING! I'm really antisocial. OK, that's kind of a lie considering I'll talk to anyone as long as they can hold a good conversation. Go ahead and ask me about sports, fantasy football, country music and my family.

Jenny McCabe

Product Manager

  • What I do: Account Executive and local lead on all RedEye and Metromix advertising sales strategies and promotions.
  • Who I am: Youngest of 5 from the ‘burbs and fiercely loyal friend. Discovered my passion for advertising as a freshman at Illinois State’s Daily Vidette. After more than 12 years in the industry and a number of different roles within Chicago Tribune and RedEye, I am still as crazy about it as ever. I am proud to help produce a product that represents this incredible city. Outside of work, you can find me at a music festival, checking out the new place that just opened down the street, or playing Cards Against Humanity.
  • What I like: Things that make me tick? Wandering aimlessly around the city and exploring all of its hidden gems, photography, live music, art museums, old school movie theaters, Costco’s Sweet Kale Salad, yoga, Super Mario Brothers (OG Nintendo only, please), a good Manhattan on a corner bar stool, bonfires, street art, Michigan sunsets, anything on the Chicago lakefront, and laughing…lots of laughing.
  • Talk to me about: Advertising your business in RedEye and Metromix, TV series binge-watching, where to go for dinner and drinks in the city, design, bourbon, and my enormous (and awesome) family.

Jessica Cantarelli

Editor, Metromix

  • What I do: I run Metromix! You know, that awesome (and revamped) site where you can find out where to go, what to do, what to eat and who to see in and around the city and suburbs.
  • Who I am: Born and raised in the ‘burbs, I started my journalism career at the Chicago Sun-Times, where I helped launched a hyperlocal, citizen journalism brand where I exclusively covered Chicago’s North Shore. From there, I began working at TribLocal, the Tribune’s hyperlocal, citizen journalism newspapers and websites. After a few years there, I discovered my passion for web production (let’s face it, web traffic), and landed my dream job at RedEye as the digital producer, and eventually jumped into my current role at Metromix.
  • What I like: Pizza. I’m married to a pizzeria owner, so pizza is pretty much my life (much more than it was before I met him and would just...order pizza constantly). It’s a family owned and operated business, so I lend a hand in various capacities (i.e. Pizza Taster). I am mommy to a bouncing baby boy named Leo, who is a really cool little dude. My third love is TV. Talk to me about “American Horror Story: Coven,” “Real Housewives,” “Catfish,” “Walking Dead” and my favorite Canadian soap opera “Being Erica.”
  • Talk to me about: What’s going on in Chicago/the suburbs. Ask me about which restaurant to take your family when they’re in town or your group of girlfriends for a bachelorette party! Since I sit in front of a huge database of information on local restaurants/bars/events all day long, I have a pretty good idea of what is going on and what you should be doing. I’m also a pro bono life coach, and love giving advice on various aspects of your life—be it dating, fashion or health insurance. Or, we can talk about TV. Seriously, talk to me about TV.

Jessica Galliart

Social Media Editor

  • What I do: Manage the social media accounts (yeah, that means Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr...) for RedEye and generally creep on my coworkers during their awesome reporting and video'ing adventures to Instagram the crap out of it.
  • Who I am: I hail from Kansas an am a proud Columbia College Chicago alumna (2009). Anyone willing to do some pro bono dogwalking work during the day? I just adopted my girl, Tillie. I've done everything from working for a very iconic adult magazine to reviewing iPhone apps to writing about celebrity hair. And I might tweet too much.
  • What I like: You know what I don't like? Football. It's terrible. Concerts not at arenas, responsibly balancing my low tolerance for alcohol with experimentation of new-to-me beers and Netflix marathons are my general jams. Though, I wouldn't turn down an opportunity to go to a baseball (Cubs) or basketball (Bulls) or hockey (Blackhawks) game.
  • Talk to me about: Social media; bouncing a story, video or series idea; general Internet idiocy (I can wax poetic, really); music (not in an official capacity, just to, y'know, talk).

Jessica Schuh

Senior Marketing Consultant, RedEye & Metromix

  • What I do: Act as the RedEye & Metromix “brand manager”, which includes executing marketing campaigns, managing media sponsorships and trades, coordinating promotional activities and wrangling the RedEye mascot (with an occasional guest performance).
  • Who I am: A DePaul University graduate, originating from the burbs (What up Crystal Lake?!) and currently residing in Lakeview. I spend a lot of time with my large, crazy family and reading far too much junk on the internet. On the weekends you can typically find me at my favorite dive bar with my misfit band of friends. They're the best/worst.
  • What I like:Ballet, books, food, books about food, internet memes, cooking, Instagram, food documentaries, exploring Chicago and Netflix.
  • Talk to me about:Media sponsorships, campaigns, promotions and any fun ways RedEye can get involved around the city!

Jesus Gamboa

Sales Representative

  • What I do: I’m an advertising sales rep for RedEye & Metromix.
  • Who I am: A UIUC graduate born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. I’m now living in Lakeview and enjoy exploring new places and things to do in the city.
  • What I like: Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, & White Sox. I like keeping up with TV shows (Game of Thrones, True Detective, Breaking Bad, the list goes on and on…) and bouncing around concerts and street fests.
  • Talk to me about: Any and all advertising opportunities with RedEye & Metromix. I’m also always up for a good debate on sports, shows, music and more.

Jordan Schultz

Web Editor

  • What I do: I manage the web and online strategy for RedEye. At any given time, I could be building a podcast, working with reporters, coding a webpage, editing a print story, reorganizing our backend, writing a story, editing photos in Photoshop or programming our homepage. I’m all over the place.
  • Who I am: Much like my job, I’m serially all over the place. I hail from Indianapolis but have lived in Chicago, Boston and Madrid. I’ve worked in bars, politics, retail, economics and now journalism. I’ve only lived on the West Side of Chicago but I totally travel.
  • What I like: Peanut butter, dark chocolate, peanut butter and dark chocolate, wine, tequila, writing, Star Wars, exercise, life.
  • Talk to me about: Literally anything. I talk too much. (Ironic because this is my shortest answer.)

Kara Stefanik

National Account Manager

  • What I do: I work in the advertising department and help to develop comprehensive print and digital campaigns for RedEye’s national clients—particularly the beer and liquor clients.
  • Who I am: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, attended the University of Iowa for college and currently live in the Lakeview neighborhood.
  • What I like: Running, photography, music and traveling. I make it a goal to travel somewhere new at least once a year.
  • Talk to me about: Anything related to music. I live for concerts and summer music festivals and love checking out new bands before they hit the spotlight.

Kate Bernot

Nightlife Reporter

  • What I do: I cover nightlife and events for RedEye; this means anything bar-, booze- or beer-related falls under my purview. I also pen the occasional restaurant review.
  • Who I am: Originally a New Jersey native, I moved to the Midwest to attend journalism school at Northwestern and have been here ever since. I was a freelance food journalist before joining RedEye. Now I get paid to drink and write, two of my most favorite activities.
  • What I like: I live in Ukrainian Village, where you can probably find me running (gotta work off that beer somehow), biking, reading a book at Star Lounge or baking something overly ambitious in my kitchen. I’m a N.Y. Giants fan, but will be the first to mock Eli’s pouty face.
  • Talk to me about: Craft beer, spirits, Chicago restaurants, how awesome it is to live west of Ashland Avenue, biking, home cooking, Bruce Springsteen.

Aly Morris

Design Director

  • What I do: I lead a talented team of print and digital designers across multiple platforms and specialize in visually-compelling wraps, special editions, original illustrations and more.
  • Who I am: Ohio University grad where I majored in informational graphics and publication design.
  • What I like: Design, illustration, data visualizations, hand-drawn typography, fonts and additive color combinations. Coffee, brunch, sushi, attempting to use my kitchen, baking, reading and national parks. Oh, and cheese…because duh.
  • Talk to me about: Making awesome charts from a list of numbers, interactive tablet design, any or all of the national parks, the latest edition of Wired or NY Mag, or if you're interested in going to school for visual communication.

Lauren Cahill

Sales Representative

  • What I do: I am a sales rep for both RedEye & Metromix.
  • Who I am: I grew up outside of Chicago and I currently live in Lakeview. I enjoy spending quality time with my awesome family, which includes seven nieces and nephews all under the age of 11. I try to travel as much as humanly possible.
  • What I like: Nice weather, which leads to relaxing on a patio with some wine and friends.
  • Talk to me about: Anything! Well almost anything...

Lenny Gilmore

Photo Editor

  • What I do: My job responsibilities include managing a freelance staff of photojournalists and videographers, taking care of any 'in house' photography needs, producing long term video projects and expanding the RedEye brand into new areas.
  • Who I am: I am the middle child of three to Patricia and Leonard Gilmore. My parents are shy, wonderfully kind and quietly adventurous. I grew up in Batavia, Ill., ( go Bulldogs! ) where I fell in love with photography, prairie wetlands and power pop music.
  • What I like: I enjoy reading science fiction while drinking coffee with my girlfriend, watching movies about things that are painfully funny, eating things covered in wasabi and/or garlic, drinking coffee at night with friends, & hearing true stories from strangers. Also I use primarily Canon equipment and my favorite lenses include 16-35mm 2.8L, 50mm 1.2L, and my 100mm 2.8L Macro.
  • Talk to me about: I'd love to talk about developing podcasts, as I am currently working on my first, “Mistakes We Made.” I'd call myself an expert at Adobe Photoshop, and am always happy to talk about techniques and workflow. Additionally I am well versed in a few areas of photography: photojournalism, documentary, iPhone photography, portrait, food and digital composite/illustration. Lastly I've recently become particularly interested in cross-platform implementation of multimedia projects, especially in creating content that transfers best from web/print to the iPad.

Leonor Vivanco

Reporter

  • What I do: I’m a general assignment reporter. I get to cover everything from the mayoral election to a beer workout to a police ride-along to the Hawks Stanley Cup run.
  • Who I am: A native Chicagoan, from North Mayfair, who started my journalism career at the legendary City News service after graduating from U of I. I took a four-year hiatus from the Windy City to live, work at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs and The Sun in San Bernardino, and play in Southern California before returning to Chicago. I even named my dog Cali. I miss the warm weather and the ocean. I hate being cold – and for me that’s any temperature below 70. But I still love Chicago.
  • What I like: Traveling. Running along the lakefront. Playing with my adorable, sweet dog. Watching sports and playing on RedEye’s softball and bowling teams. Cooking for “Top Chef” viewing parties. Dabbling in landscape photography. Reading celebrity gossip (especially about Ryan Gosling). Spoiling my niece and nephews. Giving into my TV addiction for “Homeland.”
  • Talk to me about: The Hawks, city politics, pop culture, races in Chicago, fashion trends, travel and of course dogs. Would love to hear about story ideas and adventurous things too. I’ve gone skydiving, ziplining, surfing and paddleboarding. I’ve run the Chicago Marathon, kayaked in the river, played bubble soccer and rappelled off the Wit hotel.

Lisa Arnett

Eat & Drink, Lifestyle & Special Sections editor

  • What I do: I have the pleasure of wrangling all of our delicious dining and intoxicating nightlife coverage, which includes stories I write and those written by RedEye’s nightlife and events reporter Kate Bernot and dining contributor Michael Nagrant. I also manage editorial for RedEye’s glossy guides (those pretty little magazines that you sometimes find inside your paper) and edit the occasional shopping or lifestyle feature.
  • Who I am: Before I came to RedEye, I covered dining, nightlife and shopping for its sibling site, Metromix, and worked on the 2006 edition of Chicago SHOPS, an annual shopping publication from Chicago Magazine. I also wrote about everything from Broadway shows to beauty trends at Dance Spirit, a NYC-based dance magazine that you probably haven’t heard of unless you danced as a teen or know someone who did. Like many journalism school grads, my first staff job after graduating from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was covering local news for a suburban newspaper.
  • What I like: Trying new restaurants, sipping craft cocktails, uncorking champagne and shopping for anything, especially clothes, shoes, jewelry and home goods. I’m a White Sox fan who enjoys the hot dogs and beer as much as the action on the field. I like cooking but like it more when someone else is doing it.
  • Talk to me about: How to break into freelancing for a publication, where to go for your next shopping trip, and where to take your friend/parents/significant other to dinner for any given occasion.

Megan Crepeau

Reporter

  • What I do: I cover all things money: business, labor, finance high and not-so-high, policy, debt, anything with a dollar sign in front of it. Is Chicago going to raise its minimum wage? What’s it like to live on food stamps? Is the student debt problem ever going to be dealt with? Why are certain neighborhoods gentrifying and others aren’t? Exactly how screwed is this generation? That’s what I’m trying to find out.
  • Who I am: I grew up in southeastern Idaho, the sagebrush-and-potato capital of the world, and studied journalism at Northwestern. After a couple of years as an editorial assistant at the Tribune, I jumped ship for RedEye.
  • What I like: Cooking, nail polish, killer whales, Twitter, premium cable, TYPING IN ALL CAPS, comic books, country music, Chicago, gin.
  • Talk to me about: The difference between “who” and “whom.” GET IT RIGHT.

Matt Pais

Movie Critic / music editor

  • What I do: As the RedEye movie critic and music editor, I review an average of 4-5 movies per week, ask celebrities questions both insightful and amusingly absurd, oversee our local and national music content and much more. I also represent RedEye outside the building by covering movies for the NBC news at noon every Friday.
  • Who I am: I'm a Deerfield, Ill., native and graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. How did I wind up in this job? A passion for journalism and entertainment coverage that entertains and provokes discussion among readers and never settles for the ordinary. My favorites movies are "Rushmore" and "Before Sunrise."
  • What I like: In Chicago, I support burgers/pizza with elaborate toppings and the Cubs, dark beer and all-you-can-eat sushi. Outside Chicago: Traveling in Europe and relaxing in Harbor Country, Michigan.
  • Talk to me about: Crafting fun, unique celebrity interview questions that deliver content no one else has; building a personal brand; adapting your content across various forms of media.

Rachel Cromidas

Reporter

  • What I do: I report on crime and write feature stories. During the workday you are most likely to find me at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California Avenue, at my desk waiting for some city spokesman to call me back, or biking between those two points. But sometimes you’ll find me in unusual places too, like CPD’s secret gun vault.
  • Who I am: I’m a New Yorker by birth and a Chicagoan at heart. I’ve written about education, politics, crime, and urban development for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and the education policy blog GothamSchools.org. I graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in legal studies and gender/sexuality studies in 2011.
  • What I like: I love reading nonfiction, writing, cooking for friends (lots of vegan pumpkin pancakes and squash soup these days), biking, running, yoga, exploring Chicago, rock climbing and really any activity that might be safer with a carabiner.
  • Talk to me about: Journalism practices, ethics, and law; the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County courts system; the public education system; sustainability; vegetarian food; queer identities and relationship structures; the apartment hunt; running; biking Chicago; loving Chicago; moving to/from New York City; cooking meat-free meals; consent.

Sean Ely

Video Editor

  • What I do: I manage all video content — event coverage, in-house series, features — and run the YouTube, Vine and Instagram video channels as well. Injecting personality into everything we do—that's the name of my game.
  • Who I am: I'm an alumnus of Michigan State University, with a degree in journalism, though I bounced between journalism, marketing, public relations and communications the past five years. I have commitment issues, OK? I'm a part-time improv and stand-up comic, performing across the country. My best friend is my brother Eric, who is just three years younger than I am. I tutor individuals in public speaking, presentation skills and more, via The Improv Effect.
  • What I like: My favorite things in the world include skit comedy, stand-up comedy, improv comedy, pick-up basketball, marathon running, craft beer and anything and everything that includes Michigan State University. (Go Green!)
  • Talk to me about: When I'm not running the video game for RedEye, I'm creating weekly episodes for my comedy series, "The Social Media Pessimist" and co-hosting a web series "Beer Me Out,” both with loyal worldwide followings online. I strive for producing quality content quickly and turning around projects faster than anyone around me. You might also find me on stage at a local comedy club.

Mick Swasko

Reporter

  • What I do: I’m a general assignment reporter for RedEye. What does that mean? I cover everything from crunching big data from the city to writing trend pieces about intimate male grooming. Our breed is a jack-of-all-trades, really.
  • Who I am: I started at the Tribune five years ago, about six months after graduating from THE Illinois State University with a degree in Print Journalism and a minor in Political Science. I spent three years with TribLocal, most of which was spent covering suburban Naperville. I’ve been with RedEye for two years, where I cover viral web content that originates from Chicago. If you’ve seen a funny cat video that blasted off and has Chicago roots, I’m most likely already on the phone with those responsible.
  • What I like: I guess you could say I speak Internet. I spend entirely too much time on Reddit, and some dark corners of the web I’d rather not talk about. When I’m not in front of the screen, I’m a craft beer geek, Bears diehard, amateur runner, XBOX gamer and @swasko on Twitter. I also grow a pretty mean beard.
  • Talk to me about: Anything viral on the Web, especially if it has Chicago roots. I also dabble in the Chicago tech and entrepreneurship scene, writing stories about startups using crowdfunding to get off the ground. It’s my dream to be the first to write about the next Groupon. I’m also a big fan of crunching any public data available to make interesting things.

Tracy Swartz

Reporter

  • What I do: I cover the Chicago public transportation system and Chicago homicides.
  • Who I am: I grew up in Florida, attended the University of Florida for my undergraduate political science degree and the University of Illinois-Springfield for my public affairs reporting masters degree. I have lived in Chicago since 2007.
  • What I like: Everything Florida Gators and Tim Tebow, traveling, running, visiting sports stadiums, collecting shoes.
  • Talk to me about: How to use the CTA to get around Chicago and how to kill someone without having the cause of death detected during an autopsy (hint: drown them).