Editorial Board Member, Chicago Tribune
Lara Weber (j'90) is a member of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, where she writes editorials and edits commentary. She gets paid to have strong opinions.
It wasn’t always that way. Before joining the editorial board Lara spent more than 20 years on the news side, wearing many hats in editing and leadership positions. After earning her bachelor in science degree in journalism (news/editorial) from the University of Kansas, she began her editing career in northern Illinois in 1990. She joined the Chicago Tribune in 1993, where she has been an editor in the Business, Sports, National/Foreign and Features departments. For five years, she was a visual reporter for the Tribune's graphics department during such events as the Oklahoma City bombing, the O.J. Simpson trial and the Unabomber case.
About a decade into her career, Weber quit journalism and says it was the best decision she’s ever made. She joined the U.S. Peace Corps and worked as a public health volunteer in rural Zambia for two years, and then traveled extensively throughout East Africa and across the United States. Her exile from the newsroom was short — she returned to the Tribune in 2002 — but in that time she learned more about people and politics than she’d ever learned from sitting in an office.
That experience inspired her to take new career risks and embrace the fast pace of change in the news industry. In 2002, Weber was a member of the small team that created and launched RedEye, one of the first daily newspapers designed specifically for young adults. She led the newsroom’s development of staff blogs and social media in the mid-aughts. And beginning in 2010, she directed the Tribune's efforts to engage with readers through live events, creating stage shows, partnering with institutions such as Second City and producing the Printers Row Lit Fest. Weber joined the Editorial Board in 2015.
Sometimes Weber calls herself a Kansan. But she lived in five states – Virginia, Nebraska, Indiana, New Jersey and Kansas – before high school, has deep family roots in rural Eastern Kentucky, on the edge of Appalachia, and has lived most of her adult life in the dense neighborhoods of Chicago. She spent a summer in California interning for the San Bernardino Sun and has enjoyed visiting all 50 states. She has no short answer for “Where are you from?” but she’s forever a Jayhawk.