Dan Pompei, a longtime NFL sportswriter, is rumored to have quit his job at the Chicago Tribune last week, two sources tell The Big Lead. As the story goes, Pompei – who has been covering the league since 1985, when he was a beat writer at the Sun-Times covering the Bears – and other members of the Tribune sports staff were given a shocking edict recently: No more outside freelance work.
Since newspapers are notorious for not paying well, freelance work is pivotal to many sportswriters. One source said the Tribune told the staff it would be given a 5 percent raise to make up for the loss of freelance work, but the difference was still too great for Pompei, so he quit.
Pompei didn’t respond to a direct message on twitter earlier this week.
The timing couldn’t have been worse – Pompei was recently given a distinguished reporting award, and tomorrow (!) he will be honored during enshrinement ceremonies at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This story about his award ran in the Tribune in June:
Dan Pompei, the Tribune’s Bears/NFL columnist, has been selected as the 2013 winner of the prestigious Dick McCann Memorial Award for distinguished reporting and will be honored during enshrinement week ceremonies in August at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Pompei, 51, will be presented with his award Aug. 2 at the Enshrinees Gold Jacket Dinner for the 2013 Hall of Fame class.
Pompei is one of the 46 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is one of nine members of the Hall’s senior selection committee.
One source says Pompei’s last story in the Tribune will run this weekend. [Dan Pompei's Chicago Tribune Archive]