When the news was hot and the stakes were high, Jim Webb was for many years the steady voice in the middle of the fray. Whether dictating the facts from a chaotic scene, typing a lead that echoed across the country or directing the efforts of a team poised to break the biggest scoop in town, Jim has a trusted and well-honed sense for where “the story” will come from – and where it will go.
As Director of Operations at Serafin, he brings his news sensibility and team-building skills to bear on behalf of all our clients, whether consulting on a potential crisis or managing a long-term engagement.
In a three-decade career as a Chicago-based reporter and editor, Jim touched many of the biggest stories at the intersection of public affairs and government in Illinois: Investigations and corruption trials of two former governors; historic elections for president, Senate, governor and Chicago mayor; man-made and natural disasters from train crashes to floods; murder trials and Fortune 500 bankruptcies; the rise of casino gambling; the end of the death penalty; the changing of the guard at City Hall; and the never-ending dysfunction of state government.
Jim led award-winning investigative teams at the Chicago Tribune, most recently as political investigations editor from 2010-15. His teams were responsible for hundreds of Page One stories on the biggest players and political issues in Illinois and Chicago. As the Tribune’s Illinois political editor from 2005-10, he was responsible for the newspaper’s coverage of state government, Cook County government and City Hall, including directing campaign coverage and political polling. He started the Tribune’s first local politics blog, Clout Street.
Prior to the Tribune, Jim was Chicago news editor for The Associated Press from 2000-05, where he was responsible for 24-7 coverage of Illinois for the world’s largest newsgathering organization. After joining the AP’s Chicago bureau in 1989 he worked with newspaper editors and broadcasters in every corner of the state as a reporter, editor and manager. He launched his journalism career with a whirlwind tour of short-term assignments for AP from 1987-89 that took him to St. Louis, Louisville and Philadelphia.
An Ohio native, Jim graduated from Bradley University in 1986 with a journalism degree and earned a Masters from the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois-Springfield in 1987. He was inducted into the program’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
An outdoors enthusiast who’s spent many a night camping under the stars, Jim is active as a parent volunteer and committee member for a large suburban Boy Scout troop. And keeping with a strong reporter tradition, Webb is solely responsible for consuming all of Serafin’s 3128 cups of coffee mentioned on our home page.