Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman named one of Chicago Magazine’s ‘50 most powerful women’

Spielman made the list thanks to her ability for “hounding politicos till they crack” and “notching legendary scoops,” the magazine wrote.

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Chicago Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman during a taping of The Fran Spielman Show.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman has been named one of Chicago Magazine’s “50 most powerful women in Chicago.”

“Spielman has been covering Chicago politics since Richard M. Daley was in short pants. Maybe that’s why she’s so good at hounding politicos till they crack (like when she got Mayor Lightfoot to confirm that Eddie Johnson had been drinking before the police superintendent was found asleep in his vehicle) and notching legendary scoops (most recently, the news that Alderman Danny Solis was wearing an FBI wire),” wrote Chicago Magazine of Spielman, who was 26th on the list, published Tuesday.

At the top of the list: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, philanthropist and entrepreneur Penny Pritzker, President and co-CEO of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson, CEO of Ulta Beauty Mary Dillon and Governor J.B. Pritzker’s chief of staff, Anne Caprara.

Spielman was also featured in a separate article that asked five of the 50 women about “the moment that set them on their path.” She explained that, at first, she wanted to be one of the first women sportswriters in Chicago, before she made the switch to covering politics.

“I was a sportswriter at Northwestern covering men’s tennis, football, and basketball at a time when women were not allowed in the locker room. I would stand outside and wait for everybody to do interviews inside, and then I would chase the players to their cars, hoping to get a word or two. My quotes were inevitably very short, because everybody had said it all inside.

“I hoped to be one of the first women sportswriters in Chicago. When I left Northwestern, I became a producer at WIND radio, where at one point I delivered the morning sports report on Dave Baum’s show. I was the first woman to do it. And then Dave decided he wanted to do his own sports. I remember being totally crushed. After that I made the switch to news.

“Now when I’m trying to get an interview, I try the front door, back door, side door, window. I’m like a terrier who has ahold of the politician’s pants leg. And maybe it’s all because I couldn’t get into those locker rooms.”

Spielman recently celebrated her 35th anniversary at the Sun-Times. In this video, she takes a look back at her impressive career:

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