Mateja, who covered auto industry for Chicago Tribune, dies at 71
Jim Mateja, who covered the auto industry for more than 45 years for the Chicago Tribune, has died from cancer at the age of 71.
Robert Duffer of the Tribune writes, “Hired to the business copy desk in 1967 ‘the day after graduating from Western Illinois University,’ according to Mateja’s own bio, he began ‘writing about cars in 1970 when his boss promised that if he took the job and did well, he would be rewarded with a promotion in two years — three tops. It was sometime in the 1990s that Mateja began to question whether the promised promotion would ever come.’
“With his silver push broom mustache and twinkling blue eyes, Mateja had an avuncular personality filled with generosity of spirit and a bit of mischief.
“‘Jim once got an exclusive story from Lee Iacocca, the chairman and CEO of Chrysler, while seated at the same table with other journalists,’ Popely recalled. ‘He waited until the band was playing and leaned over and quietly got Iacocca to answer a few questions — and no one else at the table could hear a word either was saying.’
“Mateja semi-retired from the Tribune in 2007, at a time when newspapers began transitioning to digital media. The change didn’t much affect Mateja, who was private despite his public persona.”
Read more here.