Executive Producer Tony Shute looks back at career on final day at ABC 7

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
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It is a bittersweet day here at ABC 7. Wednesday, Executive Producer Tony Shute is retiring.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It is a bittersweet day here at ABC 7. Wednesday, Executive Producer Tony Shute is retiring.

Tony has been a fixture in the ABC 7 newsroom for almost 33 years. Paul Meincke looks back at his time in TV news.

He has mentored many young broadcast journalists over the years, And he tells them what he's always practiced.

"Tell the truth. Get to the truth, and if you're not making someone angry, you're not doing your job," he said.

For over 30 years Tony Shute has been a key architect of how this TV station has covered the news. How he's done that is very much a product of who he is. As a youngster he was mesmerized by space shots. That spoke to his curiosity. In high school he was the drum major - in charge of an 80-member marching band. That spoke to his leadership.

When his guidance counselor discouraged him from applying to Northwestern, Tony went ahead anyway, was accepted and excelled. That spoke to his determination.

"In the 1970s, I just think he believed that a young African-American student from Cleveland Heights would not make it at Northwestern University...there was a lot of joy in proving him wrong," he said.

At ABC 7, he has been something of a newsroom compass - always pointing his colleagues to stories that are too often, too easily overlooked.

"The ability to say, 'Hey, have we taken a close look at this?' It really affects people in a certain way, and maybe we need to look closer, maybe we need to assign somebody to this to get to the bottom of an issue, or perhaps help out a community as a result of our coverage. Those are the type of qualities that Tony brought in each day," said ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Alan Krashesky.

"His recall of people, places, things and events of history is extraordinary. He's kinda like a walking encyclopedia," said ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Cheryl Burton.

At a time when racial tension and political animosity are heightened, Tony brings to the table a simple journalistic philosophy.

"We all see life through a different prism. And the more prisms you can put together, the more complete picture you can get on things. So that's very important," he said.

To have witnessed so much history and to have helped author its first draft has made for a remarkable run, but it's also been a grinder. The time has come, Tony says, to live life, on a different path outside the newsroom.

"There are times, I know, there's gonna be a big story, and it's gonna be - I'll be sitting on my couch going - 'Ooh what can I do? What can I do?' But I know it'll be in good hands here," he said. "And I know the story will get covered perfectly, seamlessly, and explained to everyone perfectly."