Ryan Jaster

Born in Rock Island. Graduated from Jordan grade school (Monsignor, not Michael — this joke worked better in my Chicago bio), Alleman High School and St. Ambrose University.

Co-created a music column in a regional music magazine in 1994, which evolved into a magazine of its own in 1995 and a website in 1998. By 2003, it was the third most popular music news site on the Internet, behind MTV and NME (according to a slightly more successful site launched in 1998 called Google). Covered such events as the 1995 Source Awards, the 1999 Source Awards, the 2000 Source Awards and the 2003 BET Awards. And that was just a side gig.

My real job was as a sports copy editor and designer for my hometown newspaper, the Quad-City Times, which I left in 2000 to become a music editor at an Internet startup in Los Angeles that failed before the year was over. (R.I.P. Thirsty.) 

After another stint at the Times in which I co-founded Hawkmania.com and came up with the idea that evolved into the Newsys and BLOX content management systems, I became a night editor at CBS SportsLine in Fort Lauderdale before finding my way to Chicago in late 2003. Worked at The Courier News as a designer before joining the Chicago Tribune as an online producer in 2005. During my time there I wrote about the Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears for ChicagoSports.com, created the first Chicago Tribune-branded sports webpage, managed the front page of chicagotribune.com every morning (initially with a team of three and eventually solo) and took over a popular daily email newsletter, Daywatch.

Returned home to Rock Island and the Quad-City Times in Davenport as the online editor in 2010 and rewrote the digital record books there. Rebuilt and revived Hawkmania.com in 2011, quintupling pageviews in five years. 

Joined Local 4 News, Fox 18 News, OurQuadCities.com and HawkeyeHQ.com in May 2017 and started breaking digital traffic records again. Helped the team to a Silver Dome Award in 2018 for our John Deere Classic coverage and the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Station of the Year in 2020. Starting with the 2018 Iowa football season, began assisting with coverage of the Hawkeyes’ football and basketball teams in an official, credentialed capacity. Member of the FWAA.

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