About Robert K. Elder

Robert K. Elder is the Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal Pro­duct Devel­op­ment & Strat­e­gy at Crain Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc., an author and founder of Odd Hours Media, LLC.

Pulitzer-win­ner Studs Terkel calls Elder “a jour­nal­ist in the noblest tra­di­tion” in his intro­duc­tion to Elder’s book, Last Words of the Exe­cut­ed.

His lat­est book is Hid­den Hem­ing­way: Inside the Ernest Hem­ing­way Archives of Oak Park. Author Scott Tur­ow (Pre­sumed Inno­cent) called the work, “An invalu­able book for any­one inter­est­ed in Hem­ing­way or the devel­op­ment of a major cre­ative mind.”

Gar­rison Keil­lor laud­ed the work, writ­ing: “…it’s a priv­i­lege to look through [Hemingway’s] clos­et and read his stuff and dis­cov­er him as a mor­tal man.”

Elder’s 2013 book, The Best Film You’ve Nev­er Seen, was cham­pi­oned by film crit­ic Roger Ebert, who wrote: “How nec­es­sary this book is! And how well-judged and writ­ten! Some of the best films ever made, as Elder proves, are lam­en­ta­bly all but unknown.”

Dead Man Walk­ing author Sis­ter Helen Pre­jean called Last Words of the Exe­cut­ed, “a dan­ger­ous book.” Last Words of the Exe­cut­ed received rave reviews in The Econ­o­mist, Harper’s Mag­a­zine, and The New York Review of Books, among many oth­er out­lets. The New York­er called it, “…A har­row­ing por­trait of our jus­tice sys­tem.”

Praise for Elder’s 2011 book The Film That Changed My Life came from the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips, who called the book, “A great and provoca­tive read…it’s addic­tive.” Film crit­ic Leonard Malt­in also said, “You’ll have a hard time putting this book down.”

Elder’s work has appeared in The New York Times, MSNBC.com, The Los Ange­les Times, The Boston Globe, Salon.com, The Ore­go­ni­an and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. For more than a decade, he served as a staff writer at the Chicago Tri­bune and from 2010 to 2012, he worked as a region­al edi­tor for the AOL Huff­in­g­ton Post Media Group’s hyper­local news ini­tia­tive, Patch.com. In 2012, Elder served as the found­ing man­ag­ing edi­tor of DNAin­fo Chicago before join­ing the Chicago Sun-Times in 2013.

In June of 2013, he was named edi­tor-in-chief of Sun-Times Media Local, over­see­ing 36 sub­ur­ban Chicago pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing: Auro­ra Bea­con News, the Naperville Sun, the Elgin Couri­er News, the Lake Coun­ty News-Sun and the 32 week­lies of the Pio­neer Press group. In 2014, he was named Vice Pres­i­dent of Dig­i­tal Con­tent, found­ing a guest edi­tor pro­gram fea­tur­ing peo­ple such as Smash­ing Pump­kins founder Bil­ly Cor­gan, come­di­an Bert Kreis­cher and astro­naut Jim Lovell. Elder also start­ed a pod­cast net­work at the Sun-Times, host­ing “The Big Ques­tions,” one of four ini­tial shows.

In 2015, he joined Crain Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. as Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal Pro­duct Devel­op­ment & Strat­e­gy. At Crain, Elder iden­ti­fies oppor­tu­ni­ties and leads the devel­op­ment of new Web, app, mobile and social prod­ucts to expand the company’s dig­i­tal foot­print.

Elder is also the founder of Odd Hours Media LLC, which spe­cial­izes in crowd­sourcing, social media and TV pro­duc­tion. In late 2012, Elder and his agents at William Mor­ris Endeav­or signed a devel­op­ment deal with Tow­ers Pro­duc­tions in Chicago to pro­duce tele­vi­sion based on an orig­i­nal idea from his body of work. Odd Hours has since part­nered with GRB (“Inter­ven­tion”) and the Michael Group to pro­duce unscript­ed tele­vi­sion projects.

In addi­tion, Odd Hours Media pro­duces the user-gen­er­at­ed sites ItWasOverWhen.com: Tales of Roman­tic Dead Ends and ItWasLoveWhen.com: Tales from the Begin­ning of Love. Both sites went viral very quick­ly, attract­ing more than 1 mil­lion hits with­in a few months. In late 2009, Source­books signed the sites to a two-book deal.

Elder is also the edi­tor of John Woo: Inter­views, the first author­i­ta­tive chron­i­cle of the filmmaker’s life, lega­cy and career. He has also con­tribut­ed to books on pok­er, comic books and film design. A for­mer mem­ber of the Chicago Film Crit­ics Asso­ci­a­tion, Elder has taught film class­es at Facets Film School.

He has taught jour­nal­ism at North­west­ern University’s Medill School and Columbia Col­lege Chicago.

A Mon­tana native and grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon, Elder lives and writes in Chicagoland.

He has been known to car­ry a dig­i­tal voice recorder.

 

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