Labor writer David Moberg has died at the age of 78.

David Moberg was a Chicago-based writer and editor of the magazine In This Times, nationally known for his work on labor issues.

“In our little world of Labor writers, David was a guide,” said Steve Franklin, a former Labor reporter for the Tribune. “Their reporting always looked at the bigger picture, and always reminded us of how work touches our lives, gives us meaning or, in the worst cases, undermines our humanity.”

His wife, Joe Patton, 41, said Moberg, 78, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on July 17 at their Hyde Park home.

Born in Galsburg, Moberg earned a bachelor’s degree in 1965 from Carleton College in Minnesota, where he edited an alternative student newspaper called Truth Limited.

Moberg worked briefly for Newsweek magazine in Los Angeles, covering the Watts riots in 1965, then traveled to Europe and the Middle East before returning to the US in 1968 to study anthropology at the University of Chicago.

He was on hand for the student protests in Paris in May 1968 and the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August 1968, fueling his interest in the power of such actions.

Moberg earned his doctorate in anthropology from UC in 1978, writing his dissertation on the plight of workers at the newly opened General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

While pursuing his doctorate, Moberg taught at Roosevelt University, DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University, and Loyola University Chicago. However, his wife said, he felt the pull of journalism and maintained a keen interest in politics, and so joined a group of friends to form In the Times, a progressive publication, in 1976.

For the next 40 years, Moberg covered Labor for In the Times, and he traveled widely to do so, from the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana to the 1999 WTO summit protests in Seattle. Till covered everything.

“David’s reporting was influenced by his graduate school studies in the anthropology,” said Joel Blefuss, former editor and publisher of These Times. “And they realized that the working people in this country lack economic and political power because the union movement is weak. In those parts of Europe where labor is powerful, societies have a very high standard of living.”

Salim Client, a former senior editor at In Times, called Moberg an “inspirational writer” who “infused his work with a kind of familiarity that underpinned its ideological character.”

The client said, “He kind of attacked you.” “But you saw the truth in what he was saying. And what really attracted me to his writing—and I was drawn to it even before I came to These Times—was his dedication to making his point rather than polishing any kind of authorship chops. ,

Former In the Times writer John Judis called Moberg “dogged down as a reporter”, adding that Moberg’s work was “always informed by his extensive knowledge of history and economics.”

“So you learned not only what people were saying and doing, but what their words meant,” Judis said.

Veteran journalist, political activist and political consultant Don Rose said Moberg was known for his work in labor, but had a wide variety of interests, including art.

“In our circles, outspoken arguments on politics and other such issues were the norm, and David is a man who certainly has positions—and he was not meek about those—but maintains a similar tone. His ability to listen and listen is a really great quality about him,” Rose said.

Moberg freelanced for several other publications, including the Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, The Nation, The New Republic and The Tribune. Many colleagues recall the 4,837-word article he wrote in the Chicago Tribune magazine in 2005 that wavered factory closures in his native Galsburg.

Moberg put on a human face in a town grappling with the disappearances of more than a dozen employers since the late 1990s.

afternoon briefing

afternoon briefing


Top story from the editors of the Chicago Tribune, delivered to your inbox each afternoon.

“Galesburg’s problems are hundreds of cities, each trying to define its own future, but falling short as to how to answer questions about the future of work for both the country and the whole world, A lot depends on this,” Moberg wrote.

After retiring from In the Times in 2016, Moberg traveled and did some writing, but that also slowed down with Parkinson’s disease, his wife said.

“I don’t know anyone who pursued as many interests as David,” said Noel Barker, a former college classmate who shared a home with Moberg and his family for 50 years. ranged from blues to contemporary musicians. He collected outdoor art and sophisticated experimentalist art. The glass cases contained Native American Kachina dolls.”

Moberg also has a son, Karl; a daughter, Sarah; two brothers, Dale and Lawrence; and a granddaughter.

A memorial service is being planned.

Goldsborough is a freelance journalist.

To buy death notice, visit, To suggest an employee-written obituary on a person of local interest, e-mail [email protected]

Leave a Comment