Updated: October 7, 2013 8:14AM
Jessi Virtusio has been the SouthtownStar’s arts and entertainment editor since November 2007, when the Daily Southtown and Star Newspapers merged.
The Weekend magazine, which she helms for the SouthtownStar, won second place in the lifestyle section category of the 2012 Illinois Press Association editorial contest. Judges said the section has appealing covers with “a nice mix of staff and columnists offering a 'something for everyone' approach.”
Virtusio is also the editor of Post-Tribune's Weekend magazine, which covers Northwest Indiana.
For the SouthtownStar, she coordinates the weekly Neighborhood Star Thursday features Your Pets and Pets o' the Week. The former features readers' pet photos while the latter highlights animals that are available for adoption at Southland shelters.
Virtusio also coordinates the weekly Pets of the Week feature for The Herald-News, of Joliet. The article features animals available for adoption in the Will County area.
After penning the weekly Hot Picks column of top events you won't want to miss since August 2009 for the SouthtownStar, she now compiles the Get Up and Go! feature, which includes events worth getting out of the house for and which appears Mondays to Fridays.
Since 2001, Virtusio has profiled local musicians and previewed national acts performing in the Southland via her Gig of the Week, which originated in the FirstLook magazine (now Weekend on Fridays in the SouthtownStar).
In 2007, she began penning a pro wrestling column for the SouthtownStar. A member of ChicagoProWrestling.com, she is considered the only print journalist to regularly cover pro wrestling in the Southland.
She also runs SouthtownStar.com’s FYI on FMBA blog, which launched in May 2010 and offers all you need to know about First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.
Virtusio started with what is now Sun-Times Media in the mid-1990s as a freelancer writing features for Star Newspapers.
In 1997, she began regularly covering news as a stringer. Her beats included Community High School District 218, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Palos Hills and Worth.
During her time at The Star, she also served as assistant business editor, home and garden editor, and associate features editor.
Her work for the twice-weekly garnered awards from the Illinois Press Association, Suburban Newspapers of America, and the Realtor Association of West/South Suburban Chicagoland.
For fun, Virtusio launched The Word from Section, a monthly online newsletter dedicated to TV show “La Femme Nikita” in October 2001. She even was acknowledged in Christopher Heyn’s 2006 book “Inside Section One: Creating and Producing TV’s 'La Femme Nikita' ” (Persistence of Vision Press).
Before her time with the SouthtownStar and its predecessors, Virtusio served as assistant editor of Subculture, a monthly music magazine that circulated in Illinois and Indiana, and was a college radio disc jockey.
A Burbank native who lived in Oak Forest for about 15 years, she now lives in Chicago's Bridgeport community.
A former aspiring concert pianist, Virtusio once appeared as an extra on the TV series “24” as a reporter.
Jessi Virtusio can be reached at email@example.com.