WBEZ | Pulitzer prize http://www.wbez.org/tags/pulitzer-prize Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Looking for the place behind the news with columnist Mary Schmich http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/looking-place-behind-news-columnist-mary-schmich-100354 <p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>This audio contains strong language that may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive listeners.</em></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mary%20schmich%201.jpg" title="Chicago ‘Tribune’ columnist Mary Schmich after winning the Pulitzer Prize in April. (AP/Chicago Tribune, Nancy Stone)" /></div><p>Mary Schmich was working as a reporter for the <em>Orlando Sentinel</em> when a<em> Chicago Tribune</em> editor offered her a job up north. She knew little of the Windy City, but Schmich&rsquo;s father grew up in Iowa, and she and her seven siblings grew up with an idea of &ldquo;Chicago as Paris&rdquo;<strong>&nbsp;</strong><strong>&mdash;</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong><em>the</em> great American city.</p><p>Her own affinity for the city came quickly, and soon Schmich began hitting the pavement and touring Chicago&rsquo;s neighborhoods in search of material for her column, which she has written for the <em>Trib</em> since 1992. For example, when a so-called &quot;flash mob&quot; attacked tourists in the Gold Coast last year, Schmich went to Englewood instead to find the family of the accused assailants. It&#39;s creative efforts like these that earned Schmich the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in April, when the jury commended her &quot;for her wide range of down-to-earth columns that reflect the character and capture the culture of her famed city.&quot;</p><p>Not every columnist works this way, Schmich acknowledges, and that&rsquo;s OK &ndash; there are many different ways to write a column, she says. But of columnists who write from the confines of their office, Schmich says, &ldquo;those people weren&rsquo;t reporters &ndash; the world is interesting and more clear when you go out.&rdquo;</p><p>Her results bear that out. You can hear Schmich&rsquo;s moving read of her &quot;flash mob&quot; column in the audio attached.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range&nbsp;</a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from</em>&nbsp;Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s&nbsp;<em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Mary Schmich spoke at an event presented by the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago in June. Click</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/amplified/evening-pulitzer-prize-winner-mary-schmich-100156"><em>here</em>&nbsp;</a><em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 23 Jun 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/looking-place-behind-news-columnist-mary-schmich-100354 'Chicago Tribune’s' Mary Schmich reacts to winning Pulitzer Prize for commentary http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/chicago-tribune%E2%80%99s-mary-schmich-reacts-winning-pulitzer-prize-commentary-98292 <p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1334615258-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/20120416%20Mary%20Schmich.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>Longtime <em>Chicago Tribune </em>columnist Mary Schmich received one of the most prestigious awards in journalism Monday, but it’s not going to her head.</p><p>“This just further proves that ordinary people win this prize,” she told host Steve Edwards on the <em>Afternoon Shift. </em></p><p>Schmich has won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. According to the Pulitzer Prize website, she recieved the award for “her wide range of down-to-earth columns that reflect the character and capture the culture of her famed city.” Her writing has addressed a wide range of topics over the years, from politics to what it’s like to be alive.</p><p>While Schimch says she doesn’t have a “clear image” of the audience she writes for, she’s guided by her gut and the public.</p><p>“I have the voices of <em>Tribune </em>readers, of people from the city in my head, and I suppose on some level I write to and for them, but I also just write out of my own instinct about what’s interesting today.”</p></p> Mon, 16 Apr 2012 17:28:47 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/chicago-tribune%E2%80%99s-mary-schmich-reacts-winning-pulitzer-prize-commentary-98292 List: Zulkey.com Interviewees Who Went On to Win McArthur Genius Grant Winners (Plus One Pulitzer Prize) http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-10-04/list-zulkeycom-interviewees-who-went-win-mcarthur-genius-grant-winners <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/zulkey jad.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/03/how_do_you_guys_choose.php">Jad Abumrad</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_021706.html">Stuart Dybek</a><br> <br> <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_042007.html">Atul Gawande</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_090503.html">George Saunders</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/diary_archive_092906.html">Jennifer Egan</a> (just the Pulitzer)</p><p><em>(Not related to geniuses in the least, but "Pop-Up Video" is back, and I reviewed it <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/pop-up-video,62723/">here</a>.)</em></p></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 14:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-10-04/list-zulkeycom-interviewees-who-went-win-mcarthur-genius-grant-winners Will journalist face deportation? Signs point to 'no' http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-24/will-journalist-face-deportation-signs-point-no-88295 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-24/jose_antonio_vargas_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Now that a high-profile journalist has admitted to being an illegal immigrant, can he expect a visit from the authorities? Based on recent immigration policy directives, the answer likely is "no."</p><p>As he explains in a <em>New York Times Magazine</em> article and an ABC News interview, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas broke numerous laws to conceal his citizenship status for more than a decade. A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to directly address whether the agency might take action against Vargas.</p><p>"ICE takes enforcement action on a case-by-case basis – prioritizing those who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by their criminal history and taking into consideration the specific facts of each case, including immigration history," spokeswoman Cori W. Bassett said in an emailed statement.</p><p>But the agency's recent issuance of certain directives might provide the clearer answer — which is that Vargas probably is safe.</p><p>In memorandums issued by ICE director John Morton, the agency clarified that its priorities are to focus on illegal immigrants who present "a clear risk to national security."</p><p>In one of the memos, released June 17, Morton said ICE is focused on felons and repeat offenders, gang members, and those with numerous immigration violations such as illegally re-entering the U.S. and committing fraud.</p><p>The memo also directs ICE officials to avoid proceedings against a wide array of individuals, including U.S. military veterans, minors and seniors, pregnant women, those who grew up in the U.S. and "long-time lawful permanent residents."</p><p>In general, Morton has granted ICE officials, down to agents on the street, the leeway to make their own judgments about whether to prosecute unlawful residents. This move, by itself, could signal a significant shift in U.S. policy, according to some immigration attorneys.</p><p>"I suspect that Jose Vargas had zero options other than this," says Chicago attorney Carlina Tapia-Ruano, who specializes in immigration cases. Tapia-Ruano also is on the board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a nonprofit group.</p><p>"He was without a visa. He has no close family members here, like parents. With our current laws, he would need to leave the United States, go back to the Philippines and wait 10 years before he can come back and apply for a visa.</p><p>"Now, there is an actual opportunity to make a request with the deportation officer that, prior to this memo, didn't exist...This could potentially be a huge change for immigration policy," Tapia-Ruano said.</p><p>Tapia-Ruano acknowledges that the discretion also can be used by ICE agents to impose harsh penalties on individuals. And other activists who advocate on immigrants' behalf, such as the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, have criticized Morton's guidelines as a rebranding of powers that ICE officials already had, such as shielding crime victims from deportation proceedings.</p><p>Vargas' decision comes at a time in which many undocumented immigrants are taking greater precautions to avoid discovery, in response to state crackdowns and similar attempts by Republicans in Congress. In the absence of federal immigration reform, several states have taken action to tighten enforcement of existing immigration laws.</p><p>The 30-year-old Vargas, part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for <em>The Washington Post</em>, revealed that he deceived his employers by obtaining under false pretenses. Those included a falsified Social Security card and an Oregon driver's license obtained by using other falsified documents. The latter once gained him entry to the White House to report on a state dinner.</p><p>"On the surface, I've created a good life. I've lived the American dream," Vargas writes in the <em>Times.</em> "But I am still an undocumented immigrant...It means going about my day in fear of being found out."</p><p>Vargas, who also worked at <em>The Huffington Post</em>, was born in the Philippines. He says his mother sent him to the U.S. when he was 12. He lived with his grandparents in northern California, attended high school there and graduated from San Francisco State University.</p><p>He says he's using his experiences to call attention to the problems facing the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., particularly as local and state governments increase efforts to identify and deport them and restrict their access to public education and other services.</p><p>Vargas said he decided to take an activist role when Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act in December. The measure (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) would establish a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants younger than 36 who arrived in the United States as children, have lived here for five years or more, and are attending college or serving in the military.</p><p>More than 800,000 of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the nation could have been eligible.</p><p>"Are we seriously going to deport 11 million people?" Vargas told ABC News. "That's the estimated number of undocumented people in this country. We're not seriously going to do that. We have not had a really serious conversation about this issue...We are a part of this society."</p><p>The DREAM Act's failure has led to protests across the nation by thousands of people who would benefit from its provisions. Supporters say these people form the foundation for a permanent activism among a new generation of assimilated and educated young immigrants like Vargas who believe, as he does, that they already are U.S. citizens in nearly every way. Dozens of them have also publicly revealed their undocumented status.</p><p>Since then, key Republicans in the House have pledged to thwart any legislation that would provide a path to citizenship and enact measures that increase enforcement.</p><p>Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is leading the effort, along with Rep. Steve King (R-IA), chairman of the House subcommittee on immigration. King has introduced a bill that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act. The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof," and King's bill seeks to define the meaning of the latter phrase to exclude children born in the U.S. to undocumented parents.</p><p>On Wednesday, Senate Democrats pushed back with a proposal crafted to draw support from Republicans by including stronger enforcement provisions. The bill, drafted by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would increase border security and employer sanctions, as well as require the undocumented to register with the government as part of a process toward gaining legal status. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. <img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1308918728?&gn=Will+Journalist+Face+Deportation%3F+Signs+Point+To+%27No%27&ev=event2&ch=1014&h1=National+Security,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=137390554&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110624&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Fri, 24 Jun 2011 07:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-24/will-journalist-face-deportation-signs-point-no-88295 Tracy Letts's 'Bug' up close http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-14/tracy-lettss-bug-close-87840 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-14/Grandt copy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-15/Grandt copy.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 332px; " title=""></p><p>Last weekend, Pulitzer-winning playwright Tracy Letts took in a show: his own <em>Bug </em>at tiny Redtwist Theatre. “He loved it,” says Jacqueline Grandt, who plays sleazy, tough-talking waitress Agnes. “He was very kind to all of us, the whole cast. We went out to the lobby, and he gave me a big hug. It was cool!”</p><p>Lett’s 15-year-old play, made into a film in 2006, is still very much a work for our time: though the objects of paranoia may have shifted, conspiracy theories live on. That hook, and the knife-edge balance between comic hysteria and tragic horror maintained in Redtwist’s intimate production, makes <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/">the play’s extension (through July 31) </a>no surprise. Most of that time it plays in repertory with <em>That Face</em>, which also features Grandt. “I actually have never done two shows at the same time,” she says. “It’s freaking me out a little bit.”</p><p>Though the script calls for Agnes to be nude at times, Grandt wasn’t comfortable with that—and director Kimberly Senior thought the audience might be uncomfortable too, sitting just inches from the performers. Most of the tiny venue is taken up by Jack Magaw’s brilliant set, designed with Senior. “Initially Kimberly wanted only 30 people in the audience,” Grandt says. “She wanted everyone to feel enclosed and locked in. She wanted the audience right on top, so they could feel everything we feel.” It works. This production’s a pressure-cooker.</p><p>“This is probably the closest, the most intimate I’ve ever been with the audience,” says Grandt. “It’s really wonderful, because even though you are in your moments, you still feel the audience member there. Every movement you make, every eye contact you have with your fellow actor—it’s all seen. It’s almost like doing a movie because you’re so close up.” A few audience members are seated virtually onstage. “But I think they enjoy it,” Grandt says. “They wouldn’t have picked those seats if they didn’t want to be involved.”</p><p>A lot of people laughed at <em>Bug</em>’s crazed ending when I saw the show, and Grandt says responses vary from performance to performance. “It can be silence, it can be laughter. We actually expected uproarious laughter when the pizza guy comes, right? And the first couple nights it was dead silence. I’m like, oh no! When did I order a pizza? I mean, come on! But however the audience reacts, you have to take it in and say, ‘As long as I’m playing this truly, people are going to react how they’re going to react.’ I mean, you take out of it whatever you want, because there’s no answer in this play. No answer.”</p><p>Of her character, Grandt says: “She hasn’t had anybody treat her with an iota of respect. I’m sure the customers where she works just don’t see anybody, just a person serving them. But I love Agnes, she’s become one of my favorite roles. Some of that is to do with her compassion. So many people may think of it as ignorance or oversights, but I see it as compassion, how much she really loves Peter.”</p><p>Grandt’s character in <em>That Face</em>—the mother in Polly Stenham’s 2007 family drama, which Stenham wrote at age 19—is harder to like. “She’s a very disturbed woman, a divorced alcoholic, a sad character who’s 100 percent dependent on her 18-year-old son,” Grandt says. “But the play is amazingly written. The verbiage, it’s eloquent. She speaks from the heart, but it’s just horrible things.”</p><p>After eight rehearsals (previews start June 29), Grandt says, “I’m on a good path about [my character’s] past, but I haven’t gotten it all yet. And there’s a lot to get, so it’s gonna take some work. But honestly, I’ve never not liked any of my characters because I don’t think you can go into it like that. You have to somehow find the good in them, because otherwise the audience can’t find the good in them.”</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="400" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-15/1BugMineWeb.jpg" title="" width="600"></p></p> Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-14/tracy-lettss-bug-close-87840 Mayor Monday: How can we deal with corruption? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/mayor-monday-how-can-we-deal-corruption <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Zekman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>To take a long, hard look at corruption <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> wanted to speak to a woman who's made a career exploring the city&rsquo;s underbelly for the last four decades. Pulitzer-prize winning reporter <a target="_blank" href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/personality/pam-zekman/">Pam Zekman</a> has exposed frauds, corrupt city employees and wasteful spending for CBS 2 Chicago.&nbsp; She <a target="_blank" href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/01/12/is-treasurer-maria-pappas-wasting-your-tax-dollars/">recently</a> worked with the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bettergov.org/">Better Government Association</a> to audit parts of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cookcountytreasurer.com/">Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas</a>&rsquo; budget.<br /><br />Zekman&rsquo;s investigations have resulted in governmental reforms and criminal indictments. Zekman joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> for a <em>Mayor Monday</em> education in the art of Chicago corruption.</p></p> Mon, 31 Jan 2011 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/mayor-monday-how-can-we-deal-corruption