WBEZ | Chicago Tribune http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-tribune Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en CPS chief backs the mayor's $13-an-hour minimum wage http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-chief-backs-mayors-13-hour-minimum-wage-111138 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Board of Ed at Westinghouse.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The head of Chicago Public Schools is making a political statement supporting Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ahead of February&rsquo;s municipal elections.</p><p>CPS CEO Barbara Bryd-Bennett told the Board of Education Wednesday that the district wants to move to a $13-per-hour minimum wage. The statement falls in line with <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-emanuel-minimum-wage-hike-push-20140930-story.html" target="_blank">other city agencies</a>, like the Chicago Park District.</p><p>The budget implications of a $13-per-hour minimum wage for CPS workers and contract employees would still need to be worked out internally, CPS officials said.</p><p>Alderman Jason Ervin, of the 28th Ward, urged board members to consider the $15-an-hour wage he and other aldermen are pushing. The meeting was in Ervin&rsquo;s ward, at Westinghouse College Prep, making it the first board meeting held in a community since 2004, when the board met at Orr Academy. It was also the first time in several years the board has met in the evening. Typically, board meetings start at 10 a.m. at CPS&rsquo;s downtown headquarters.</p><p>CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said they moved the meeting into a community and held it in the evening in order to give more people the opportunity to come. The district is also in the process of moving its offices to a new building downtown.</p><p>The meeting, which took place in Westinghouse&rsquo;s auditorium, had a larger crowd than usual and frequent interruptions from audience members. One of the biggest gripes had to do with a recent Chicago Tribune <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/cpsbonds/" target="_blank">investigation into CPS&rsquo;s debt payments</a> on risky interest rate swap deals. Those deals were entered into when now-Board President David Vitale was the district&rsquo;s chief financial officer.</p><p>Tara Stamps, a teacher at Jenner Elementary in Old Town, spoke about a lack of funding for the school&rsquo;s arts program, even though the school is designated as a fine arts school.</p><p>&ldquo;How is it that you can say you want this kind of student, but you don&rsquo;t want to make that kind of investment?&rdquo; Stamps asked. &ldquo;You&rsquo;d rather not renegotiate these toxic deals and squander what could be hundreds of millions of dollars that could go into classrooms that could create well-rounded classrooms where children are appreciated and they learn and they thrive. But you don&rsquo;t. You refuse. You will not arbitrate. You will not renegotiate. You will not do any of the initial steps to get some of that money back.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Teachers Union first sounded the alarm on the bank deals in 2011, but board members and CPS officials repeatedly dismissed the issue.</p><p>&ldquo;Three years we&rsquo;ve been coming here and being told that our facts are wrong, that we just don&rsquo;t understand, and being dismissed by Mr. Vitale,&rdquo; said Matthew Luskin, a CPS parent and organizer for the CTU. &ldquo;A full week of Trib headlines tell a very different story.&rdquo;</p><p>Luskin said he understands that CPS cannot just cancel the contracts with the banks, but he pushed the board to file for arbitration to renegotiate the contracts, and &ldquo;take a stand.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;They could call these banks out, blame them for the cuts and closings that have happened, instead of blaming retirees and parents and children who take up too many resources,&rdquo; Luskin said. &ldquo;They could announce that CPS won&rsquo;t do business with these banks anymore if they refuse to renegotiate.&rdquo;</p><p>McCaffrey with CPS said the district is monitoring the risks of its swap portfolio closely, &ldquo;including the possibility of termination.&rdquo; But he also said, by the district&rsquo;s calculation, the deals saved more than $30 million in interest costs compared to the costs of fixed-rate bonds.</p><p>The debt payments and the minimum wage weren&rsquo;t the only issues raised at the meeting. Two librarians came to speak about the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/losing-school-librarians-chicago-public-schools-110547" target="_blank">reassignments and layoffs of full-time librarians</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;The loss of school librarians is especially alarming in CPS high schools where there are now only 38 high schools with librarians,&rdquo; said Nora Wiltse, a school librarian at Coonley Elementary.</p><p>A student and a teacher from Kelly High School came to sound the alarm on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/custodial-contract-causing-problems-start-school-year-110767" target="_blank">cleanliness at their school since Aramark</a> took over CPS&rsquo;s janitorial services.</p><p>The Board also approved <a href="http://www.wbez.org/cps-changes-school-ratingsagain-111118" target="_blank">a new school rating policy</a>.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/177839305&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-chief-backs-mayors-13-hour-minimum-wage-111138 Harper Lee says new biography is unauthorized http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/harper-lee-says-new-biography-unauthorized-110510 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/harper-lee.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Former <em>Chicago Tribune</em> reporter Marja Mills says her just-released biography of Harper Lee, <em>The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee,</em> was written with &quot;the trust, support and encouragement&quot; of Lee and her older sister, Alice.</p><p>But in a statement this week, the 88-year-old Lee countered, &quot;Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.&quot;</p><p>In 2004, Mills moved next door in Monroeville, Ala., and befriended the sisters, who, according to the book&#39;s description, &quot;decided to let Mills tell their story.&quot;</p><p>Lee says that, in fact, she &quot;cut off all contact&quot; with Mills after realizing her intentions: &quot;It did not take long to discover Marja&#39;s true mission: another book about Harper Lee. I was hurt, angry and saddened, but not surprised.&quot;</p><p>Mills points to a letter from Alice that &quot;makes clear that Nelle Harper Lee and Alice gave me their blessing.&quot;</p><p>In her statement, Lee notes that her sister &quot;would have been 100 years old&quot; when that letter was written.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/07/16/331941601/book-news-harper-lee-says-new-biography-is-unauthorized" target="_blank">via NPR&#39;s <em>The Two-Way</em></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/harper-lee-says-new-biography-unauthorized-110510 Morning Shift: How tweets are transforming gang activity http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-14/morning-shift-how-tweets-are-transforming-gang <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Flickr Jason A. Howie.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at how social media use has exploded among street gangs and is changing the way they operate. Also, we hear from the architect who proposed a plan for Obama&#39;s presidential library to be in Chicago&#39;s Woodlawn neighborhood.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-tweets-are-transforming-gang-act/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-tweets-are-transforming-gang-act.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-how-tweets-are-transforming-gang-act" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: How tweets are transforming gang activity" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 10:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-01-14/morning-shift-how-tweets-are-transforming-gang Morning Shift: Digging in to organic gardening http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-07/morning-shift-digging-organic-gardening-108861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr toddheft.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Organic gardener and educator, Jeanne Nolan, is in studio to talk sustainability, food awareness and growing good things on rooftops and backyard plots. Plus, Chicago Tribune launches a new &quot;plan for Chicago&quot;. What&#39;s needed to make the city great?</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-35/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-35.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-35" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Digging in to organic gardening" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 08:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-07/morning-shift-digging-organic-gardening-108861 Orange County Register owner eyes Tribune papers http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/orange-county-register-owner-eyes-tribune-papers-104619 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>SANTA ANA, Calif. &mdash; The publisher of the Orange County Register said Thursday that at an investor group he leads may want to buy Tribune Co.&#39;s newspapers after the media conglomerate emerges from bankruptcy.</p><p>&quot;We clearly have the means and the team by which to look seriously at the Tribune papers and, from the outside, they may very well have enough of the elements that we&#39;re looking for,&quot; said Aaron Kushner, chief executive of 2100 Trust LLC, which bought Freedom Communications Inc. and its flagship paper, the Register, in July.</p><p>Tribune, which is expected to leave bankruptcy protection soon, owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and five other daily newspapers. The Chicago-based conglomerate also operates 23 television stations.</p><p>Kushner cautioned that he hasn&#39;t examined Tribune&#39;s finances but signaled he would move quickly if he determined its newspapers are a good fit.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s a pretty small group that potentially could fit our model,&quot; he said in an interview.</p><p>Kushner, who is also Freedom Communications&#39; CEO, has overseen the hiring of dozens of journalists and a major expansion of the print edition of the Register, the nation&#39;s 20th-largest newspaper by circulation and a direct competitor of the Los Angeles Times. Freedom Communications is the 39-year-old&#39;s first foray in newspapers after he flirted with buying The Boston Globe and newspapers in Maine.</p><p>Tribune filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008, less than a year after a debt-laden buyout engineered by Sam Zell. Its new owners include JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co., debt specialist Angelo, Gordon &amp; Co., and hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management.</p><p>Kushner said he expects the Tribune&#39;s new owners would sell the newspapers in a single package.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s a tremendous amount of infrastructure that&#39;s shared among the newspapers, and they have been together, with the exception of the LA Times, for a long time,&quot; Kushner said. &quot;Disassembling them in an auction sort of a way or a process may be achievable, but our sense is it would end up resulting in significantly less for the current owners of the Tribune Co.&quot;</p><p>Freedom recently sold The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo. Kushner signaled he was open to selling Freedom&#39;s five smaller newspapers in California and Arizona.</p><p>&quot;We wouldn&#39;t have bought them if we didn&#39;t love them. That said, if we find that there is an owner that can do an even better job than us with them, we&#39;ll talk with them,&quot; he said.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 29 Dec 2012 11:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/orange-county-register-owner-eyes-tribune-papers-104619 What exactly is the Tribune asking us to pay for? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/what-exactly-tribune-asking-us-pay-103747 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tribune%20paywall.jpg" style="height: 331px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="" />When the&nbsp;<em>Chicago Tribune</em>&#39;s paywall went up last week,&nbsp;Bill Adee,&nbsp;Vice President for digital development and operations <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/chicago-tribune-launches-paywall-103602">said there</a>&nbsp;was a great deal of Trib content &quot;worth paying for,&quot; like &quot;Chris Jones on theater, David Hall on sports, [and] Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Schmich.&quot;</p><p>But writer Coya Paz says that, &quot;With the exception of theatre reviews, I never read the <em>Tribune </em>when it was free, so it&rsquo;s hard to imagine I&rsquo;d pay for access now.&quot; Read an excerpt of her thoughts below or listen above:&nbsp;</p><p><em>When I was a teenager, living in a depressing strip mall suburb, I spent a lot of time imagining what my life would be like when I grew up. I would live in glamorous metropolis, in a giant loft apartment with no furniture except for a giant mattress in the middle of the floor. After wild nights out with my fabulous but tortured artist friends, I would wake up in bed with my impossibly hot lover and we would lie around for hours, drinking coffee, eating croissants and reading the newspaper. This seemed the height of sophisticated adult living: coffee and newspapers.</em></p><p><em>Now that I am an actual adult, I live in Humboldt Park, in a tiny, two-bedroom apartment cluttered with Ikea furniture and my three-year-old&#39;s plastic toys. I have no wild nights out with fabulous friends, though I do stay up late reading tortured Facebook statuses. In the morning, I eat a sensible, low-fat, high-protein breakfast and drink my coffee in the bathroom while I simultaneously try to put on mascara and brush my child&rsquo;s teeth. Every now and then my partner whizzes by, waves her iPad in front of my face and asks, &quot;Did you see this?&rdquo; pointing to some item of interest she found on </em>Buzzfeed <em>or </em>Pulse<em>. </em></p><p><em>I get the rest of my news on the radio or from Twitter, scanning 140 character headlines and clicking through to the full article when I have a minute. Despite all this, I feel pretty well informed. </em>Glamour Magazine<em> sends me a weekly email letting me know which nail polishes work best with current trends. </em><a href="http://gozamos.com/">Gozamos</a> <em>sends me a daily email letting me know about Latino-oriented arts and culture events happening near my &lsquo;hood. </em>Poets.org<em> sends me two poems a day, the </em>New York Times<em> sends me book and movie reviews and President Obama sends me hourly updates on how much money Mitt Romney has raised.</em></p><p><em>So when I heard the news that, as of October 31<sup>st</sup>, the </em>Chicago Tribune <em>will be charging $14.99 to access its online site, I was very surprised. Was there really a market for this? Like really, really, really, really? </em>The New York Times<em> is one thing, but the </em>Tribune<em>? Are people that loyal to their particular brand of commentary that they&rsquo;ll pay $14.99 a month for it? </em></p><p><em>It seems&hellip; steep. I mean, I&rsquo;m not opposed to paying for things I value, even when I could get them for free. I give money to </em>WBEZ <em>and I never even ask for the thank you gift, mostly because I think the last thing I want to be is one of those people who are carrying a public radio tote bag, like, &quot;Look at me, I&rsquo;m a liberal!&quot; I pay for MP3s instead of just having my DJ friends send me songs through Dropbox. And whenever a tip jar goes around, I&rsquo;ll throw a few bucks in, you know, just to be decent. </em></p><p><em>I&rsquo;m not opposed to subscribing to things either. I subscribe to dozens of magazines;&nbsp;</em>Lucky Magazine<em>, </em>Real Simple<em>, </em>Fast Company<em>, </em>New York Magazine<em>,</em> US Weekly<em>, </em>American Theatre Magazine<em>&nbsp;and</em> Natural Living<em>. I love holding a magazine in my hand, turning the pages, flipping back to a previous article to doublecheck something&nbsp;</em><em>&ndash;</em><em>&nbsp;lip gloss color, I don&#39;t know. Even when I don&rsquo;t have time to read magazines, I like having them around because it holds the promise of having time to read all those magazines. And best of all, I like passing them on to other people when I&rsquo;m done, getting a dog eared glossy in exchange. </em></p><p><em>Online access just isn&rsquo;t the same. . . .</em></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a>&nbsp;<em>is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It&#39;s always at 3 p.m., it&#39;s always on Saturday, and it&#39;s always free. Get all your&nbsp;</em>The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 09:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/what-exactly-tribune-asking-us-pay-103747 The real Charles Osgood http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/real-charles-osgood-103624 <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/osgood%20studs0015.jpg" style="width: 410px; height: 265px; float: left;" title="(Photo by Charles Osgood)" /></div><p>I first met Charles&nbsp;Osgood&nbsp;almost 25 years ago. We were thrown together on a delightful assignment: A day in the life of blues great Koko Taylor. We spent time with Taylor and her husband Richard, who liked to be called &quot;Pop,&quot; at their South Side home and at a concert. After the story ran, I delivered some extra copies of the paper. Pop spent a great deal of time just looking at the pictures, not reading a word of the text. Finally, he looked up and said, &quot;That&nbsp;Osgood, he&#39;s a nice man and a great&nbsp;photographer.&quot;</p><p>I thought so too&mdash;and so a few years later I asked him to join me for an ongoing adventure called &ldquo;Sidewalks.&rdquo; Osgood&nbsp;and I have collaborated on more than 700 columns for the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>. This &quot;marriage&quot; has manifested itself in two books.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Osgood%20008dance.jpg" style="width: 597px; height: 441px;" title="(Photo by Charles Osgood)" /></div><p>Most or our work has focused on so-called ordinary people and simple places. The sort of ordinary people you have seen on the news in the wake of Sandy the super storm. And we found truth and sometimes poetry in them.</p><p>On the lakefront near Belmont (Avenue),&nbsp;people&nbsp;have written poems on the rocks. No one really knows how long this has been going on, and in the many times Osgood and I have visited this stretch of craggy shoreline we have not seen anyone writing poems on the rocks or met anyone who has seen anyone else writing poems on the rocks.</p><p>Some of the poems are original and some are those of famous poets; some are not poems at all but words from the Bible or private messages. But all of this rock-writing, it seems to me, represents a collective and gentle cry in the urban wilderness; a sort of grown-up version of putting your hand print in wet cement or scratching your initials and those of a lover (or crush) inside a heart on the bark of a tree. They represent the various ways in which some&nbsp;people&nbsp;say, in a world increasingly e-mail icy, &quot;I was here!&quot;</p><p>Those are our kinds of people.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/osgood%20chopper451.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="(Photo by Charles Osgood)" /></div><p>So, because newspaper&nbsp;photographers&nbsp;are by nature shy and reserved types, and because Charlie will be joining me on the show in a few minutes, I thought I&#39;d tell you a few things you don&rsquo;t know about&nbsp;Osgood.</p><p>No, he is not that Charles&nbsp;Osgood.&nbsp;</p><p>He has a delightful dog named Bao. He says it&rsquo;s the Mandarin word for &quot;newspaper.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>He was once in the management training program at American Airlines.&nbsp;</p><p>He has a cabin in Wisconsin with no running water or electricity.</p><p>He has had his beard for 40 years, though he did shave it off after losing a bet to me; he started growing it back immediately.&nbsp;</p><p>He is, like most paper&nbsp;photographers, relatively anonymous, but he is, like most newspaper&nbsp;photographers, an artist.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Nov 2012 13:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/real-charles-osgood-103624 Why is the Tribune scapegoating Clarence Page? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/why-tribune-scapegoating-clarence-page-100625 <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/AP110111179963.jpg" style="float: right; width: 400px; height: 323px; " title="Clarence Page at his Washington office. (AP/file)" /></div><p>This morning, like thousands of other Chicagoans, I woke to the&nbsp;<em>Chicago Tribune</em>&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0703-page-20120703,0,4054906">story</a>&nbsp;essentially threatening to fire Pulitzer Prize winner Clarence Page, the paper&rsquo;s most visible African-American writer and arguably one of its most popular staffers, both among the&nbsp;<em>Trib</em>&rsquo;s readers and his colleagues.<br /><br />Page&rsquo;s crime? A breach of editorial policy. He failed to get advanced approval for a speaking gig, and the group he spoke for, MEK, makes the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;nervous. MEK is an organization of Iranian exiles opposed to the current government and is currently on the State Department&rsquo;s list of international terrorist groups.</p><p>On face value, it seems like Page appeared before a terrorist group and gave &lsquo;em his nod of approval.&nbsp;But my take? Absurd on both counts. (And, yes, in the interest of total disclosure: Page is a former colleague and a good friend of mine.)</p><p>The situation is more nuanced than the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;would have us believe. First, Page is not a reporter. He&rsquo;s an opinion page columnist paid to give his personal take on things. He&rsquo;s not paid to be equivocal or tepid, but to write about things that get people going. He&rsquo;s paid to elaborate on issues even if his final conclusion contradicts the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&rsquo;s own editorial stand. That is his&nbsp;<em>job</em>.</p><p>Second, Page has an opinion about MEK that is not outside the mainstream: He thinks MEK should be removed from the U.S. terrorist list.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember when Nelson Mandela&rsquo;s ANC was viewed by political leaders in Washington as a terrorist group, based on information that seemed about as sketchy and outdated as the allegations made against MEK today,&rdquo; Page told me.</p><p>Page&rsquo;s opinion is apparently<a href="http://www.occdi.org/">&nbsp;shared</a>&nbsp;by former National Security Adviser and retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Vermont governor Howard Dean, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge and former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich &ndash; all of whom participated in the same confab as Page in Paris last month.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2009/01/26/idUKLQ200287">European Union</a>&nbsp;took MEK, which renounced violence in 2001, off its list of terrorist groups in 2009.</p><p>And just last month, the&nbsp;<a href="http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2012/06/dc-circuit-criticizes-state-dept-in-dispute-over-iranian-group-.html">U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington</a>&nbsp;ordered the State Department to revisit MEK&rsquo;s designation as a terrorist group. In fact, the court has ordered the State Department to re-evaluate the group in the next four months. Because the court has the authority to take the group off the list without State Department approval, how it rules on the State Department&rsquo;s conclusion &ndash; or lack thereof &ndash; could be a real foreign policy nightmare.</p><p>In other words, Page&rsquo;s opinion on MEK &ndash; whether we agree or disagree with it &ndash; couldn&rsquo;t be more timely:</p><p>And what were Page&rsquo;s talking points to this group (he talked for 3 to 5 minutes), besides his belief that they should no longer be considered a terrorist group?</p><p>* &ldquo;Thanks for inviting me to speak up for values I believe we share: Freedom, democracy and respect for human rights for men and women across racial, ethnic and religious lines.<br />* &ldquo;I believe we share a desire for regime change in Iran to a more fair and democratic society.<br />* &ldquo;The historical record shows &ndash; and a variety of experts have told me &ndash; how the MEK has been America&rsquo;s ally in our war against terrorists, but as former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card has said, the State Department appears to have been left behind with outdated information. Now a federal court has said the State Department should check its relevance.<br />* &ldquo;You have allies to whom you should reach out in common cause as long as you advocate the values all decent human beings share. As long as you work for freedom, equality, human rights and democracy, you are not working alone.&rdquo;</p><p>Pretty straightforward, pretty mainstream and very much in keeping with both Page&rsquo;s job and style.</p><p>Of course if the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;were to just hang its hat on the appearance itself as a breach of policy, it would look pretty foolish. Opinion writers give their opinion all the time in public appearances on TV, at conventions, graduations, panels, conferences, etc. And they promote their mothership &ndash; in Page&rsquo;s case, the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;&ndash; every time they do so. (Irony: Besides being an incredibly decent human being, Page is probably one of the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&#39;s most loyal foot soldiers. He unabashedly loves the place.)</p><p>This morning, Bruce Dold, the Editorial Board Chief at the&nbsp;<em>Trib</em>&nbsp;and Page&rsquo;s supervisor, said that had Page asked for an OK for this speech, it would have been denied.</p><p>&ldquo;A speaking fee must be approved in advance by a manager, and he did not seek approval on this, and you can&#39;t accept a speaking fee from any organization with a special interest group or a publicity interest,&rdquo; said Dold.</p><p><em>Any special interest group or a group with a publicity interest?</em>&nbsp;I have news for Dold &ndash; most groups who invite speakers have a special interest and they all have an interest in publicity. The speaker is the hook.</p><p>Also in today&rsquo;s story, <em>Tribune </em>editor in chief Gerould Kern says that Page will return the speaking fees &ndash; making it sound like the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;is putting its foot down.</p><p>But Page had returned the fee before anyone asked him to. &ldquo;I never cashed the check.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.propublica.org/article/clarence-page-spoke-at-rally-for-iranian-militant-group">Pro-Publica</a>&nbsp;(the first to break the story) called as I was about to instruct my agent to return the money and expenses to reduce suspicions of a conflict of interest,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;is crying foul because Page did not follow protocol in notifying Dold about a gig, regardless of what it was. But frankly, that&rsquo;s just the&nbsp;<em>Trib</em>&nbsp;covering its own butt. Page says that he did, in fact, used to get approval for speaking gigs, then stopped about three years ago; the practice just fell by the wayside. In the last year alone, he&rsquo;s had at least seven gigs.</p><p>Let me just say this: If Page has been that active a speaker recently and the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;just woke up to the fact that he hasn&rsquo;t been getting approval for his engagements (and I&rsquo;m betting he&rsquo;s not the only one), the problem is not just Page&rsquo;s. The idea that there might be further action against Page, as Kern suggests, would be a gross abuse of power and an ugly singling out of an exceptional employee.</p><p>In nearly 30 years as a professional journalist, Page has never, ever, been involved in any kind of questioning of his professionalism or ethics.</p><p>&ldquo;Since I was first hired as a reporter in 1969 and rehired as a columnist and editorial writer in 1984 (after four years in TV), I&rsquo;ve had a record of which I have been quite proud,&rdquo; said Page, the sadness in his voice palpable. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m much more comfortable covering scandals than being in one.&rdquo;</p><p>What the&nbsp;<em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;needs to do is re-evaluate its policy, and the enforcement of that policy, on outside employment, particularly as it pertains to speaking and public appearances.</p><p>And just leave Clarence alone.</p></p> Tue, 03 Jul 2012 11:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-07/why-tribune-scapegoating-clarence-page-100625 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 3 at 3: The most creative ways media is covering the Illinois tornadoes http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-01/3-3-most-creative-ways-media-covering-illinois-tornadoes-96875 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-01/daily register.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Newsmedia is often criticized for being overly hysterical about disaster coverage. But as we've seen over the past 24 hours with coverage of the tornadoes in Southern Illinois that have devastated the region, those lovely advances of modern technology have also allowed all sorts of outlets to do amazing work. Photos and videos, often deciminated on Twitter, have brought the reality of these tragedies to people in a way that the cover of the newspaper for just one morning really couldn't. Here are three news outlets that have done moving coverage of the tornadoes that have really stretched the boundaries of how we tell stories:</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-01/trib tornado.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 527px; " title=""></p><p><strong>1. The&nbsp;<em>Chicago Tribune</em> homepage with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tornado-harrisburg-20120301,0,1517691.story">embedded video</a>. </strong>When you're in news, you have to read a lot of news, which means you have to read a lot of your competitor's work. This obviously means that we follow the work of our colleagues at the<em> Chicago Tribune</em> closely. But this tornado story prompted our EP of talk programming, Justin Kaufmann, to say he wasn't sure he'd ever seen the <em>Trib </em>embed a video in the main block on their homepage before this story. They're probably taking a tip from the<em> New York Times</em>, but when it's a good idea, go with it.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-01/daily register.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 408px; " title=""></p><p><strong>2. A devoted section page to full coverage by the <a href="http://www.dailyregister.com/midwest_tornadoes">Harrisburg Daily Register</a>.</strong> Local news often gets a bad reputation -- especially local television. But what we see from the <em>Harrisburg Daily Register</em>&nbsp;is that they have basically created an online tornado central, featuring editorials, links to other local publications, video and photos that they have produced, as well as multimedia from national sources and user-submitted content.</p><p><strong>3. Twitter, always Twitter. </strong>As we've seen before, Twitter has been an amazing tool for reporters on the go to report on the detailed, real-life devastation of the disaster stories they cover. The tornadoes have been no exception; <em>New York Times </em>reporter Monica Davey <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/us/in-illinois-tornados-devastation-sinks-in.html?hp">wrote a whole story</a> about the disaster, but then flushed it out by <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/monicadavey1/status/175288818843398144">tweeting a personal photo</a> she'd taken seconds before of the destruction. And Kentucky meterologist Tom Ackerman was one of several who <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/TomAckermanWx/status/175270937623658496">sent out a screenshot</a> of the local newsbroadcast's list of confirmed tornadoes to come.</p><p>It's the work of these people on the ground -- and shoutout to the web people working alongside them -- that helps us empathize with these tragedies in a way we just couldn't have before. We might know something is happening, but its this work that makes us understand.</p></p> Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-01/3-3-most-creative-ways-media-covering-illinois-tornadoes-96875