WBEZ | newspapers http://www.wbez.org/tags/newspapers Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en That Time Chicago Sent a Trainload of Snow to Florida http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/time-chicago-sent-trainload-snow-florida-114494 <p><p>Chicago loves winter. Talking about it at least. Inevitably, you&rsquo;ll lament the most recent snowfall with your neighbor. Inevitably, a Facebook friend will post a screenshot of Chicago&rsquo;s zero-degree forecast. &nbsp;And, inevitably, a media outlet like us will bring up the Chicago Blizzard of 1967 &mdash; if only to remind everyone that today&rsquo;s bad weather could always get worse.</p><p>But this isn&rsquo;t a story just about that blizzard; it&rsquo;s also about how the media talks about its aftermath. It&rsquo;s been nearly 50 years since the largest single snowfall in Chicago history, and not only are <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/chi-chicagodays-1967blizzard-story-story.html" target="_blank">local news outlets still publishing retrospectives</a>, they&rsquo;re also still hung up on a single, microcosmic detail &mdash; <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150109/downtown/history-of-winter-chicago-it-could-be-worse-definitely-was" target="_blank">written in a sentence or two</a> or in a quote like this one, usually below the fold:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Some of the snow from 1967, there was so much of it, they didn&#39;t know what to do with it,&quot; said Peter Alter, resident historian at the Chicago History Museum. &quot;They put it on train cars, and they shipped it to Florida for kids who had never seen snow.&quot; -<a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150109/downtown/history-of-winter-chicago-it-could-be-worse-definitely-was" target="_blank">DNAinfo, January 9, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p>It was a tidbit like this that inspired a question that came all the way from a classroom of fourth and fifth graders in High Point, North Carolina. They had learned about the &lsquo;67 blizzard and, being school kids themselves, they were particularly enamored with the Chicago-to-Florida snow train delivery. So, they asked us for help filling in the blanks:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Was there really a trainful of snow surplus shipped from Chicago to Florida school kids? How did that even happen?!</em></p><p>I&rsquo;ll tell you right now: It happened, all right, and the story&rsquo;s details are worth revisiting. Because when you retrace the making of this Chicago mini-legend, you can see click-bait journalism being written across the front pages of mainstream newspapers &mdash; 40 years before its time.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not all snow trains lead to Florida</span></p><p>The story of the Chicago Blizzard of 1967 starts on January 26, when it snowed for 29 hours straight. Having been 65 degrees just two days before, the storm took many people off guard. More than two feet of snow covered the region, with reports of drifts up to 10 feet high. Cars were discarded like cigarette butts over expressways. There was no public transportation, no access to grocery stores, no way to get to work. Twenty-three people died in the Chicago area, mostly from heart attacks while shoveling snow.</p><p>It took three weeks for the Department of Streets and Sanitation to plow the city streets. Desperate for places to put the stuff, they dumped it in any vacant lot they could find: Park District land, neighborhood lots, <a href="http://www.trbimg.com/img-563cc845/turbine/chi-110131-snowstorm-1967-pictures-010/1300/1300x731" target="_blank">even the Chicago River</a>.</p><p>Some Chicago rail yards came up with their own solution for snow that built up in their depots. It&rsquo;s kind of bizarre in its simplicity: Shove it on freight trains already heading south. The warmer weather would do the job, melting the stuff in transit.</p><p>&ldquo;They sent it because they wanted to get rid of it,&rdquo; A.W. Pirtle, supervisor of the Illinois Central Railroad&rsquo;s Memphis depot <a href="https://www.newspapers.com/clip/3848614/mt_vernon_registernews/" target="_blank">told the Associated Press</a> (probably rolling his eyes). And in Chicago, the ordeal made front-page news:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1967/02/11/page/37/article/hundreds-of-freight-cars-used" width="600"></iframe></p><p>Dozens of train lines followed suit, and this solution &mdash; extolled in headlines such as this &mdash; grew into a national story. It was picked up by the Associated Press, and photographs of trains carrying heaps of sooty, Chicago snow from the blizzard appeared in papers around the country as the rail cars made their way to Tennessee, Alabama and Texas.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">A 1,300-mile regift, remembered</span></p><p>The story was even picked up by national television, and eventually reached the ears and eyes of a 13-year-old girl in the town of Fort Myers Beach, Florida.</p><p>We found that girl through the White Pages. Her name is Terri Bell (last name Hodson at the time), and, at age 61, she still lives in Fort Myers Beach.</p><p>She says after hearing the broadcast about trainloads of Chicago snow heading south, she wrote a letter to William Quinn, the president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, asking him to send her some snow because, as a Floridian, she had never seen any.</p><p>And he did.</p><p>It&rsquo;s just that 13-year-old Terri Hodson hadn&rsquo;t realized that all of the other southbound snow was shipped in uninsulated cars &mdash; the whole point being to <em>melt</em>. But Quinn, possibly sensing a brilliant PR stunt but possibly out of the goodness of his heart, had the snow shipped to Florida in refrigerator cars.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://soundcloud.com/curiouscity/that-time-chicago-sent-a-trainload-of-snow-to-florida" target="_blank"><strong>Hear Terri tell her own story of getting Chicago shipped 1,300 miles to Florida</strong></a></p><p>And if the media went bananas over Chicago railroads sending snow south in uninsulated cars, they went banana sundaes when they heard about the special, frozen shipment to school kids in Florida.</p><p>Headlines from Pennsylvania to California read:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://img0.newspapers.com/img/img?id=51235319&amp;width=557&amp;height=1226&amp;crop=3338_6901_824_1847&amp;rotation=0&amp;brightness=0&amp;contrast=0&amp;invert=0&amp;ts=1452895228&amp;h=8ae3bfd79913bdd017c5e1edbec509e4" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/youthsnowanswered.png" title="" /></a></div><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>The Mercury</em>, Pottstown, Pennsylvania</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/floridagirltoget.png" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><em>Lincoln Journal Star</em>, Lincoln, Nebraska</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://img0.newspapers.com/img/img?id=17862377&amp;width=557&amp;height=1263&amp;crop=46_2385_468_1081&amp;rotation=0&amp;brightness=0&amp;contrast=0&amp;invert=0&amp;ts=1452894834&amp;h=d11eda3334b31dd27ff4730e3090f6a9" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/floridasnowrequest%20california.PNG" style="height: 201px; width: 400px;" title="" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Independent</em>, Long Beach, California</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>And in Chicago, yet another front page story:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1967/02/21/page/1/article/train-heads-south-with-snow-for-girl" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Terri became a local hero and a national celebrity. She appeared on talk shows and was quoted in papers across the country. The town of Fort Myers Beach even held a special ceremony for the occasion, in which a local hardware store gave her a sled that was shipped to them by mistake. (She still has that sled, by the way.)</p><p>On February 27, 1967 &mdash; after almost a week in transit &mdash; the snow came rolling into the Fort Myers train depot, where thousands neighbors, parents, and kids were waiting. Some were skeptical, but a good number of the kids looked forward to playing in the white, fluffy, powdery stuff they&rsquo;d never seen before.</p><p>Except, Terri got something else entirely, after she&rsquo;d cut the ribbon to the train cars and a couple guys used a front-end loader to shovel the snow into the parking lot:</p><blockquote><p>I had expected it to be soft and powdery. You know, like, dripping snowflakes and it would just come pouring out of the car. Unfortunately after a week&rsquo;s ride in a refrigerator car it was no longer soft powdery snow. It was quite icy.</p><p>You could still kind of form it a little bit and do something with it and people were trying to build snowmen and snowballs and make snow angels and do the best they could with it. But, it was still snow and I could say I saw snow.</p></blockquote><p>Nearly 50 years after the event, Terri remembers playing in the snow was not that much fun.</p><p>&quot;It was the fact that I really got it, and all the cool things that happened to me around that,&quot; she says. &quot;Everybody says you&rsquo;ll have a claim to fame once in your life. That was the most exciting thing that happened in my life.&quot;</p><p>And though the snow melted almost immediately in the 80-degree Florida heat that February day in 1967, the short buzz of fame Terri felt has stuck with her ever since.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://img0.newspapers.com/img/img?id=36758128&amp;width=557&amp;height=694&amp;crop=1720_873_1676_2128&amp;rotation=0&amp;brightness=0&amp;contrast=0&amp;invert=0&amp;ts=1452895281&amp;h=1e086e25e489fdf1b852dc52b699bf6b" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chi%20snow%20shipped%20to%20fla.png" style="height: 635px; width: 620px;" title="A photo of Terri on the front page of the Charleston Daily Mail the day after the snow's arrival. " /></a></div><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Vintage virality</span></p><p>The story about the Florida snow train had a lot of heart, but why was it enough to make the era&rsquo;s national media go berzerk?</p><p>Bruce Evensen, director of Depaul University&rsquo;s journalism school, says part of the explanation is that there were few media outlets at the time. Evensen, who&rsquo;s now 64 and was 16 during the blizzard, reminds us 1967 wasn&rsquo;t the age of social media. Cable television was still relatively new, and NPR hadn&rsquo;t even been founded.</p><p>He says the issue wasn&rsquo;t just that there was less &ldquo;news&rdquo;; hardly any of it was &ldquo;second day&rdquo; or feature stories. Basically, in 1967, &ldquo;news&rdquo; was hard news, and the Chicago-Florida snow train story was not only an exception, but an exceptionally popular one. Why?</p><p>&ldquo;A story of what to do with the snow when a city reaches the point where it can&rsquo;t handle snow is an interesting thing,&rdquo; Evensen says. And what made that irony particularly resonate, Evensen says, was Chicago&rsquo;s nickname as the &ldquo;Phoenix City,&rdquo; coined by Chicago Tribune managing editor and later city mayor Joseph Medill after the Great Fire of 1871.</p><p>&ldquo;So the joke &mdash; the parlour game &mdash; was that Chicago was not going to be stopped by the fire. Chicago was not going to be stopped by this paralyzing storm, even though it<em> was</em> stopped for 24, 36, 48 hours,&rdquo; Evensen says. &ldquo;[It] just was another suggestion of the city&rsquo;s sort of ironic muscularity: &lsquo;You want some snow? You can have it!&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The story&rsquo;s news hook was its irony factor &mdash; a gesture of Midwestern politeness and can-do spirit, a simultaneous high-five and slap in the face while the city dug itself out of a frozen hell. And, considering the story&rsquo;s national virality as a slice-of-life spinoff outside the breaking news world, it&rsquo;s fair to call it a harbinger of a media landscape to come. It was a hashtag before its time.</p><p>Evensen suspects that, &ldquo;properly handled and exploited,&rdquo; the Chicago-Florida snow train story would get even more press if it happened today rather than in 1967. One reason: There are more news outlets and more competition for stories between them. Another reason: The media offers more social and cultural context to news stories than ever before, and coverage continues as long as there&rsquo;s proof of listener interest, Evensen says.</p><p>&ldquo;Even the mainstream media now is much more attentive than ever before to how the story is <em>going</em>,&rdquo; Bevensen says. &ldquo;What kind of visibility is it getting? You can measure this. So I think if they found that that kind of curious, funny story was getting attention initially, it might be boosted even higher.&rdquo;</p><p>So, to the Floridians out there looking for their claim to fame: consider the next northern blizzard your big break.</p><p>And pro tip to Chicago journalists and bloggers: Fact-check the legends. Some are still in the White Pages.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Logan Jaffe is Curious City&#39;s multimedia producer. <a href="http://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">Follow her on Twitter</a> for more of these kinds of shenanigans.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 15:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/time-chicago-sent-trainload-snow-florida-114494 Tribune Co. to cut 700 jobs at newspaper division http://www.wbez.org/sections/literacy/tribune-co-cut-700-jobs-newspaper-division-109204 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP526898405060.jpg" style="height: 159px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="(AP/File)" />Tribune Co. says it&#39;s eliminating about 700 jobs as part of a restructuring of its newspaper business.</p><p>Spokesman Gary Weitman says the cuts will take place over the next year.&nbsp;In addition to the Chicago Tribune, the Tribune Co. owns the Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers.</p><p>The company&#39;s reporting staff won&#39;t be affected, but there will be small reductions in other editorial areas.</p><p>The cuts account for about 6 percent of Tribune Co.&#39;s workforce.</p><p>The Chicago-based company emerged from a four-year stint under bankruptcy protection last December. In the months since, it has focused on boosting profitability at its broadcast division. It plans to spin off its publishing business by mid-2014.</p></p> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 15:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/literacy/tribune-co-cut-700-jobs-newspaper-division-109204 Tribune plans to split into 2 companies http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/tribune-plans-split-2-companies-108012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr_tribune_bernt Rostad.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tribune Co. said Wednesday that it wants to split its broadcasting and publishing businesses into two companies.</p><p>Tribune said the move will let one company take advantage of growth in broadcasting and allow the other to focus on newspapers, an industry where revenue has been declining for years.</p><p>Chicago-based Tribune owns 23 TV stations and cable network WGN America. Earlier this month, it announced plans to buy Local TV Holdings and its 19 television stations for $2.73 billion. It also owns eight daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun.</p><p>Fellow media company News Corp. completed a split into separate publishing and entertainment companies late last month.</p><p>Since the split became final on June 28, shares of News Corp., now a standalone publishing company, have edged up about 1 percent, closing Tuesday at $15.71. Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., the entertainment company, have risen about 4 percent to close Tuesday at $30.09.</p><p>Tribune, which emerged from bankruptcy protection at the end of 2012, said that over the past several months its board and management have been looking at ways to boost value for its stakeholders and long-term growth.</p><p>Tribune said in February that it hired a pair of investment banks to help it sell its newspapers. The move was largely at the behest of the group of lenders that took over the company as part of its reorganization.</p><p>Under the proposal announced Wednesday, the newspapers would be spun off into an independent company to be called Tribune Publishing Co.</p><p>The newspapers have been hurt by a shift that has driven more readers and advertisers to the Internet and mobile devices. The downturn in print advertising was one of the factors that caused Tribune to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008.</p><p>The remaining company would include Tribune&#39;s local television stations; WGN radio and cable networks; its television production, digital and media services ventures; and its interests in Classified Ventures, CareerBuilder, and The TV Food Network and real estate.</p><p>Tribune said its board will develop a detailed plan for the split over the next nine to 12 months. After the split is complete, both companies will have separate boards and management.</p></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/tribune-plans-split-2-companies-108012 It's news-quizzin' time! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/its-news-quizzin-time-105270 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Q.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/meyerson-wbez-news-quiz-no-4" target="_blank"><img alt="Meyerson WBEZ News Quiz No. 4" src="http://home.comcast.net/~cmeyerson/Q.jpg" style="width: 100px; height: 77px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></a>It&#39;s that time again. Test your knowledge of the news over the last week, as recounted in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson">the pages of this blog</a>. Study up, then click below. (Or click below and consult the blog as you go along; we&#39;re not fussy.)</p><div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js" charset="UTF-8"></script><noscript><a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/meyerson-wbez-news-quiz-no-4">Take Meyerson WBEZ News Quiz No. 4</a></noscript><script type="text/javascript"> polldaddy.add( { type: 'iframe', auto: true, domain: 'cpm.polldaddy.com/s/', id: 'meyerson-wbez-news-quiz-no-4' } ); </script><p>&nbsp;</p><strong><em>Four things for your weekend:</em></strong><p><strong>&#39;JOURNALISTS ARE ON NOTICE. IF YOU INVESTIGATE THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT, CHINESE HACKERS WILL COME AFTER YOU.&#39; </strong>Slate&#39;s&nbsp;Farhad Manjoo says <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/01/new_york_times_chinese_hackers_the_attack_against_the_newspaper_of_record.html">reporters need to learn two lessons</a> from the hacking of <em>The New York Times</em>, the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> and others.<br />* The&nbsp;<em>NYT</em>&#39;s squeamishness about the S-word leads it to print&nbsp;<a href="http://daily-download.com/york-times-censor-failure/">a Web address that just doesn&#39;t work</a>.<br />* &quot;<em><a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/the-onion-freely-and-happily-gives-its-employees-p,31102/">The Onion</a></em><a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/the-onion-freely-and-happily-gives-its-employees-p,31102/"> Freely And Happily Gives Its Employees&#39; Passwords To China</a>.&quot;</p></div><p><b><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/law-school-applications-are-collapsing-as-they-should-be/272729/"><img alt="" src="http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/NALP_Law_School_Grads_Employment_Corrected.PNG" style="width: 300px; height: 164px; float: right; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" /></a>LAW SCHOOL SQUEEZE.&nbsp;</b>Applications are headed toward a 30-year low, and Jordan Weissmann of <em>The Atlantic</em> calls it &quot;a desperately needed adjustment&quot; because &quot;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/law-school-applications-are-collapsing-as-they-should-be/272729/#">the legal economy is in a shambles</a>.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;THE GUNS-FOR-EVERYONE ADVOCATES HATE THAT STATISTIC.&#39; </strong>Handgun-owning Democrat Stephen King -- yes, <em>that</em> Stephen King -- has published <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B53IW9W/ref=amb_link_355097102_14?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=center-3&amp;pf_rd_r=1BZMET2KN2W4Z23TNJM7&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=1479955982&amp;pf_rd_i=2486013011">a 99-cent ebook essay</a>&nbsp;spotlighting a 60 percent drop in gun homicides since Australia cracked down on guns.<br />* <em>PolitiFact.com:</em> <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jan/31/stephen-king/stephen-king-says-australia-cracked-down-guns-homi/">Numbers back him up</a>.<br />* <em>Mother Jones:</em> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact-check">10 pro-gun myths shot down</a>.</p><p><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="169" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/aTLySbGoMX0" width="300"></iframe><strong>OSCAR-NOMINATED MOVIE, FREE.&nbsp;</strong>If you didn&#39;t see &quot;Wreck-It Ralph,&quot; you probably haven&#39;t seen the touching piece that preceded it, &quot;Paperman,&quot; one of the contenders for the animated short award. But <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/disney-paperman-online/">Disney&#39;s released it to the Web via YouTube</a>, and so you can see it here. If &quot;Love Actually&quot; had been good, <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-207_162-57566909/disneys-oscar-nominated-paperman-debuts-online/">it would&#39;ve looked more like this</a>. (Catch the homage to &quot;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048980/">The Red Balloon</a>&quot; at 5:39.) You&#39;re welcome.</p><hr /><p><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong><br />* <a href="http://www.this-page-intentionally-left-blank.org/">This space intentionally left blank</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 01 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/its-news-quizzin-time-105270 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 Chicago gets a newspaper http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/chicago-gets-newspaper-103909 <p><p>The year was 1833. Chicago had just been incorporated as a town. There were already 300 people living here. On this November 26, we got our first newspaper.</p><p>Our 21st Century media like to portray themselves as unbiased and non-partisan. Sometimes they are. But in 1833, newspapers let you know their agenda right up front. That first local paper was a weekly named the <em>Chicago Democrat</em>.</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/11-26--John%20Calhoun%20%28Andreas%29.jpg" style="float: right; width: 217px; height: 325px;" title="John Calhoun (Andreas, 'History of Chicago')" /></div><p>The man behind it was John Calhoun. He&rsquo;d run a succession of unsuccessful papers in New York, most recently in Watertown. After hearing travelers&rsquo; tales about the boomtown on Lake Michigan, the young editor headed west.</p><p>Calhoun set up shop in a building on Clark Street just south of the river. Like anyone who owned a printing press in 1833, he depended on job-lot printing orders to make his living. The newspaper was more of a sideline, a vehicle to publicize his personal views.</p><p>(<em>Hmmm. Sounds like a blog</em>.)</p><p>Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, was president. The opposition party was called the Whigs. Yet the feature story in the first issue of the <em>Chicago Democrat</em> was not a political manifesto. Instead, it was an account of a powwow between two native tribes, the Sioux and the Sac-and-Fox.</p><p>That tells you something about the newspaper business in those times. Calhoun had copied the whole powwow story from a St. Louis paper. Was this plagiarism? There weren&rsquo;t any wire services yet, so editors got their out-of-town news by lifting it from other papers. Hey, even Ben Franklin had &ldquo;borrowed&rdquo; stories!</p><p>The one piece of original work was the editorial. There Calhoun came out boldly in favor of building a canal or railroad to link Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Oddly enough, that was the type of editorial you&rsquo;d expect to find in a &quot;big government&quot; Whig paper, not in a paper calling itself the <em>Democrat</em>.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-26--Chicago Democrat.jpg" style="height: 299px; width: 450px;" title="Chicago's first newspaper (Andreas, 'History of Chicago')" /></div></div></div><p>Calhoun continued to publish, with some interruptions. In 1836 a group of local party leaders bought him out. The <em>Democrat </em>was later purchased by John Wentworth, who operated it for several years before finally closing down in 1861. By then Long John was a Republican.</p><p>John Calhoun himself died in 1859. Today Chicago&rsquo;s first newspaper editor is memorialized in Calhoun Place, an alley between Madison and Washington in the Loop.</p></p> Mon, 26 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/chicago-gets-newspaper-103909 Hayner retiring as Chicago Sun-Times editor http://www.wbez.org/culture/media/hayner-retiring-chicago-sun-times-editor-98197 <p><p>Chicago <em>Sun-Times</em> editor-in-chief Don Hayner has announced he is retiring after nearly 30 years at the newspaper.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/IINYzr">The <em>Sun-Times</em> reports</a> Hayner made the announcement Thursday afternoon. He will be succeeded by John Barron, who will be executive editor after three years as publisher. Hayner led the <em>Sun-Times</em> when it won a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in 2011.</p><p>Hayner told staffers he decided to retire and it is "time to hand off the baton."</p><p>The 60-year-old Hayner started at the newspaper as a general assignment reporter. He was named editor in February 2009. He also served as city editor, metro editor and managing editor. He also was a lawyer who represented criminal defendants at the Cook County courthouse before working for the City News Bureau and the Chicago <em>Tribune</em>.</p></p> Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:23:50 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/culture/media/hayner-retiring-chicago-sun-times-editor-98197 Sun-Times to stop endorsing politicial candidates http://www.wbez.org/story/sun-times-stop-endorsing-politicial-candidates-95758 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-23/5230048049_98420e6ddb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After more than 70 years of publication, The Chicago Sun-Times says it plans to stop endorsing political candidates through its editorial pages.</p><p>The Sun-Times announced the decision in its Monday paper through a joint statement by the Publisher John Barron and Editorial Page Editor Tom McNamee.</p><p>In the statement, the board questioned the relevance of the more than century-old practice of newspaper endorsements. The board said it "doubts the value of candidate endorsements by this newspaper or any newspaper, especially in a day when a multitude of information sources allow even a casual voter to be better informed than ever before."</p><p>The editorial went on to say editorial endorsements "don’t change many votes," and added many readers believe them to "promote the perception of a hidden bias by a newspaper."</p><p>The Sun-Times would not comment outside of the editorial published Monday.</p><p>Chicago Tribune's editorial page editor, Bruce Dold, said that while The Sun-Times' decision doesn't mean the loss of its editorial voice, the paper is "moving away from what ... is a critical piece of it, having that voice on who should be in leadership and government positions."</p><p>Dold said the Tribune's editorial board will continue to endorse candidates.</p><p>The Sun-Times said it will keep publishing editorials on civic issues.</p></p> Mon, 23 Jan 2012 21:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sun-times-stop-endorsing-politicial-candidates-95758 Assessing the state of Chicago's black media http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/assessing-state-chicagos-black-media-93454 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/3747586597_5a3aeb97ed_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The rough-and-tumble economy was not kind to either large or small publications. Recently, one of the country’s oldest and most influential black-owned newspapers hit another rough patch.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Sun-Times</em></a> reported that the <a href="http://www.chicagodefender.com/" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Defender</em></a> laid off a sixth of its staff this week, including its remaining editors. The <em>Defender</em> once claimed a large national audience but circulation fell in recent years. To cut costs a few years ago, the paper switched from daily to weekly publication.</p><p>Are the <em>Defender’s</em> woes a sign of the times for black media in general?</p><p>Cultural commentator and <em><a href="http://www.ebonyjet.com/" target="_blank">Jet</a></em> contributor Kyra Kyles spoke with <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to assess the state of black media in Chicago.</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/assessing-state-chicagos-black-media-93454 Tribune Co. creditors begin bankruptcy court fight http://www.wbez.org/story/bankruptcy/tribune-co-creditors-begin-bankruptcy-court-fight <p><p>Creditors of the Chicago-based Tribune Company began battling it out in bankruptcy court in Delaware today. The bankruptcy judge will decide between two competing reorganization plans submitted by creditors. &nbsp;<br /><br />No matter which plan wins, the company will eventually be owned by a group of lenders that financed Sam Zell&rsquo;s buyout in 2007. That group includes J.P. Morgan Chase. &nbsp;<br /><br />Media analyst Ken Doctor says once the lenders are in charge, they&rsquo;ll focus strictly on the bottom line. &nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;This is like buying a razor blade company that&rsquo;s been on hard times,&quot; Doctor said. &quot;We can buy it cheap, we can pretty it up and then we can sell it for more than we paid in three years.&quot; <br /><br />Doctor says the new owners will likely try to sell off some newspapers and broadcast outlets. He says they&rsquo;ll possibly try to merge the rest of the company with another media business to cut costs.</p></p> Mon, 07 Mar 2011 21:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bankruptcy/tribune-co-creditors-begin-bankruptcy-court-fight