Ah, the bounty that is Chicago news. Plenty to talk about today:
Top story: The Chicago police are reeling after one of their own was shot and killed on Friday while investigating a crime scene. It is just a terrible tragedy and something that you hate to see any time, but especially during the holidays. The story of the killing dominated the news all weekend. It has been interesting watching the coverage since the first day. Friday night, NBC 5 went 8 minutes deep in the 10pm news and even created a graphic they threw up reminding us that they will be covering this story all weekend. On-line, most news orgs blew out their home pages with the story.
The weekend wasn’t much different, the story was finally bumped from the Chicago Tribune site for the Bears win. But this weekend, the news story became less about the details of the crime or the investigation, and more about how the police needed help with leads. They were having little success finding the killer, so they started throwing out sound bites and phone numbers that were all about the community stepping up and telling the police who did this. Saturday’s news turned from the tragedy to how the community must have seen something and their duty is to tell the police about it.
Was I the only one who found it strange that almost every television newscast threw up the tip-line phone number and used Police Chief Jody Weis’ sound bites about tips to text? I understand the police need help solving this crime. But is it the media’s job to support this or to report on the facts of the story? Is helping the police part of the story? Maybe it is. But throwing up the phone number graphic plus having the reporter repeat it three times might move into a gray area.
B story: Ha! And you thought this mayoral race would be dull…Rahm Emanuel is having a hard time proving to the media and some lawyers that he lives in Chicago. Most Chicagoans roll their eyes and give the ole ‘politics as usual’ speech when they read about this, but this might actually be a big deal. Why? Because as one of our esteemed panelist said on this week’s Best Game in Town - the Chicago judicial system is not immune to politics. That is such a great point - it would take a clouted judge who didn’t want Emanuel (or better, wanted someone else) to make a decision against Rahm and his residency. And you thought the circus just left town.
C story: Today marks the first week without Robert Feder on the Vocalo blogs. If you are living under a blog-rock, our esteemed media blogger has left the building. He is going to make an announcement soon about his new digs. It was a great year working alongside one of Chicago’s best columnists. I learned so much from working with him, not only about the news business but about reporting on the media. But what I’ll miss even more are the throngs and throngs of commenters that graced our site. Of course, I’ll miss the pageviews, but more, I’ll miss Bruce Wolf. I’ll miss Dvorak, Chet Coppak’s fur coat, fake Judy Barr Topinka, fake Mancow, fake Ron Magers, fake Sarah Palin, fake Warner Saunders and of course, Mike. I’ll miss the commenter that used the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org who was actually leaving comments in different names, arguing with himself. Yeah, I’ll miss those guys.
But you know, you don’t have to leave! I can replace Mr. Feder on the Vocalo blogs! I’ll cover media. Sure, Feder gives you scoops, insight, depth and institutional knowledge (plus great writing), but I give you snarky observations with no research or further information. Think of me as an underqualified Stella Foster. That’s more in-line with what the internet thrives on anyway. So here goes - my first piece:
1. What’s with that weird northside/southside commercial that McPherrin and Davlantes are sporting on FOX Chicago? They get mad at each other at Madison/State and Davlantes gets waaay too close to McPherrin. Like kiss close. Weird.
2. What else…oh! I could be the guy who analyzes what news reporters choose as their winter-fashion. Lots of fur collars and goofy, expensive hats. It could be like the Oscars, but for the 10pm news. “Giiirrrrlllll, those are bad earmuffs!”
3. And I could pressure the man to change programming. Hey, Channel 11 - cool it on the Curious George Xmas special. We get it. It’s Christmas. But don’t show that cartoon every two hours.
There, three items. Boom. Give me the Lisagor now. That will keep you around, right? Right? Anybody?
Sports: I have a big Bears wrap-up coming up today, so I’ll skip that story and go with the teams at the UC! The Bulls are coming back to Chicago from the dreaded west-coast ‘circus’ road-trip. For the first time since 1997, the Bulls had a winning record (4-3). This is a huge, historic feat for the Bulls as the last time they had a winning record, they won a championship. It’s amazing if you think about it - 13 seasons of losing west-coast road trips. It’s time to prep the Petrillo band shell. And the Blackhawks also had a successful trip. Just think about your winter for a second: You might have the Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks playing deep into their seasons. Times are good.
Kicker: Last week, I posted the first of my series of videos featuring our longtime fictitious Alderman Ed Bus (D-53rd). It’s the brainchild of my comedy group Schadenfreude (used to be on WBEZ). The idea is that our alderman is running for mayor. This past week, I received several e-mails about the show ‘The Good Wife’ introducing a new character - an alderman from the 53rd ward. The show is set in Chicago, so this is significant. Why did they choose that ward? Everyone knows there are 50 wards. So was it a homage to our long-running character from the fictitious 53rd (first on stage in 1999), or was it just a coincidence? Or worse - did they take our research (53rd is by far the funniest fake ward in Chicago) and use it without permission? So this begs the question: Do several friends of mine really watch ‘The Good Wife’?