January 2009

January Chicago Headline Club Newsletter


Dear Headline Club Members –


The holidays have come and gone, but as we close in on our next president’s inauguration, everything is more hectic than ever for the Headline Club. January means it’s crunch time for the Lisagor Awards. Make sure your entry is postmarked by this Thursday, Jan. 22. It is $30, per entry, for members, and $50, per entry, for non-members. Please go to www.headlineclub.org to download an application. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email. As always, the contest will be judged out-of-state by other SPJ chapters.


Don’t forget that any journalist – both freelancers and staff writers, editors and producers – can apply for the Watchdog Fund and Watchdog Award for Excellence in Public Interest Reporting. The Watchdog Fund is available, via a grant given to the Headline Club from the Richard Driehaus Foundation, to assist any ongoing investigative projects. The money can be used to assist and off-set costs of Freedom of Information requests, plane tickets, and any other financial expenses you might incur during an investigative project. The Watchdog Award is given out to a journalist or a group of journalists who have already completed an investigative project. Last year’s winners were Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Rui Kaneya and Tram Nguyen for their Chicago Reporter series, “Missed Signals.” The Watchdog Award will be presented at the April 24 Lisagor Awards dinner at the Union League Club.


This year we will also be giving out our Ethics Award – “for doing the right thing” – and Lifetime Achievement Award(s) at the Lisagor Awards banquet. If you’re interested in applying, please contact Beth Konrad at (312) 915-6534 or email her at BKONRAD@luc.edu.


Good luck and happy applying!


Your president,

Dawn Reiss






Burger night is back in February, the first Thursday of the month. This time we’ll have some of your broadcast favorites including: WGN’s News Director Wes Bleed and retired WGN executive Tony Noce.


Wes Bleed is a veteran broadcast journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio and television journalism. Whether behind the mic or in front of the camera, Wes has performed as reporter, anchor and talk show host.


Wes joined WGN Radio in December 1983 as assignment editor, reporter and news anchor. He was named assistant news director in September of 1994 and became news director at the beginning of 2005. He has been a contributing reporter for the ABC Radio Network and hosted Dateline 720, for several years.

Wes has interviewed hundreds of news makers, including Henry Kissinger, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and earned journalism awards for his work, including: Best Newscast from the Radio and Television News Directors’ Association and Best Series from the Associate Press, Illinois.

Tony Noce has worked as a journalist for more than 35-years. Noce started his as an on air radio reporter at several small Illinois stations and began working as a news writer at WGN Radio for Wally Phillips in 1973. In 1980, Noce was promoted to executive producer of the WGN-TV 9 O’Clock news. He left WGN as TV news managing editor after taking the Tribune Co. buyout. He now freelances.



CHC, INBA reaffirm support for arrested videographer; CHC monitors Obama, CTA


By Susan Stevens

Spot News videographer Mike Anzaldi, arrested Oct. 21 at a crime scene, has been cleared of all charges. A judge Dec. 30 dismissed three counts and ruled him innocent of two others.

The Chicago Headline Club and Illinois News Broadcasters Association repeatedly protested Anzaldi’s arrest on charges that he interfered with police and failed to present credentials.

The Headline Club and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Legal Defense Fund each contributed $1,000 toward Anzaldi’s legal bills, which he said were about 10 times higher than our contributions. He plans to seek compensation in civil court.

In the Chicago Police Department’s own regulations, we don’t see a violation. To help all journalists who might encounter a similar situation, we have posted on www.headlineclub.org three documents concerning police rules. We urge every journalist who ever works the streets to study them! CPD plans to revise the rules by February, when new credentials are to be issued, and plan a two-hour meeting with journalists to go over the rules. We plan to update our Web site once the new rules are revealed. We originally objected to the rules because they require fingerprinting of applicants. We still object to that.
We have been monitoring closely the Barack Obama presidential transition team’s relations with the Chicago news media to make certain it is sensitive to hometown media needs. The start was rocky, when NPR was the designated pool reporter for broadcast media and the Wall Street Journal represented print media at a Veterans Day wreath-laying. Since then, we have seen growth in understanding and appointment of local pool reporters. We want to make certain Obama’s public relations people understand that his neighbors in Chicago are going to want to know every factoid – most likely every time he takes the First Dog outdoors – and how he handles the cleanup.
CHC and INBA sent a joint thanks to the CTA, which narrowly avoided what was going to be an Open Meetings Act violation, to let them know the agency is being watched. CTA board almost had a meeting on fare increases without the 48-hour notice required for agenda distribution. Bob Roberts, former CHC president and now INBA FOI chair, spotted the near-violation. We did not get a “your welcome.”
Many thanks to former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson, Chicago Headline Club veteran Bernie Judge and everyone else who participated in our annual First Amendment Forum. Read all about it at www.headlineclub.org.
Our sympathy to the family of public housing activist, journalist and Chicago Headline Club member Beauty Turner. She died Dec. 19 after suffering an aneurysm. She was 51.
She lived in Robert Taylor Homes as a single mother of three for 16 years. She wrote for community newspapers which included the Residents’ Journal and South Street Journal. She also guided “Beauty’s Ghetto Bus Tours” through the South Side.


Member Spotlight: Broadcast news reporter breaks conventional mold
By Jon Seidel


When Tad Hathaway returned to Chicago just a few years ago, not only had he grown frustrated with conventional broadcast news, he didn’t see a future in it.

“It’s not a growth industry,” Hathaway said. “Everyone’s cutting back.”

So Hathaway, 33, decided to create a growth industry of his own. He is now a founder of 312 Media and produces online videos for news outlets such as the Associated Press and Reuters.

“As more news outlets and newspapers want to have video, we can provide that for them,” Hathaway said.

Originally, 312 Media set out to provide local news organizations with experienced videographers and storytellers who could help expand online output. But lately, Hathaway said the work has gone beyond straight news.

“We do sports stuff for the White Sox,” Hathaway said. “Businesses that want to have some cool videos. It really runs the gamut these days.”

Hathaway is a native of San Antonio and moved to Europe with his parents as a teenager. The reputation of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism lured him to Chicago, and he earned his degree there in 1998.

He didn’t settle in Chicago right away. Instead, Hathaway took jobs in Australia, Texas, Indiana and California. He worked as a reporter, anchor, photographer, producer and even as a voice actor.

“You take jobs where they are,” Hathaway said.

But the daily grind of local broadcast news eventually began to wear on Hathaway.

“You don’t have a lot of time to shoot and edit a real quality story,” Hathaway said. “You end up just throwing something on. That was frustrating.”

Meanwhile, in the years since he left Northwestern, technology and the importance of online video changed dramatically. Demand increased, and the necessary production work could happen on relatively affordable equipment.

“We could work for ourselves and, as long as you stayed ahead of the technology, you’ll be OK,” Hathaway said.

Hathaway chose to begin his new venture in Chicago because it was his girlfriend’s home at the time. The two are now married, and Hathaway said 312 Media has been a success. Its work with the Chicago White Sox earned it a nomination from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2007 for “Outstanding New Approaches.”

Now that start-up costs are out of the way and his client base is growing, Hathaway believes he’s at the forefront of an industry with real potential for growth.

“Hopefully, 2009 will be even better,” Hathaway said.


Shameless Gossip
By Bonnie McGrath

It was great seeing our own Abdon Pallasch asking–on behalf of the Sun-Times–one of the initial questions at Barack Obama’s first press conference at the Hilton post-election. Abdon asked about gun control.


Also nice to see our own Ben Bradley, Channel 7 reporter, hosting the station’s show NewsViews and interviewing Roland Burris on the first Sunday morning of 2009.


Congratulations to playwright, writer and reviewer Vicki Quade; her play, Sunday School Cinema was mounted recently at the Chicago History Museum as one of its “Project Sunday” features in conjunction with the Catholic Chicago exhibit.


Sincere condolences to blogger Maria Traska on the sudden death of her dear kitty, Mimi. On a much happier and snappier note, however, Maria completed her gig dj-ing at Fizz on Lincoln Avenue during a recent Swing Night–and did a wonderful job, the swing dancers concurred.