March 2009

March Chicago Headline Club Newsletter



Dear Headline Club Members –




Get ready for some laughs and please dig through your closets. We are looking for your old Headline Club photos. (Bonus points go to whomever submits the funniest photo.)


Our Web site is getting a much needed overhaul. We will be launched by mid-March, thanks to the web action team headed by our newest board member, Hilary Sizemore. Sizemore, interactive content manager at Barrington Broadcasting Group, is collecting photos and graphics. (Please see below) We are trying to make the site more user-friendly and the go-to place for journalists in the Chicago area. On the new site you can join a forum, learn about scholarship information, be the first to know about local journalistic events, and more. You can also find out more about the club on our new Twitter and Facebook sites.


We’ve got some blockbuster programs coming up in the next few weeks. Please mark March 5 on your calendars for burger night with The Chicago Reader’s Michael Miner and March 14 for our blockbuster Poynter program that is free to members.



We are also looking for a new treasurer to join our board for next year. If you or someone you know has the financial background to help balance our books, please e-mail me at





Your Chicago Headline Club President,


Dawn Reiss




Poynter comes to Chicago, free for members


Want to know how to protect yourself as a journalist? Learn how to not get sued?

Learn from the Poynter Institute.



The Chicago Headline Club and Loyola University’s School of Communications are brining Poynter’s Robert M. Steele and Al Tompkins for an interactive workshop on protecting yourself in the digital age on ethics issues that could land you in court.



WHEN: 1-4 p.m. Saturday, March 14



WHERE: Beane Hall, on the 13th floor of Loyola’s Lewis Tower, 820 N. Michigan Ave, overlooking Michigan Avenue and the historic Water Tower. (The entrance is to the north, on Pearson Street.)



COST: Free for Headline Club members, $25 for non-members, $5 for students.



Mail checks to the Chicago Headline Club, 333 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2032, Chicago, IL 60601. To charge by phone, call 312-553-0393 during regular business hours.



For more information, contact Beth Konrad, Headline Club vice president/ programs and president-elect, at 312-916-6534 or







Bob Steele is the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values and the Senior Faculty in Ethics at The Poynter Institute. A Poynter faculty member since 1989, he’s taught hundreds of ethics workshops and thousands of journalists and media leaders. He is frequently on the phone or online guiding and coaching journalists and media leaders on real-time ethical dilemmas and leadership challenges.


Co-author of “Doing Ethics in Journalism,” published by The Society of Professional Journalists, Steele has written articles, case studies and handbooks for The American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Radio-Television News Directors Association, and other professional organizations and academic journals.


He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa writing his dissertation on journalism ethics. He also received a M.S. in Television-Radio from Syracuse University and a B.A. in economics from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.



Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s Group Leader for Broadcasting and Online. More than 20,000 people a day read his online journalism story idea column “Al’s Morning Meeting” on Tompkins is the author of the new book, “Aim For The Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters.” He co-authored three editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn.


In his 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer, and news director. He’s the recipient of the The National Emmy, The Peabody Award (group award), The American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, National Headliner Awards and Robert F. Kennedy Award for international reporting.










Come to our next burger night, Thursday, March 5 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Billy Goat Tavern, 430 N. Michigan at Lower Level (map). The Reader’s media critic, Michael Miner, will be our featured guest.


As always the first beer is on the club.









We are in need of graphics and photos for the Web site.


Do you have a great picture of the Chicago skyline at dusk?


Photos of Chicago monuments or architecture?


A local eatery that captures the personality of your neighborhood? If you’d like your photos and graphics to be part of the new CHC Web site, send them to Hilary Sizemore at







Have a Good Investigative Project? Apply for the Watchdog Award …



Have you been digging for the truth? The Watchdog Award, which is helped the through a Richard Driehaus Foundation grant, honors investigative reporting by Chicago-area journalists.



This means in-depth reports on topics like government malfeasance, misuse of taxpayer funds or medical malpractice.



A cash prize of $1,500 will be given to the winner(s) who will be recognized at the Headline Club’s annual Peter Lisagor Awards dinner at the Union League Club on April 24.



Chicago-based reporters and those who work for Chicago media outlets are eligible to enter. Entries must have been broadcast or published in 2008. For more information on how to enter, visit



Deadline is March 16.



The Headline Club also accepts requests for financial help for investigative media projects through the Watchdog Fund, also sponsored by the Driehaus Foundation. See the Web site for specific criteria and application procedures.








… and finally, a call for mentors



The Chicago Headline Club is once again seeking seasoned and experienced Chicago journalism vets willing to serve as mentors to the city’s next generation of news leaders. As we struggle to survive in these significant but trying times, it’s more important than ever to keep Chicago journalism healthy.



The time commitment for mentors and mentees varies in this program. As a participant, you will be connected via e-mail or phone to your mentor or mentee. The path you take from there is yours, with the CHC nearby to help with any bumps in the road.



All qualified mentors are welcome regardless of CHC membership. To be mentored, though, you must be a CHC member.



Ideally, mentors will be matched with journalists who want to take their discussions in similar directions and have expressed an interest in a similar time commitment. In other words, mentors who commit to a once-a-month lunch will be matched with someone who wants the same.



Ultimately, this mentoring program will be whatever you want it to be. We’re just here to make the connection.



Chicagoland’s veteran and up-and-coming journalists can participate in this program by sending a brief bio and contact information, along with a time-commitment preference and area of interest, to Jon Seidel at





Scholarship for unpaid Chicago interns


The Chicago Headline Club is pleased to offer the McAndrew/McClelland scholarship for Summer 2009.


This scholarship will provide $2,500 to defray the living expenses of a collegiate journalist during his or her unpaid summer internship.



Who’s eligible: College students who have secured an unpaid internship for Summer 2009 in a professional newsroom in the Chicago area.





Student must intern with a Chicago-area media organization (print, broadcast or online).

Applicant must be a current college student (no recent graduates).

Internship must be full-time–at least 30 hours a week for at least 8 weeks between May and September 2009.

Internship must be unpaid and student must be able to verify internship.






*SPJ is not responsible for finding student an internship.



To apply:


Please send a resume, 5-6 examples of your work, references, and a cover letter describing why you are interested in becoming a professional journalist to CHC internship coordinator Jane Hirt.


Electronic applications are acceptable and may be sent to


Or mail to:


Jane Hirt


Chicago Tribune


435 N. Michigan Ave


4th floor


Chicago, IL 60611


Applications must be post-marked by April 1, 2009. Questions? E-mail Jane Hirt at








Shameless Gossip


By Bonnie McGrath



Community Media Workshop’s Gordon Mayer was moderator and WTTW’s Sylvia Ewing was a panelist recently at a joint event sponsored by CMW and the League of Chicago Theaters. The subject was “The Incredible Shrinking Media and What it Means For Your Arts Organization.”



The Tribune’s Rick Kogan moderated another “Live at Maxim’s” talk on behalf of the City of Chicago at Maxim’s–the Nancy Goldberg International House; Rick’s guest was Joe Shanahan, founder and owner of Metro Chicago and Smart Bar.






Member Spotlight:


Arab-American paper adapting to 2009


By Jon Seidel


It’s been more than a decade since Amani Ghouleh joined the writing staff of Al-Offok, or The Arab Horizon Newspaper, in suburban Chicago. As an activist, Ghouleh was determined to highlight positive aspects of the area’s Arab-American community and help repair its sometimes-negative image in the United States.



Now Ghouleh is nearing the end of her third year as publisher of Arab Horizon. The monthly bilingual newspaper is based in Burbank and is staffed by two full-time and two part-time journalists. Ghouleh said her goal has been to provide a true reflection of Chicago’s Arab-Americans.



“Things that weren’t published in the mainstream media,” Ghouleh said.



Ghouleh was born in Jordan, raised in Kuwait and moved to Chicago in 1993. As a reporter, she focused on social issues and events sponsored by local organizations, and she launched a column directed toward Arab-American women.



“Nobody’s talking about these issues,” Ghouleh said.



The Arab Horizon took on an especially significant role after Sept. 11, 2001, and it continued to grow. It now distributes 10,000 copies monthly in the metro-Chicago area.



“In the last three years we have tripled our circulation,” Ghouleh said.



Ghouleh said her newspaper wasn’t immune to this country’s floundering economy in 2008, though. Like many mainstream newspapers, Ghouleh said she is considering changes in 2009. She cited the Chicago Tribune’s recent switch to a tabloid-style design as an example.



“We’re going to try different things this year,” Ghouleh said.