April 2009

Dear Chicago Headline Club members:

Happy Spring! Even though it may not feel like it’s warm enough yet, the 32nd Annual Peter Lisagor Awards Banquet for Exemplary Journalism is nearly two weeks away – Friday, April 24. We’ve got a blockbuster line-up this year and tweaked the format.

What’s new? We will present the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the banquet. The recipients are ABC7’s Andy Shaw and Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman. We’ve also added master of ceremonies. Phil Ponce, host of WTTW11’s Chicago Tonight and WBBM Newsradio 780 anchor Felicia Middlebrooks have graciously agreed to the task. In an unprecedented appearance, Don Hayner, editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times and Jane Hirt, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune will share the keynote speakers responsibilities. Richard Cahan, will present the Watchdog Award for investigative reporting.

Please look below for the list of finalists. As always, winners will be announced the night of the banquet. As always, the Lisagor awards are judged out-of-state. This year we traded with seven other Society of Professional Journalism chapters ranging from Fort Worth and Detroit to Connecticut and New Jersey.

Another thing you should know: the food this year is impeccable and we made sure the drink prices are reasonable with most drinks ranging from $5-$8, including the very palatable Camelot red and white wines.

Make sure you buy your tickets soon. You cannot buy tickets the night of the event or a few days before because just like a wedding, we must give a guaranteed head count to the Union League Club a few days prior to the event. Go online and pay with a credit card via Paypal at headlineclub.org or mail a check to Lisagor Awards, 1335 W. Fillmore St., Chicago 60607. Tickets must be purchased by 5 p.m. Monday, April 20.

I hope to see you there!

Your President,

Dawn Reiss




WHEN: Friday, April 20

TIME: 5:30 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. awards and dinner reception

COST: $65 for members, $80 for non-members, $750 for tables of 10

Tickets must be purchased by 5 p.m. Monday, April 20.



WHERE: Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson, Chicago

* Please note the Union League has a strict dress code, so please wear business attire (no gym shoes, denim, T-shirt or collarless shirts.)




D1. Best Deadline Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Staff, The Associated Press, “Illinois Governor Arrest”

Staff, Chicago Sun-Times, “Corruption Crime Spree: the Arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich”

Staff, Chicago Sun-Times, “Guilty: the Tony Rezko Verdict”

D2. Best Deadline Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Staff, Kane County Beacon News, “Fallen Angels”

Ginny Lee and Staff, Daily Herald, “Horror Hits Home”

Weekend Staff, Daily Herald, “Tragedy and Loss”


D3. Best Investigative Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Ben Lando, United Press International, “Shell-Iraq gas company is a monopoly, secret agreement shows”

Dan Mihalopoulos, Robert Becker, Darnell Little, Todd Lighty, Laurie Cohen, Chicago Tribune, “Neighborhoods for Sale”

D4. Best Investigative Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Lori Caldwell and Jon Seidel, Post-Tribune, “The Killing Streets”

Joseph Ryan, Daily Herald, “House Advantage”

Diane Dungey, Jake Griffin, Jameel Naqvi, Jamie Sotonoff, Barry Rozner, Kimberly Pohl, Vincent Pierri, Mike Spellman, Ted Cox, Burt Constable, Daily Herald, “Return to NIU: Return, Remember, Recover”

D5. Best Political and Government Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Mark J. Konkol, Annie Sweeney, Maudlyne Ihejirika and Frank Main,

Chicago Sun-Times, “59 Hours”

Staff, Chicago Tribune, “Governor Under Fire”

Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, “Daley 3.0: The Next Generation of Chicago’s First Family”

D6. Best Political and Government Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Phil Kadner, SouthtownStar, “State Fails Vets’ Needs”

John Patterson and Joseph Ryan, Daily Herald, “Governor’s Arrest”

Marni Pyke and Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, “The CN Merger”

D7. Best Education Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Stephanie Banchero and Patricia Callahan, Chicago Tribune, “The $20,000 Question”

Maudlyne Ihejirika and Annie Sweeney, Chicago Sun-Times, “Four Minutes of Violence at Crane High School”

Rosalind Rossi, Chicago Sun-Times, “Clout Kids”

D8. Best Education Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Angela Caputo, SouthtownStar, “Pay and Perks”

Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, “School District Honored by a Company It Hired”

Catherine Ann Velasco, The Herald News, “Half of Grade Fails”

D9. Best Science, Health, Technology or Environment Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Martha Irvine and Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press, “Staying Young”

Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press, “Risky Autism Study”

Sam Roe and Ted Gregory, Chicago Tribune, “Allergy Threat”

D10. Best Science, Health, Technology or Environmental Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, “A Wing and A Prayer/Rescued and Released”


D11. Best News Column or Commentary, circulation more than 300,000

Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times

John Kass, Chicago Tribune

Carol Marin, Chicago Sun-Times

D12. Best News Column or Commentary, circulation less than 300,000

Denise Crosby, The Beacon News

Kristen McQueary, SouthtownStar

Catherine Ann Velasco, The Herald News

D13. Best Editorial Writing, circulation more than 300,000

Marie Dillon, Chicago Tribune

Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times

John P. McCormick, Chicago Tribune

D14. Best Editorial Writing, circulation less than 300,000

John Lampinen, Daily Herald

Karen Sorensen, SouthtownStar

D15. Best Business or Consumer Reporting, circulation more than 300,000

Don Babwin, The Associated Press, “Scrambling for Food/Meltdown Child Care”

Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Oneal, Chicago Tribune, “Child Hazards”

Susan Chandler, Chicago Tribune, “This House was a Steal”

D16. Best Business or Consumer Reporting, circulation less than 300,000

Staff, Southtown Star, coverage of the fate of St. Francis Hospital

Lisa Miner and Staff, Daily Herald, “Our Uncertain Times”

D17. Best Feature Story, circulation more than 300,000

Melissa Isaacson, Chicago Tribune, “Fade to Black – Something’s Not Right with Mom”

Barbara Mahany, Chicago Tribune, “Lucy’s Mom was There”

Stephanie Zimmermann, Chicago Sun-Times, “Saving Troy”

D18. Best Feature Story, circulation less than 300,000

Kerry Lester, Daily Herald, “50 Years Later: Our Lady of the Angels”

Donna Vickroy, SouthtownStar, “Settimio’s Diary”

Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald, “Unfit or Unjust?”

D19. Best Arts Reporting and Criticism, circulation more than 300,000

Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune, “A gallery of rogues”

D20. Best Arts Reporting and Criticism, circulation less than 300,000

Ted Cox, Daily Herald, “Edgy Stuff: George Carlin Remembered”

Dann Gire, Daily Herald, “A Reluctant Icon: Paul Newman”


D21. Best Sports Story, circulation more than 300,000

Brian Hamilton, Chicago Tribune, “Luke Harangody is not the best player in college basketball”

David Haugh, Chicago Tribune, “2 Bad Centuries in a Row?”

Jim O’Donnell, Chicago Sun-Times, “1 in an Arlington Million”

D22. Best Sports Story, circulation less than 300,000

Bruce Miles, Daily Herald, “Quite a Hit”

Jim Owczarski, Aurora Beacon News, “Fighting The Good Fight”

Tim Sassone, Daily Herald, “Right Where They Belong”

D23. Best Sports Commentary, circulation more than 300,000

Greg Couch, Chicago Sun-Times

David Haugh, Chicago Tribune

Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune

D24. Best Sports Commentary, circulation less than 300,000

Tony Baranek, Southtown Star

Mark Lazerus, Post-Tribune

Jim Owczarski, Aurora Beacon News

D25. Best News Photo, circulation more than 300,000

Charles Rex Arbogast and M. Spencer Green, The Associated Press, “The Obama Campaign: In Pursuit of the Presidency”

M. Spencer Green, The Associated Press, “Nervous Governor”

John H. White, Chicago Sun-Times, “Blagojevich and the Rat”

D26. Best News Photo, circulation less than 300,000

Mark Welsh, Daily Herald, “Mother’s Day Tears”

Matthew Grotto, SouthtownStar, “Memorial”

Joseph P. Meier, SouthtownStar, “Soldier Funeral”

D27. Best Feature Photo, circulation more than 300,000

Charles Rex Arbogast, The Associated Press, “Faces in the Crowd – The Obama Campaign”

D28. Best Feature Photo, circulation less than 300,000

Matt Marton, SouthtownStar, “Hope Gifts”

Joseph P. Meier, SouthtownStar, “A Close Cut”

Brett Roseman, SouthtownStar, “Reflections of Service”

D29. Best Sports Photo, circulation more than 300,000

Charles Rex Arbogast, The Associated Press, “Must – Wait Until Next Year”

Tom Cruze, Chicago Sun-Times, “One Day with the Cubs and Sox”


D30. Best Sports Photo, circulation less than 300,000

Joseph Meier, SouthtownStar, “Cutting the Nets”

Brett Roseman, SouthtownStar, “Home Plate Obstruction”

Rick West, Daily Herald, “We Believe”

D31. Best Design, circulation more than 300,000

James Smith, Chicago Sun-Times

Eric White, Chicago Sun-Times

D32. Best Design, circulation less than 300,000

Chad Merda, SouthtownStar

Sandy Sempowicz, SouthtownStar

Scott Helmchen, Northwest Herald

D34. Best Graphics, circulation less than 300,000

Tim Broderick, Daily Herald


N1. Best In-depth Reporting in a General-Interest Publication

Kathy Chaney, Chicago Defender, “Gang Wars Make South Side city’s deadliest”

Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, “Apparently Money Does Grow on Trees”

Jessica Pupovac, In These Times, “Silenced in the Barracks”

N2. Best In-depth Reporting in a Community Newspaper

Ben Myers, Chicago Journal-Skyline, “Hospital Closing Shuns Mothers”

Pauline Dubkin Yearwood, Chicago Jewish News, “Obama and the Jews”

N3. Best In-depth Reporting in a Business Magazine or Newspaper

Andrea Hanis, Crystal Yednak and staff, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Residential Real Estate: The Emotion Factor”

Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Olympic Lure in Harbor Deal”

Staff, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Markets in Crisis”

N4. Best In-depth Reporting in a Magazine or Magazine Section

Anne Kavanagh, Chicago magazine, “Trauma Queen”

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Kelly Virella, Kari Lydersen, The Chicago Reporter, “Chicago Matters: Growing Forward”

Jessica Reaves, Chicago Tribune Magazine, “Inheritance of Loss”

N5. Best News Column or Commentary

Bonnie McGrath, Chicago Journal, “South Loop Citizens Mean Business”

Michael Miner, Chicago Reader, “The Greater of Two Evils”


N6. Best Editorial Writing

Barry B. Burr, Pensions & Investments, “A Needless Risk”

Ben Myers, Chicago Journal-Skyline, Series on Lincoln Park Hospital Closing

Stephanie Stapleton, American Medical News, “Vigilance Key to Fighting Foodborne Illness,” “The Case for Persistence” and “A Green Approach to Public Health”

N7. Best Business Reporting

Lynda Edwards, ABA Journal, “The Curious Case of Alex Latifi”

Michael Lenehan, Chicago magazine, “Hello, Beautiful”

Kelly Virella, The Chicago Reporter, “A Renter’s Nightmare”

N8. Best Feature Story

Lynda Edwards, ABA Journal, “The Forgotten”

Hillel Levin, Playboy, “The Strange Redemption of James Keene”

Don Terry, Chicago Tribune Magazine, “Six Blocks of Separation

N9. Best Arts Reporting and Criticism

Brent DiCrescenzo, Areif Sless-Kitain and John Dugan, Time Out, Lollapalooza package

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune magazine, “Comeback Kid”

Josh Schollmeyer, Chicago magazine, “Bagging the Media Queen”

N10. Best Sports Story

Jeff Ruby, Chicago magazine, “Playing the Fields”

Bryan Smith, Chicago magazine, “The Breakaway”

Rick Telander, Men’s Journal, “Brotherhood of the Offensive Line”

N11. Best Photography

Stephen J. Serio, Crain’s Chicago Business, “40 under 40”

Golda Shira, Chicago Jewish News, “Eyewitness to History”

Erik Unger, Crain’s Chicago Business, “Journey to Java”

N12. Best Design

Stephanie Gladney, Time Out Chicago

Jason McGregor, Crain’s Chicago Business

Melissa Phee, Crain’s Chicago Business

N13. Best Graphics

Eric Semelroth, Modern Healthcare


R1. Best Breaking News Story

Steve Grzanick, Bob Roberts, Mary Frances Bragiel and Staff, WBBM Newsradio 780, “NIU Shootings”

Nancy Harty, Steve Miller and Staff, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Lane Bryant Shooting”

Staff, WGN-AM, “Terror on Campus”

R2. Best In-Depth News Story or Series

Steve Bertrand, WGN-AM, “Changing the Odds”

Steve Grzanich, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Chicago 1968 – The Whole World Was Watching”

David Schaper, National Public Radio, “Gov. Blagojevich Arrested”

R3. Best Investigative Reporting

Linda Paul and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Addolfo’s Story”

R4. Best Newscast

Steve Grzanich, Keith Johnson, Leon Coluin and Staff, WBBM Newsradio 780, The 4 p.m. Newscast (May 21; Nov. 4; Dec. 9, 2008)

R5. Best Feature Reporting

Ben Calhoun and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Hugs”

Lynette Kalsnes and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio. “Unusual Camp Brings Comfort and Fun to Grieving Children”

Reed Pence and Sean Waldron, Radio Health Journal, “Radio Health Journal: Perinatal Hospice”

R6. Best Public Affairs Reporting

John Conroy, Ben Calhoun and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Alton Logan”

Staff, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, 2008 General Election Coverage

Staff, WFMT, “Studs Terkel: Montage of a Life”

R7. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Cheryl Corley, National Public Radio, “Credit Crunch Hits Student Loan Industry”

Ashley Gross and Adriene Hill, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Bankrupt Builder”

R8. Best Health or Science Reporting

Steve Miller, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Bypass”

David Schaper, National Public Radio, “Recycling Energy”

Gabriel Spitzer and Cate Cahan, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Parkinson’s Patients Cut a Rug”

R9. Best Sports Story

Jeff Joniak, WBBM Newsradio 780, “Joniak’s Journal/Anthony Adams”

Lynette Kalsnes, WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, “Roller Skating”


T1. Best Breaking News Story

Isis Chaverri, Maria de Lourdes Garcia and Aleksander Banks, Univision Chicago WGBO, Flood coverage


T2. Best In-depth News Story or Series

Jackie Bange, Nelson Howard and Rick Strasser, WGN-TV, “Looking for Justice”

Mark Saxenmeyer, David Tresnowski and Timothy P. Smith, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Pet Rescue Inc.”

Paula Gomez, Isis Chaverri and Jessica Fernandez, Univision Chicago WGBO, “Quest of a Family Seeking Justice”

T3. Best Investigative Reporting

Mark Saxenmeyer, Dartise Johnson and Lou Hinkhouse, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Where Did All the CHA Residents Go?”

Paula Gomez, Sonia Garcia and Erika Maldonado, Univision Chicago WGBO, “Dr. Scam”

T5. Best Feature Reporting

Steve Sanders, Pam Grimes and Mike D’Angelo, WGN-TV, “Prodigy”

Mark Saxenmeyer, Kevin Tomich and Juan Ramirez, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Through the Lens of Loss”

Kim Vartis, NBC 5, “The New Reality”

T6. Best Public Affairs Programming

Daniel Andries and Alexandra Silets, WTTW11, “Out and Proud in Chicago”

Mark Saxenmeyer, Lou Hinkhouse and Dartise Johnson, WFLD Fox Chicago, “Policing the Reserves”

T7. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Pam Grimes, Sean Maroney and Manny Medina, “Buy an Interview,” WGN-TV

Mark Saxenmeyer, Rod Stanbeck and Dartise Johnson, WFLD Fox Chicago,

“Stolen Houses”

T8. Best Health or Science Reporting

Julianne Hill, Sharon Barrett and Carmen Jones, CNBC, “American Greed – Diluted Trust”

Nesita Kwan and Robert Ray, NBC 5, “Gut Check”

Kevin Roy and Stephen J. Lewis, WLS-TV/ABC7, “Surviving Suicide”

T9. Best Sports Story

Pam Grimes and Mike D’Angelo, WGN-TV, “Little Sluggers”

Daryl Hawks, NBC 5, “A Fan’s Dream”

T10. Best Videographer

Mark Carlson, The Associated Press, “8 Days of Ike”

Patrick Keating, WLS-TV/ABC7, “Bench, Break, Buzz!”



AM2. Editorial cartoon

Marty Bach, Chicago Tribune

Roger L. Schillerstrom, Crain’s Chicago Business

Marc Stopeck, Wednesday Journal


S2. Best In-depth Report or Series

Sarah Karp and John Myers, Catalyst Chicago, “Class of 2011”

John Myers and Sarah Karp, Catalyst Chicago, “Weighing the Options”

Christine Stebbins, Reuters, “Grain users demand actions on CBOT prices”

S3. Best Commentary

John Wasik, Bloomberg News, “No, Virginia”

S4. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Ben Klayman, Reuters, “Sports attendance up, hot dog spending down”

Christine Stebbins, Reuters, “CBOT grain trade swept by winds of change”

Jeff Wilson, Shruti Singh, Brian Louis and Mario Parker, Bloomberg News, “Crop Crash”

S5. Best Feature Story

Terry Carter, ABA Journal, “The G-Man”

Victoria Stagg Elliott, American Medical News, “Rebuilding Body & Spirit”

John Lippert, Bloomberg News, “Penny Pritzker Shows Why She Got Buffett to Aid Obama”


X1. Best Interactive Project

Stephen Rynkiewicz and Darnell Little, chicagotribune.com, “Chicago Homes Heat Maps”

Brian Hill and Staff, dailyherald.com, “Return, Remember, Recover”

Matt Carmichael, Michelle L. Evans, Jeff Hartvigsen, chicagobusiness.com, “Market Facts”

X2. Best News Web Site

Kirsten Miller, Online Staff and Newsroom Staff, suntimes.com

Staff, chicagotribune.com

Staff, NWHerald.com

X3. Best Online Commentary

Roger Ebert, suntimes.com, “Roger Ebert’s Journal”

Dawn Turner Trice, chicagotribune.com, “Exploring Race”

Staff, chicagopublicradio.org, 2008 political convention coverage


X4. Best Neighborhood/Community News

Theresa Carter, thelocaltourist.com

Staff, chitowndailynews.org

X5. Best Feature Story

Bob Cook, nbcsports.com, “Goats, Curses and 100 Years of Cubs Angst”

Danielle Guerra, NWHerald.com, “Jeff’s Last Delivery”

Rex Huppke and staff, chicagotribune.com, “Our Lady of the Angels: The Fire that Changed Everything”

X6. Best Business or Consumer Reporting

Steve Daniels and David Sterrett, chicagobusiness.com, “Deloitte Partner Accused of Insider Trading” and “Buffett a Client of Accused Deloitte Partner”

Alby Gallun and Thomas A. Corfman, ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com, “Trump Sues Lenders for More Time to Pay Off on Tower”

Stephanie Zimmermann, suntimes.com, “The Fixer”

X7. Best Original Political Reporting

Steven Gray, time.com, Campaign 2008

Natasha Korecki, suntimes.com, “Eye on Rezko” blog

Staff, chicagotribune.com, “Clout Street”

X8. Best Investigative/Public Service Reporting

Erica Christoffer and Becky Schlikerman, ChicagoTalks.org and The Beachwood Reporter, “Out of Order” and “Off the Record”

Greg Scott, Aurora Aguilar and Joe DeCeault, chicagopublicradio.org, “The Brickyard”

CPD Credentials Extended

by Susan S. Stevens

The Chicago Headline Club and Illinois News Broadcasters Association have not been able to satisfactorily resolve issues about Chicago Police credentials regulations despite repeated efforts since the arrest of a spot-news videographer, who was freed from charges he illegally crossed police lines.

However, we are still trying. We received word that Roderick Drew, a former spokesman for Mayor Richard M. Daley, March 25 became the new CPD director of news affairs. His predecessor went to the Chicago Public Schools. Police officials have said the transition has delayed an internal review of the credentials rules, a review which we offer to help with.

And on March 27, CPD sent a memo advising that the expiration date for press credentials and vehicle placards has been extended until Sept. 30. A similar delay occurred in 2002, when CPD switched to the current system.

Making Media Connections Conference

Tues. June 9th – Thurs. June 11

Columbia College Chicago Film Row Cinema

1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Headline Club is a partner in the MMC 09 conference. Join community leaders, nonprofit communicators and board members, mainstream and independent journalists, publishers, media experts and the general public to discuss getting our communities’ important stories told.

Come ready to sharpen your media relations and communications skills at workshops and panel discussions lead by the nation’s top media relations experts.

Learn more and register at http://www.communitymediaworkshop.org/mmc09


SPJ will be hosting a Narrative Writing Workshop in Chicago on Saturday, May 2. The workshop, led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Hallman Jr. of the Oregonian, shows journalists how to move beyond the inverted pyramid-style of writing to the art of storytelling.

The program will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Student Center East, Room 302, University of Illinois at Chicago. SPJ members may attend for $60. The registration fee includes continental breakfast and lunch. A $20 late fee shall apply for applications received after April 17.

For complete details or to register, visit SPJ’s Narrative Writing Workshop page or contact me at 317-927-8000 ext. 204 or hporter@spj.org.

Burger Night

The Last Burger Night of the Season is Thursday, May 7. Join us between 5:30-7:30 p.m. Come and go as you please. As always this is an informal event. Come and go as you please. First beer is on the club.

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 chcmentors@gmail.com.

Shameless Gossip

by Bonnie McGrath

Congratulations to Chicago Media Workshop’s Thom Clark; he was recently honored with a 2009 Studs Terkel Community Media Award for outstanding media professionals–for excellence in covering and reflecting Chicago’s diverse communities.

And congratulations also to the Illinois State Bar Association’s ISBA News editor Steve Anderson, who was recently honored by the Chicago Chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity–for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession.

Once again, the Tribune’s Rick Kogan will be hosting “Live at Maxim’s” on behalf of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Rick will interview Bob Sirott, Nan Mason and a person to be named later April 22, May 20 and June 24 respectively.

Columnist/blogger Esther Cepeda participated on a DePaul University media panel recently dealing with covering people of color in the halls of power and at the grassroots.

Media maven Ray Hanania continues to put out his online newsletter and do his radio show, comedy show, personal appearances, book selling, etc., etc. He is signed up to do “Arab Chicago” tours in May for Chicago’s Faces and Places weekend, as well as for private institutions and organizations.

Writer and editor Laura Putre is leaving Chicago with her family to return to her home in Cleveland. The CHC board will miss her!

Columbia College’s Barb Iverson has been quite busy lately. She is making media appearances galore discussing the future of journalism–including guesting on CMW Thom Clark’s “City Voices” radio program. Barb also participated on a Chicago Journalism Review panel recently, and attended WeMedia’s annual confab in Miami. She also does a blog–currentbuzz.org.


Barb also weighed in with a thoughtful post after the groundbreaking journalism town hall meeting in Chicago recently, as did many other CHC members–who blogged and re-blogged–including writers/bloggers Sally Duros (who also blogged about it on Huffington Post), Steve Rhodes, CHC prez Dawn Reiss, Columbia’s Nancy Day, WBEZ’s Linda Lutton and CMW’s Gordon Mayer. Iverson, Clark and former Sun-Times media critic Robert Feder were on the initial town hall panel.


Last but not least, photojournalist and AWJ prez Karen Kring did a great job alerting us all to the many wonderful posts that resulted from this forum–putting out a wonderful compilation on the AWJ listserv. Karen also did a great job of promoting many AWJ members who attended the CHC blockbuster Poynter ethics program recently.

Past CHC prez Kristen McQueary, political writer for the Daily Southtown was a great guest on Chicago Week in Review recently–and was a media hit!

Fuzz Hogan, formerly head of the CNN Chicago Bureau, has become communications director at Advance Illinois, a new statewide policy advocacy organization.

Award-winning journalist Linda Lutton has returned with her family from a stint living in Mexico. She is back in her house in Pilsen, and working as the education reporter for WBEZ. Her artist husband, Hector Duarte has a mural show right now at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. Welcome back!

Abdon Pallasch represented the Sun-Times at a recent Chicago Bar Association seminar sponsored by the Alliance for Women Committee. It was called “What Every Lawyer Should Know About the Media.”

Chicago Media Workshop’s Thom Clark and Gordon Mayer shared their insights recently in a five-part series about how to prosper in the new year with professional media relations.

Tribune managing editor Jane Hirt gave a very thought-provoking speech to an overflow crowd at Channel 7 a few weeks ago where she was the annual meeting speaker for the Association for Women Journalists. Many CHC members were in attendance including (but not limited to) Shameless, Sally Duros, Sally Eisele, Nancy Day, Linda Lenz, Maria Traska, Michelle Stevens, Dawn Reiss and Karen Kring. Note: if you aren’t listed and you are member of CHC, let me know and I will include another list next time. There was such a crowd, it was hard to see everyone!

Columnist and Blogger Esther Cepeda was on a panel of journalists at the Chicago History Museum recently, which was discussing experiences through the years covering now President Barack Obama, as well as seeing him being covered during his ascendancy.

Columbia College’s journalism maven Len Strazewski celebrated his birthday with a group of friends recently (including Shameless) at the Morseland in Rogers Park.

Journalist, blogger and radio personality (and stand up comedian) Ray Hanania has been busy lately–and not only with his writing, blogging and broadcasting. He did a feature on stuffed grape leaves for the book, “The Foods of Chicago, A Delicious History,” and he also is speaking about the power of comedy in conflict situations (as well as Chicago politics, national politics and the Middle East) and spoke recently at Reavis High School. Additionally he is selling (and giving some even free) books he has written such as “Growing Up Arab in America” and his Arab American Media Directory online at www.themediaoasis.com.

News about yourself? Please email to BonnieMcGrath@bonmcgrath@aol.com

Columnist begins life after ‘Letter’

By Eli Kaberon

It seems strange that somebody raised in southern Minnesota and educated in Wisconsin would move to the Windy City and write a column called Letter from Chicago. It’s kind of unusual that a student who majored in English would wind up traveling multiple times to Europe and on one occasion, dreaming in Spanish. And it’s really bizarre that an introduction to newspaper writing would occur by meeting a colleague’s brother-in-law. Yet that’s the road that former romance and travel columnist and current book publisher Jacquée Thomas traveled to get to her position today.

Starting off as a freelance writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, Thomas was introduced by a friend to the friend’s brother-in-law. That man was Len Small, the CEO of the Small Newspaper Group. The Group, which runs many local newspapers in the area including the “The Daily Journal” in Kankakee and “The Times” based in Ottawa, as well as papers in Streator, Rock Island and Moline, Ill., was in need of a columnist. Thomas, due to her inside connection with the Small family and her previous writing experience at the Sun-Times, got the job; that’s when Letter From Chicago began.

“My columns talked about all sorts of Chicago subjects,” Thomas said. “There was one about the history of the Drake Hotel, a profile on rats in the city, around Halloween the subject was often Chicago ghost lore, there was even one on where people could go play Mrs. Pac Man.”

Letter from Chicago started out as a semiweekly column, then evolved to a weekly column with a corresponding weblog from 2001 through 2008. But that was not the extent of Thomas’ work. She also wrote extensively on two of her favorite subjects: romance and travel. Thomas said that both topics became part of her everyday life.

“What you learn from traveling and being in other lands can just be inspiring,” said Thomas, recalling one of several overseas trips she took. “I was in Europe for two weeks and came home dreaming in Spanish.

“As a writer all my life, I realized I lived life romantically, and that spilled into my voice. Part of being a journalist is talking to different people, and I realized that both women and men were interested in what I was writing about the subject of romance.”

In December 2008, the Small Newspaper Group Thomas decided to close the Letter From Chicago column due to budget cutbacks. Thomas took the opportunity to leave the newspaper industry and focus on book publishing, starting her own company named Detour Productions, along with a website, www.jacquee-t.com. Having already written one book, A Poet’s Moon, a novel released in 2002, Thomas is now working on her second work, which is due out by the end of 2009. She said she greatly enjoyed her work in the newspaper business, but felt it was time to progress her career.

“I was ready to move on, and with the problems newspapers are facing right now, it was time to make the transition,” Thomas said.

“I loved writing about Chicago, and loved most hearing back from readers. Though I don’t miss the weekly deadlines of being a columnist.”

Eli Kaberon is a journalism student at Columbia College and can be reached at ekaberon@yahoo.com


By Melissa Benson and Kristen Thometz

Poynter Institute’s Bob Steele and Al Tompkins led a discussion on ethics in a Chicago Headline Club and Society of Professional Journalists sponsored event titled “Ethical Journalism in a Digital World.” The event occurred on Saturday, March 14, 2009 at Loyola University Chicago before an audience of nearly 150 people. The discussion involved journalists from all areas within the field of journalism from Chicago.

“Ethics is at the core of what’s going on right now,” said Tompkins. Since ethics is a central part of everyday life, Tompkins and Steele promoted an open discussion about ethics rather than lecture in order to better inform the audience of how to handle an ethical dilemma.

“Programs like this are more important than ever,” Dawn Reiss, president of the Chicago Headline Club, said. Media outlets are not having these types of discussions because of budget cuts and lay offs, according to Reiss.

Steele and Tompkins’ goal was for audience members to have an “ah ha”moment by the conclusion of the event. An “ah ha” moment was described by Steele as a moment in which one learns how to approach an ethical dilemma in a way that he wouldn’t have come to on his own.

“We wanted people to leave asking better questions, to develop protocols for how they think about editing, using online information, enabling public comments and so on,” Tompkins said.

“It’s never a bad time to check your ethics,” Society of Professional Journalists member and junior at Loyola John Dickow said.

Steele and Tompkins led the discussion by presenting the audience with examples of ethical dilemmas one may encounter and encouraged the audience to participate by “pushing back on one another.”

“I think we have to focus on particular ethical issues presented by new technology,” Don Wycliff, former public editor of the Chicago Tribune, said.

The emergence of the Internet has led to a number of ethical dilemmas for journalists.

Tompkins questioned whether journalists are willing to have a different set of standards online than in a legacy newsroom.

The audience was divided about this: some members believed the rules should be the same, others believed it should be stricter, and some believed it should be more relaxed than a legacy newsroom.

“Web articles shouldn’t be second rate,” Reiss said. “They should be comparable or better to a traditional newsroom.”

“I think there are standards for what goes online,” Don Heider, Dean of Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication, said. Different stories might be chosen for online versions of publications, “but I’m not sure that their putting schlock up on the website.”

An ethical dilemma that arose from the discussion about online standards was the use of Medical Marvels on ABC’s Web site.

“Why does it belong on a major network Web site?” Tompkins questioned. He wondered aloud the purpose of this feature because it was a combination facts and pictures instead of a story.

Dean Heider responded by saying that newspapers have run jumbles, crosswords, comics, and horoscopes, which have no journalistic purpose. It is that “uncomfortable balance of entertaining people and giving them good solid information,” that has plagued journalism for years. “I think the Internet is the new version of that age old problem,” Heider said.

The event examined ethical dilemmas presented by social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Steele described Twitter as very legitimate tool for journalists if used correctly.

Tompkins and Steele gave an example of how a journalist used Twitter at a funeral. A majority of audience members stated they found this very disrespectful.

“Just because we have this medium doesn’t mean we have to use it at every moment,” Reiss said.

Steele and Tompkins also presented the audience with ethical dilemmas concerning the use of Google maps, public comments on news organization’s Web sites, and the use of video and audio editing online.

“It really opened my eyes to a lot of ethical issues going on in the media,” Society of Professional Journalists member and junior at Loyola Catherine Kessler said. The event “really touched upon ethics [that] I think have been ignored and are really important.”

“I’m a journalist so I walked away knowing that this is something I can use in my everyday life and hopefully other people did too,” Reiss said.

Benson and Thometz are journalism students at Loyola University. They can be reached at mbenso1@luc.edu and kthometz@luc.edu.