April 28, 2014 - once you've had
a look at this site, please move on to
new site: a humble, rapid-fire
April 26, 2014
Before CCM moves
to a new
look at the breaking 'Chicagoland'
At our new site we'll
be talking about the Chicago PR firm Jasculca Terman's role as
intermediary, along with the Mayor's brother Ari Emanuel, in giving the
producers of CNN's Chicagoland TV series inside access to Mayor Emanuel
that led the Tribune's John Kass to write a column today headlined
and Mayor Rahmfather - made for each
gives? A city is only as strong as its leaders?
Tribune says Chicago is only as strong as its
To thrive in this century and beyond, [Chicago] must
harness the greatest of its greatest resources: The innovative ideas, and
fierce loyalty, of its citizens.
- Chicago Tribune, introducing its New Plan
of Chicago, 10/6/13
the Tribune's Bill Ruthhart exposed the CNN/Emanuel in a front-page story,
show Emanuel Aides, producers coordinated CNN 'Chicagoland' series".
selection from the 700 emails Ruthhart got access to makes his expose
At our new site, you'll find more
facts with commentary on the scandal's implications for the Tribune's New
Plan and the Chicago Community Trust's May 12 On The Table event.
A word in parting. We built this old site with a neat but now
extinct freebie HTML editor called PageBreeze. Since the
mid 1990's enabled us to record aspects of Chicago's social/media history
(the two are intertwined) that you will find nowhere else. Some day some
discerning historian will tap this resource for its insights into
Chicago's failure to address the host of systemic problems that the city's
media and its leaders alike have unwisely buried under the misleading
moniker of "youth violence".
Comcast is the "Premier
of the Chicago Community
May 12 On The Table Event
The Chicago Community Trust thanks
sponsors of its May 12 On The Table Event
Quick question: apart from cash support,
what is Comcast doing to help 10,000 "Pull up a chair" and "Plan Chicago's
The Sun-Times Announces
the Chicago Community
"OnTheTable" Event for 10,000
In this February
18 story (print edition page 8), the Sun-Times announced that the
Chicago Community Trust hopes 10,000 Chicagoans will meet in informal
dinner gatherings hosted citywide by Chicagoans on May 12. The purpose?
The CTT Website puts it this way:
Sounds good. Chicagoans now appear to have two outlets - a
daily newspaper and a respected community organization partnering with the
city's other daily newspaper - that are eager to give Chicagoans a voice
in shaping the city's future.
To learn of the Sun-Times partnership with the Trust's On The
Table event, however, readers of the paper's February 18 print edition had
to wade past three pages of a four-page wrap that enveloped the paper
itself. This piece mainly promoted the paper's new "Politics Early and
Often" and "Deep Dish Politics" logos.
The new blue logo you now see next
to every Sun-times politcal story
This logo now marks all Sun-Times political stories. But back
to the four-page wrap: only if readers made it to the bottom of page four
could they see the announcement that someone - it is Jasculca Terman or
the Sun-Times? - is "PROUD TO BE PARTNERING WITH THE CHICAGO
COMMUNITY TRUST" and the ONTHETABLE2014.COM
Here is most of Page 4 of the Feb 18
Sun-Times Wrap discussed above (as much as my scanner could include.) So
what's heppening here?
Who is "proud to be partnering with the
Chicago Community Trust?"
The Sun-Times or its publicity firm,
This is good news, I suppose, but not by much because the
whole announcement is so confusion, so oriented towards promoting Jasculca Termin. How many Chicagoans
have heard of Jasculca Terman? Bottom line, it's a Chicago public affairs
firm with ties to Mayor Emmanuel.
This wrap suggests that an outside entity, Jasculca Terman,
has taken over some of the editorial functions of the paper. One wonders
who paid for it: the paper or the publicity firm. Media critic Robert
that the Sun-Times's Deep Dish coverage will "sharpen" its
"political edge". Perhaps, but this confusing and uninformative wrap did
nothing to enhance the paper's credibility.
To be great news - historic news, news that would initiate a
new era of well monetized and citizen-responsive media in Chicago -
Chicago's two daily papers must agree to drop the mindless pretense that
the other paper doesn't exist. Two entities with ties to both papers could
mediate: the Chicago Community Trust and
Jasculca Terman. Why is unity so important?
Bottom line, Chicago suffers these days from a breakdown of
trust: of public officials, among citizens, and of the city's
media. Chicago will yawn at the sight of their newspapers battling like
feudal warlords to claim credit for empowering citizens. But eyes will
open wide when Chicago's see the Sun-Times and Tribune joining forces in
the public interest.
The Tribune and Sun-Times are now poised to lead the way in
rousing Chicago's media and Chicagoans as well from decades of
media-induced civic lethargy and ignorance. In the process, they these two
papers can boost their circulation numbers: they can tap the huge
potential of the heretofore untapped Market of the Whole
of all members of a community of any size. The best way do so is
for them to join forces in taking market share away from media that don't
see the profit potential of connecting the bottom-up insights of
Chicagoans with the top-down insights of pundits and political
So what would happen then? Here's a revision
I wrote last December:
Good things will begin to happen once the Sun-Times and
Tribune are working with their readers to help plan Chicago's future.
For the first time in Chicago history, the
synergy of Chicago's two daily papers cooperating with each other and
interacting with their readers in the public interest will attract the attention of the very Chicago media that
to date have ignored the Tribune's citizen-participatory New Plan of Chicago.
Expect Chicago Public Radio and Public TV to take notice
first, then AM radio talk shows, community newspapers, and users of
social media like Twitter and Facebook. Then look for mainstream media
to partner with local blogs, tech-savvy community-building groups like
E-Democracy and hyperlocal news and information platforms
SeeClickFix and Comcast's Everyblock.
Bringing this simmering pot to a boil will be the coverage
and, eventually, the active participation of Chicago's local TV evening
newscasts. At this point, the Tribune Corporation will reap its award as
the originator of this planning process, given the communicative
resources of its electronic media: WGN-TV (Channel 9), WGN radio (AM
720) and CLTV (Chicagoland cable news).
At this point, a new, interactive "We Will" spirit will be
born in Chicago, a spirit of forward-looking, inclusive intelligence
that will transform and re-energize the resolute "I Will" spirit
bequeathed to Chicago a century ago by Daniel
But we get ahead of ourselves. The Sun-Times' heavily
veiled February 19 announcement appeared in a 190-word article,
quoted below, on page eight of its print edition. This story
announced the Chicago Community Trust's "On The Table" project to get
10,000 Chicagoans to meet over dinner to talk about Chicago's future:
The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation's oldest
philanthropies, is looking for people who aren't afraid to speak their
minds. Ten thousand people, to be precise. To celebrate the Trust's 99th anniversary, the organization is
hoping to bring together some 10,000 people of all ages and from "all
walks of life", to sit down for a meal on May 12 and to talk about,
well, anything. Actually, the Trust folks hope the conversations
"generate new ideas, inspire bold solutions and cultivate
relationships and collaborations to improve communities
region-wide." [italics mine]
Nice idea. Promising. But one sees no connection here
to the Sun-Times, right? Well, think again. The tip-off, for me, came with
the italicized distinct echoes of the Tribune's citizen-participatory New
Plan language. Yet this language also echoes that of the Chicago Community
Trust (CTT), which is working with both the Tribune and the
Sun-Times on their planning projects.
Before long I found confirmation of the Sun-Times'
connection, via Jasculca Terman, with CTT. This came in the February 19
print edition that ran the above story: actually, in the bluish, four-page
wrap that covered the paper itself. (You've seen these wraps when the
Sun-Times highlights a big Chicago sports story.)
Ar the bottom of page four of this wrap (see above)
you'll see an OnTheTable2014.com URL inviting readers to host
or participate in a May 12 OnTheTable dinner
I promptly signed up at this invitational
Go here to sign up to host or
attend a May 12 On The Table Event
The May 12 gathering I'll host is described here.
Readers interested in the the future of Chicago and its media are invited
Note that my host page is pretty functional; it enables ongoing
host/guest/guest communications before May 12.
More about this event and OnTheTable itself soon. It
sounds like a useful idea. It seems designed to get a jump on the
Tribune's New Plan: OnTheTable's 10,000 diners/talkers versus the
Tribune's 800 proposal submitters.
All told, this February development is another step
forward in what looks like a surprising and perhaps transformative year in
Chicago. That said, the year will be exponentially better once Chicago's
two daily papers start working in tandem.
Your feedback? Ideas? They're most welcome
here. It's awful quiet here, I need to hear from
someone. I gotta replace this shaky old site with an interactive blog
soon. Tweet On The Table at #OnTheTable. Be
well all, change for the good is on the way.
Child Neglect? Why Are Even
Tribune Corp. Media
Ignoring the Tribune's "New Plan of
In Chicago's fiercely
competitive media climate, it's not surprising to see media acting as if
the Tribune's New Plan doesn't exist. As the bottom of this post you can
use my links to see for yourself that no Chicago medium has seen fit to
cover of the newsworthy story of the 800 submissions submitted by Tribune
papers to date.
Yet when one Chicagoan
murders or brutally hurts another ... well, that's
Tribune Corp's Chicago radio (WGN 720 AM) and TV stations (WGN TV Channel
9 and CLTV Cable News) are not covering their newspaper siblung's New
Why the neglect? It's
puzzling, especially given the Tribune's formal commitment to "Give
Chicagoans a voice" in developing a "massive ... all encompassing ...
holistic" New Plan of Chicago. And it's disconcerting because I'm seeing
widespread ignorance, indifference and cynicism towards the New Plan
coming from the fifty Tribune subscribers and civic-minded
Chicagoans I've spoken with about it.
To verify media neglect
of the Tribune's New Plan by ten local media, scroll down to the end of
this post and use the links that I posted on
Nov. 3, 2013. These searches will not connect you to either of
the two stories on the Tribune's New
Plan that I've found since last
This 11 minute interview with Tribune Editorial Board member Kristen
McCreary (and former BEZ staff member) by Tony
Sarabia on WBEZ's Morning Shift in early October, with a promise of
follow up interviews. McCreary says Chicago needs to break out of the
"hamster wheel" of unproductive conversations about violence that
Chicago has had since the early 1990's. (My search of WBEZ's
website gave no link to this
screenshots of search
results for "New Plan of Chicago" perfermed Feb 22 at three Tribune Corp.
Nothing at WGN-TV (Channel 9) as of
Nothing on the Tribune's New Plan at WGN Radio
(AM 720) as of
Nothing on the New Plan at CLTV (Chicagoland TV
cable news) as of
Try Googling Chicago Tribune "new plan of
Chicago". You'll see lots of links, but almost all link to the
Tribune. See below for the Chicago media. Not encouraging. And
for yourself what's being said or not said at these seven mainstream media
a Transformative 2014 in Chicago
Do the math. I'd be very
surprised (and pleased) if either of the two parties on the left-hand
(top) side of the equation have done it. But
combine these two
parties and you have the interplay of two powerful forces for change:
a bottom-up, hyperlocal social-networking platform and an authoritative
top-down mainstream newspaper that's suddenly taken to listening to its
This formula can be
Interactive media = transformative* culture.
Transformative, and, I
would add, transformed. This formula is why the city's future is looking
brighter to me today than at any time in past 50 years. Think about it.
Chicago's bottom-up interactive digital media are steadily advancing into
territory once dominated by top-down print and analog media. This movement
is of enormous significance. It's evolutionary and hence unstoppable; it
has to do with the evolution of technology and with insatiable consumer
demand for interactive devices.
Everyblock and the Tribune's New
Plan aren't linked yet. But in one of two ways they could be
linked by the end of the year:
Expect some members of Chicago's power
structure to see links like these as threats to their system. And expect
others to welcome them as a way out of the fiscal and social mess that
Chicago has gotten itself into in recent decades. Expect a real debate
within the power structure: debates like the one that's given us the
Tribune's New Plan of
haves and have-nots have historically been locked in conflict,
this development raises the possibility and promise of ongoing
constructive have/have-not dialogues about Chicago's future. Sound
unlikely? Bear in mind that recent calls to narrow the income inequality
gap have come from Pope Francis and President Obama. Add to this the "Dickensian"
December 31 Inauguaral
Address by New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who vowed that "the
inequality crisis we face today [will] not define our future." Having won
election by a landslide
49% margin, De Blasio came out
indirect link via a growing "New Plan" network other
Chicago media: public media, Chicago Access TV (CAN TV), community
newspapers, social media, talk radio, CLTV cable news, to name
just a few. Most important, perhaps, will be the numerous Chicago blogs
and sites maintained by individuals and neighborhoods. We'll be reaching
out to all of these media this year.
partnership between Everyblock and the Tribune that gives
Everyblock users and Tribune readers access to each other in a ways that
contribute to the ongoing creation of a New Plan of Chicago.
are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that
threaten to unravel the city we love. And so today, we commit to a new
progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has
written our city's history. It's in our DNA.
your voices heard? Be at the center of this debate? This sounds a little
like the Chicago Tribune challenging Chicagoans to help create its New
Plan of Chicago. Not since the time of Mayor Washington have Chicagoans
heard exhortations like this from their Mayors. That's because Chicago has
no progressive tradition like New York's. Yet Chicago, more than New York,
is a Tale of Two Cities: in fact it's widely recognized as the most
segregated city in the country. In 2009, Columbia College
historian of Apartheid Prexy Nesbitt made the case for Apartheid
But if De Blasio, Pope Francis and President Obama are correct, that gap
that divides Chicagons today is not just racial, it's economic. The
question then arises as to how Mayor Emanuel
respond to it, especially since two of the three calls to narrow it have
come from fellow Democrats: his President and mayoral his counterpart in
2014 should be an
interesting year. It strikes me as critically important for the success of
the Tribune's New Plan of Chicago, to say nothing of Chicago's future, for
the paper to pass the baton to other Chicago media, the Sun-Times in
particular. The first couple pages of our as yet unpublished 3000
word article on the Trib's New Plan explain
Mayor Emanuel may
know it yet, but by this
time next year I suspect he may be listening intently to Chicagoans and
learning from them about youth violence, joblessness and reinventing
Chicago. I can even see this presently most autocratic of mayors joking
about his new-found listening
a century ago, it was Al Smith who waged war on unsafe working
conditions and child labor. It was Franklin Roosevelt and Frances
Perkins who led the charge for the basic bargain of unemployment
insurance and the minimum wage. It was Fiorello La Guardia who enacted
the New Deal on the city level, battled the excesses of Wall Street, and
championed a progressive income tax.
. . .
let me be clear. When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two
Cities, I meant it. And we will do it. I will honor the faith and trust
you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in
our city. We will succeed as One City. We know this won't be easy; It
will require all that we can muster. And it won't be accomplished only
by me; It will be accomplished by all of us - those of us here today,
and millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our
must continue to make your voices heard. You must be at the center of
Today, Moonves says it's
the Internet more than TV that provides transformative media experiences:
experiences like online binge viewing of intense shows like
Breaking Bad, Orange or Game of
Thrones. Transformative also applies to the intense fan
involvement of modern sports programming. The guy on the right in the
photo below - Chicago's own Bill Veeck -
pioneered the concept of fan involvement in baseball and, for a couple
adventurous years, in horseracing (the link is to Tom Hoffarth's
entertaining review of Paul Dickson's terrific 2012 biography of Veeck). Veeck was an
intuitive and analytic genius and a man of action to boot. He cared about
people and just plain loved making them happy. He would be appalled at the
addictive levels of involvement fostered by today's sports programmers and
"So I guess I must be a recovering
Happy New Year!
*A word about the media
buzzword transformative. Hotshot TV execs like Leslie
Moonves of CBS use it to describe the kind of programming they scour the
world for: programs that off "media experiences" (a buzzphrase) that
"change a viewer's life" (another buzzphrase) by moving them to
participate in activities related to the progamming itself. Shows like
American Idol are "transformative" in two ways: they get
audiences to identify powerfully
with contestents and then, on the strength of this emotional connection,
get them to participate by voting for their favorites (up to 60 million
votes per show, sometimes at a dollar per cell phone text vote).
Veeck is shown here with the great Satchell Paige, whose successful major
league career Veeck launched when other team owners had given up on Paige,
at age 41, as hopelessly past his prime. Veeck's right leg was
amputated following an infection sustained as a Marine in World War
CCM Archives 1992-2002