About Chicago Civic Media
We're a media group. Small. With big ideas. Working mostly in Chicago and mostly for the fun of it. And the utility. Since the late 1980's. Our old CCM website archives our work. We toss out ideas for others to refine and deploy as they see fit. Sometimes we've partnered with Chicago media. See here. And here. And here.
We're of the past, in the present, for Chicago's future. We look to the day when Chicago's media are showing the rest of America's mainstream media how to make good money using their digital-age resources to help America depolarize its politics with issue-centered, citizen-participatory public forums. All this so democracy can work in a digital age.
We think it's amazing, even astounding, that no one in this great, supposedly democratic nation of ours is even talking these days about using the miracle of modern communications technologies to create media-based level playing fields where Americans and their elected leaders can address and resolve big issues like immigration, health care and public safety. (Not to mention the matter of legitimate vs stolen elections.) We don't like saying it, but be have to:
Chicago's media will not be able to do anything to help America depolarize its politics, however, until they have figured out how to use their resources - profitably - to make Chicago SAFE.
And this can happen much sooner and easier than you might think. All that's needed is a single hit TV show. How so? Think of a Chicago Bears game. And think of how the rest of Chicago's media - newspapers, radio shows, digital and social media - pick up on that game. How they complement and critique it in loving detail. And the result is an informal, self-assembled media network that fuels the pride that so many Chicagoans take in the city. The same holds true for the televised contests and seasons of the city's beloved Cubs, Sox, Fire, Bulls and Hawks. Bottom line: Chicagoans love games.
And if you've had a chance to look at the Two Chairs
TV news segment we're proposing here, you'll recall that
Yes indeed. It's a game to complement and strengthen the great voter-driven game of democracy. It's a digital age way of doing politics. And it's only the beginning. The Two Chairs game proposed here pairs two feuding Chicago leaders to do something substantial, with input from Chicagoans, to make Chicago SAFE. But future Chicago SAFE games will go farther. They will pit small teams of gifted Chicago problem-solvers of all ages and backgrounds in season-long contests to select best solutions and best teams in voter-driven TV programs that are civic-purposed versions of voter-driven reality TV programs.
I'm Steve Sewall, Ph.D., a longtime Chicago educator, CM's creator and a transplant to Chicago from the East Coast via a teaching position (in English) at Northwestern University. In 1980 I founded and for six years directed The Thomas Jefferson Academy, an independent elementary school for 80 students located several blocks north of Wrigley Field.
Over the years CCM has benefitted from the thinking and support of so many people: CPS Interim Superintendent Charles Almo, CPS Superintendent Manford Byrd Jr, Archdiocese Superintendent Mary J Herrick, Charles Price, Gordon Berry, Noam Chomsky, William F. Buckley, Brad Cummings, Dennis Byrne, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago historian and author Kenan Heise, Professor Richard Halverson, Senator Dick Durban, former CPS Board Member Martha Jantho, Past Illinois Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, Ronald Damholt, Harvard Sociology Professor Felton Earls, my gifted nephew Ethan Sewall, Celia Berdes, the 2009 ChicagoWRKS team of six dedicated volunteers plus the invaluable contributions of over a hundred Chicago high school students over the years including Robert "Deacon" Beck, and poet Shannon Phillips. More recently, Chicago entrepreneur Stuart Rothstein has torn apart everything I write so I could put it back together again in ways that hopefully get across to you people.
Again, CCM projects are all archived at our old Google Classic CCM website, along with my CV. Be forewarned, this site is a little like your grandparents' attic, with all kinds of stuff, some useful, some not. But at least they are chronologically organized.
America's head, like Chicago's, is stuck in the sand of polarizing, counterproductive (and now outright destructive) industrial-age uses of digital-age communications technologies.