FOR CHICAGO'S MEDIA:
TWO CHAIRS TO EARN TRUST IN CHICAGO
A GAME TO make chicago safe
Think of using the power of TV news to show Chicago's top leaders doing what voters want then to do: TAKING LEADERSHIP TO MAKE CHICAGO SAFE!
TWO CHAIRS brings out the BEST in Chicago's leaders, not the WORST as Chicago's so often see on the evening news.
It's simple. TWO CHAIRS invites and challenges two political enemies to suspend their hostilities long enough to undertake and complete on deadline a SUBSTANTIAL PROJECT of their choosing to make Chicago SAFE.
The leaders set the time needed to complete their project. Usually, eight weeks. If they complete it on time, they both WIN. So does Chicago, If they don't, they are accountable to the public for their failure. If they can't complete their project, they LOSE - and so does Chicago.
So who decides whether they win or lose? The viewers do, by viewer vote, as on reality TV game shows like American Idol. Did the leaders' project actually help make Chicago safe? Was it substantial? Did the leaders cooperate? The viewers decide.
.We call it TWO CHAIRS. Structurally, a typical eight-week TWO CHAIRS season begins with a three-minute segment airing on the evening news. Then com weekly one-minute updates that conclude on week eight with a second three-minute segment., for a total of twelve minutes of air time per season.
Sound impossible? Well it begins tonight on live Chicago TV. Because two city leaders who normally squabble endlessly on the evening news have agreed to suspend their usual hostilities long enough to complete a substantial
PROJECT TO MAKE CHICAGO SAFE.
They will solemnly pledge to complete their project in coming weeks on deadline. During this time, the TWO CHAIRS segment will give regular updates on progress to date towards completion. On the agreed-on deadline date, the leaders will again appear on live TV to celebrate completion. Or, failing that, to account to viewers for their non-noncompletion and request a deadline extension.
Now its time for VIEWERS TO VOTE on the overall success or failure of this TWO CHAIRS segment. Project completed? Both leaders (and Chicago) win big! Rinse and repeat with a NEW pair of feuding city leaders. Not completed? Chicago loses. But keep on pushing! With a NEW pair of feuding leaders. For a SAFE Chicago.
TWO CHAIRS' constantly stated purpose: it's to earn some of the
RESPECT and TRUST
that Chicagoans must have in their leaders and themselves in order for Chicago to make itself SAFE - or even reduce its violence.
A Public Safety Contest and
News Feature for Chicago TV.
Two three-minutes episodes airing six or eight weeks apart
with weekly one-minute updates in between for a total of 12 minutes of air time
First show two chairs. Empty. On a barren, darkened set. With the official seal of the City of Chicago dimly visible, darkened, between the chairs (if not the seal, then the flag of Chicago).
Now show two Chicago leaders taking their seats. Well known for their seniority. But known also for their constant feuding on TV news soundbites. Facing themselves, they introduce themselves by name and title. Then they turn their chairs to face the camera.
Now enter a moderator who warmly thanks both leaders for agreeing to be the first Chicago leaders to “play a game Chicago can’t afford to lose. A game to make Chicago SAFE.”
The moderator explains the game. Like all games, it has winners and losers. But in this game both leaders can win. So can 2.7 million Chicagoans. But ONLY if the leaders make and keep a solemn pledge to complete a significant project to make Chicago SAFE by an agreed-on date. (Already, before they take their seats, the two leaders have created and agreed on a significant project after careful negotiations.)
Next briefly show the moderator pulling up a chair and taking a seat (no desk!!) and asking the leaders how they developed their Chicago SAFE project and how they plan to complete it on deadline.
Now all three stand up and shake hands with the moderator asking the camera, “Will these feuding leaders fulfill their pledge to make Chicago SAFE? Stay tuned for weekly updates and a final Two Chairs segment on [the agreed on date]."
The final episode Two Chairs airs weeks later. Pledge fulfilled? If so, everyone celebrates. If not, options range from extension to failure, depending on how close the leaders came to fulfilling their pledge.
Rinse and repeat. With new feuding leaders. New pledges fulfilled. (Or not. It’s a game!)
Overnight, this three-minute news feature is the talk of the town. Because it’s fresh. Exciting. And it sounds a positive note in Chicago’s strife-torn political discourse.
It also shows Chicago's leaders leading constructively. And (for the first time ever) a it shows a TV station supplementing its reportorial role in covering Chicago's violence with a constructive, facilitating role in Chicago's drive not merely to make itself less violent but to make itself SAFE: possibly the “safest big city in the United States,” as Mayor Lightfoot was saying in 2019 before COVID and George Floyd's murder disrupted the city.
This little game does something big. It helps Chicago turn the corner on violence as follows:
It helps Chicago supplement industrial-age public safety ideas with digital-age ideas
It shows Chicago leaders interacting meaningfully with each other and Chicagoans in Chicago's media.
It lets leaders demonstrate their personal commitment to Chicago's safety
It gives leaders the chance to earn much-needed RESPECT and TRUST from Chicagoans.
And by introducing the idea of a SAFE Chicago, TWO CHAIRS dispels the pernicious Chicago Forever Violent mindset .
for chicago's media:
safety is profitable
For decades sensationalized if-it-bleeds-it-leads crime stories paired with soundbite coverage of political feuds and vitriolics at City Hall profited Chicago's TV stations handsomely. But over time frustrated Chicagoans lost interest.
Chicagoans want safety. They YEARN for it. They would love to see their leaders actually leading on the evening news to make Chicago safe. They would to them earning some of the respect and trust from each other and the people of Chicago without which Chicago will never be safe.
This yearning is wellspring of the largest of all large markets in Chicago: an untapped, citywide MARKET OF THE WHOLE of all Chicagoans (taxpayers included) with a stake in Chicago's safety. It's a market of every man, woman and child in Chicago. Media that tap it effectively - in ways that demonstrably help Chicago make itself SAFE - will profit handsomely. Media that exploit it for profit alone will soon lose their audiences.