Monday, April 28, 2014

The "Chicagoland" TV Series Scandal: How big a blow is it to the "Tribune's New Plan of Chicago" and the Chicago Community Trust's May 12 On The Table Event?

First things first: Welcome to our new online home. Our old home will be maintained as an archive of 20 years of youth-centered, media-related work in Chicago. Most recently, this work includes our coverage of the Tribune's April 25 expose of City Hall's undisclosed ties to CNN's recent "Chicagoland" TV series. Scroll down and you'll find
  • Extensive running coverage of the pros and cons of the Tribune's New Plan of Chicago, launched last October, and the Chicago Community Trust's May 12 On The Table event, launched this past February in the Sun-Times.
  • Coverage of the West Side Drug Area Shutdown Program, a citizen-participatory, police supported effort to permanently close 73 identified public drug dealing areas in Austin's 15th police district. Implemented with The Austin Voice newspaper and other media in the late 1990's. Its success thanks to citizen participation caused the Shutdown Program to be implemented in two adjacent police districts, the 11th and the 25th.
  • Numerous civic media formats designed to make citizens and government, and especially young people and adults, responsive and accountable to each other in building a Chicagoland that works for city and suburban residents alike.
Now for current business. What concerns us is not CNN's "Chicagoland" series or the scandal attending it but their impact on two promising civic projects aimed at giving Chicagoans (at long last) a meaningful role in shaping the city's future:
This impact is harmful. It could prove fatal to both plans, whose success in our view calls for mutual cooperation and support, not the pretense that the other plan doesn't exist. Prior to "Chicagoland" all we saw was this mutual pretense. But what we're seeing now is actual animosity between the two papers: thundering condemnations of the scandal coming from the Tribune and deafening silence from the Sun-Times, which finds itself tainted by the scandal due to the papers all-too-visible visible link with one of the parties involved in it: Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications (JT), a Chicago-based public affairs firm with a thumb, it seems, in every pie, including strong ties to the Chicago Community Trust, the Sun-Times, and Mayor Emanuel.  
"Chicagoland": the real Chicago or an Emanuel puff piece?  

Let's review these ties:

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