Chicago and the Tragedy of Urban Violence

Guest post by Jennifer Wolan, Community Media Workshop New Media Intern

Ebony refuses to call Chicago “Chi-raq.”

The Johnson Publishing Company, based in Chicago, has had enough of the 508 murders that have taken place in 2012 alone–and they’re taking action.

Despite mainstream media only covering the murders themselves, Ebony claims that “this is not a 140-character problem.” From missing South Side trauma centers, shifting gang populations and survivor stories, the magazine has launched “ENOUGH: Chicago and the Tragedy of Urban Violence” to dig deeper into the collective reasons Chicago’s maddening murder rate has continued since 1974.

As the list updates weekly, Ebony has 32 ENOUGH stories to date. In growing these life-changing articles, the magazine has asked for participants directly affected in violence to share their stories. Stories including education, activism and community are all accepted in order to paint the picture of violence that ultimately spreads throughout the world.

Email Ebony at with “CHICAGO” in the subject line.

Last month, WGN reporter Gaynor Hall reported on the media’s role in covering Chicago violence.

Turning the cameras from the street on to the media, Hall attempted to answer some of the viewers questions, such as: Why are only certain murders covered and not all? Why do some viewers think the coverage has become too depressing to watch?

Hall spoke to journalists, viewers and students; and identified the work some Chicago media is doing in order to report on the violence more effectively. One example she gave was on the hyper local news website, Chicago, who last year launched a series identifying all the homicides in Chicago and have continued it through this year.

Managing editor Shamus Toomey had this to say about the way they report on violence: “We made a decision that we’re not going to try to guess which of these people are important or which of these people are worth writing about- we’re going to cover all of them and sort of let the chips fall where they may.  Tell their stories because they’re interesting stories. And they’re stories that need to be told to sort of paint a picture of what’s going on in Chicago.”

Read the rest of Hall’s story here.



Written by on July 3, 2013

Filed Under: News Coverage


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