Who Among US Can Tell Chicago’s Story?


from MSNBC series on gun violence in Chicago

photo by Craig Duff

Police cars, howling sirens, weeping friends and family and the yellow police tape that marks another  tragedy.

We’ve seen and witnessed these scenarios in the news media and live, unfortunately.

Too many times.

So what do we want from them today?

We want context: what it means?

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If you watch “Chicago Love,” this Wednesday, Nov. 19th at 9 pm on Revolt TV, you will see all of these scenes.  But you will also hear folks from Chicago’s most troubled communities tell two stories. One is about the losses and deficits they suffer – deficits that feed the mayhem that feeds the violence that feeds the communities’ isolation and despair. The other are the words of hope about what is being done and what more needs to be done to erase the mayhem that stains some Chicago communities.

Revolt TV is a cable TV station owned by Sean “Diddy” Combs in partnership with Comcast. Here’s a link to a trailer for the documentary:


The documentary was created by Revolt TV whose goal, as I recall from a South Side meeting several months ago with the folks from Revolt TV, is to let the folks from Chicago’s violence-troubled communities tell their stories.

Which segues into the question about who tells Chicago’s story?

Is the story about Chicago’s black and Latino and immigrant communities, the story you get from the news media?

And what about journalists from these communities, how do they fit into this story-telling?

We’ll be talking about that at a forum – “CanWhite Newsrooms Tell Chicago’s Story” on Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 pm at room 219, 33 East Congress. Columbia College.

The panelists are Niala Boohoo of WBEZ, Adrienne Samuels of the Chicago Sun-Times, Darryl Holliday of DnaInfo Chicago, Teresa Puente of Columbia College and Alejandro Escalona of Telemundo.

Besides the Community Media Workshop, the event is sponsored by the NABJ-Chicago and the Newspaper Guild of the Communications Workers of America.

Talking about reporting that goes beyond stereotypes, CBSChicago Web Produce Mason Johnson recently provided an insightful look at the pattern of homicides across Chicago. Examining homicides in the communities that have had the highest numbers of murders, he found that the numbers have gone up. Overall, Chicago’s homicides have gone down, but not, as he points out, in these communities.

He writes:

Looking at the 10 neighborhoods with the most homicides, only three had fewer murders in 2013 than they did in 2012: Austin, West Garfield Park and Greater Grand Crossing.

The other seven saw an increase or no change in the number of murders: South Shore, Englewood, West Englewood, West Pullman, Roseland, North Lawndale and Auburn Gresham.

When looking at all of these neighborhoods combined, you don’t find a decrease in homicides, you find an increase.

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Inspired by this reporting, I would be curious to see the trend for shootings and violent crime. For the sad reality is that while murders have declined markedly in Chicago, shootings and violent crime have slowed on a much smaller scale, especially in the most troubled communities. These figures are available from the Chicago Police.

Here’s the link to his reporting:


See you at our forum on minority journalists,

saludos y adelante,

Steve Franklin, steve@chicagoistheworld.org, 312 369 6400



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