This Toll Does Not End

  In Newtown, Conn. the toll grew by another 27 lives. That was two years ago on Dec. 14. It was early in the morning as a troubled 20-year-old swept from his home to the Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was a heart-breaking addition to the chronicle of mass shootings in the US – a [...]

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Who Is Telling the Nation’s Story?

Say you are working in a newsroom right now. Look around. What do you see? Who do you see? Do you see a place that reflects colleagues of many different origins? Nationally, the numbers tell us the situation has barely changed.     But let’s break these numbers down. We see that the small share [...]

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Who Speaks For All of Chicago?

Almost a lifetime ago now, I wandered door to door in black Washington, asking simple questions: What do you see in the news media that tells about your life? And do you trust the news media? I learned from the people I talked with that their Washington was virtually invisible in a news media that [...]

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Crime’s Mirage – Getting the Facts

  Violence haunts us. But sometimes it is the image and not the reality that haunts us more. The Pilsen Portal, a local news website, recently took on the challenge of separating truth from image in an excellent example of community reporting. It asked whether their community is as crime-ridden as some say. Here is [...]

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The Other Numbers About Juvenile Violence

We reach for the stats on murders, and other crimes that stain Chicago. And we use them to tell us what’s happening. Is crime up, or down, or stuck in Chicago? But other numbers matter as well. What percent of the youths coming out of detention centers wind up back in trouble? What percent of [...]

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What Happens When They Come Home?

Violence and Criminal Justice: What Needs Fixing?  When: 10 am to noon Thursday, April 17 Where: Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor A joint-program for journalists and neighborhood groups of the Community Media Workshop and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth, an effort of Lurie Children’s Hospital.  By Stephen Franklin Community Media Workship, steve@chicagoistheworld.org, 312 369 6400 In our [...]

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Justice That Heals Not Harms

Violence and Criminal Justice: What Needs Fixing?  When: 10 am to noon Thursday, April 17 Where: Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor A joint-program for journalists and neighborhood groups of the Community Media Workshop and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth, an effort of Lurie Children’s Hospital.   By Steve Franklin Community Media Workshop steve@chicagoistheworld.org 312.369.6400 The [...]

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What Numbers Matter?

Some numbers count more than others. Take North Lawndale’s numbers. Per-capita income              $12,548 Chicago                             $27,148 Households below poverty level 38.6% Chicago 18.7% Unemployed 18.5% Chicago 11.1% Living in crowded housing 7.2% Chicago 4.7% No high school diploma 30.4% Chicago 20.6% The  numbers tell us that within  North Lawndale’s nearly three mile radius there were over [...]

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The building blocks of our mayhem

Violence in Chicago is a house built of blocks One is guns. Another is a reckless, alternate way of life driven by poverty, segregation, and the result of living on the edge of everyone else. And drugs is the other. Drugs drives violence because users steal or rob or do whatever they can to buy [...]

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Who Doesn’t Trust Who?

Another shooting. Another South Side scene of despair and violence. A crowd collects and uneasily watches the police. Someone carrying a gun was shot and killed by police. A young black man. Sad, angry eyes. A tearful woman in the crowd talks about why she won’t talk to police. “We don’t trust them. And we’ll [...]

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