The [Friday] Papers
I saw an excerpt on Chicago Tonight last night of John Callaway's interview with Ron Huberman to be aired tonight. Very interesting - but not in a way that I think Callaway realized.
Huberman is now the CEO of Chicago Public Schools; he was previously the president of the CTA and for two years was Mayor Daley's chief of staff. Before that, he was in the Chicago Police Department for nine years. He has an MBA as well as a Master's of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Few know the city's operations as well as he does, and he is so trusted by the mayor that some think Daley is grooming him to be his successor.
Ron knows Rich.
So Callaway asks Huberman about Daley, and Huberman describes the mayor as someone who continues to surprise him with how much he knows about what is going on in every city department - things not even the department leaders sometimes know. The quality and quantity of information the mayor has, Huberman says, is stunning.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Now, as an expert interviewer, you might think Callaway's next question would have been, "Then how could he have not known what was going on in Al Sanchez's Department of Streets and Sanitation and Robert Sorich's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs? In fact, how can he repeatedly profess ignorance to the stream of scandals that have come out of City Hall for 20 years under his nose?"
But no. Callaway, giddily, asked for examples of this wonderful quality that Daley has that would show us the mayor's managerial mettle; Callaway even framed the question as if he was ghost-writing a manual on management.
Now, Chicago Tonight just broadcast an excerpt. But if Callaway put the screws to Huberman at some other point, I would think they would have excerpted that to generate some buzz.
Somehow, though, I don't think Callaway's idea going into the interview was to ask Huberman the hard - but routine in a functional media environment - questions about his policies and his boss.
Let's pretend we're writing a management manual! What examples of great management would we include from the mayor?!
Ron, you worked in the police department for nine years, you were the mayor's chief of staff, you led the CTA, he obviously trusts you . . . why do you suppose he didn't ask you to be the police chief instead of Jody Weis?
Well played, Trib.
"[The sentence was] not leniency to Calabrese, but leniency to all the other families of other victims unknown, future victims of other killers who might receive some small measure of justice if the law showed some mercy on Calabrese, to persuade men like him to testify in court."
All told, Calabrese could be out for four years. His old colleagues will determine his fate after that.
"I attended a community meeting hosted by Prez. Stroger in Logan Square. He was giving a talk on the various wings of Cook County govt and the related benefits taxpayers receive, knowingly or not.
"It was fairly straightforward: a lot of confusion from Stroger on who runs what and what they do. But the telling part was the open Q&A session which was loaded with planted questions. They were so blatantly transparent that it was hard to watch: a bunch of thicknecks in gaudy suits lobbing open-ended questions like, "What do you do for Cook County citizens?"
"One local rabble-rouser did ask if he would pledge to cut his salary a la Gov. Quinn, to which Stroger rambled off for minutes about how hard he works and some nonsense about the value we get for our taxes."
From OMAR SOFRADZIJA, editorial adviser, The State News, Michigan State U.: Every time someone complains that newspapers can't do real-time news updates and adhere to traditional standards and ethics, I'd bet somebody at The Associated Press laughs out loud. The AP has forever been filing in real time and following with more thorough, thoughtful pieces via electronic platforms, even when the platform was a telegraph wire. Would anybody seriously denigrate The AP's commitment to quality? And a 24/7 model of news dissemination isn't much different from the "get me rewrite" days of multiple and frequent daily editions, street hawkers and extras. Really, the new model for daily print journalism is simply an old one, using new tools. So why do too many of us act as if the challenge is incompatible with our professional culture?
Bits and Bites
* Douche or Tool: Billy Corgan. The results are in.
* Wasted Teen Says Parade Cancellation Not His Fault. Willing to return next year.
* The Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week. See who had them.
End of an Era
The Beachwood Tip Line: Taser-proof.
Posted on March 27, 2009
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