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The [Thursday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

As longtime readers have probably surmised, I still have warm and fuzzy feelings about the University of Minnesota, where I earned my undergraduate degree in journalism and worked at The Minnesota Daily.

But - like a lot of people - my favorite college campus of all-time is the awesome grounds of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

I've seen Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, and probably a dozen other campuses, but Wisconsin takes them all.

That's why I root for the Badgers when I'm not rooting for the Gophers.

And that's why I can't wait to read this story.

And some of you out there know what I mean when I say Fuck 'em, Bucky.

White Collar Whiteout
Among the failures of local business reporting, I've never understood why stories like this don't get more attention:

"A former suburban Chicago executive has pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in a $17 million bank fraud scheme," AP reports.

"Kevin M. Gore allegedly swindled Fifth Third Bank between 2005 and late 2007 by fraudulently obtaining funds through a revolving line of credit. At the time, he was chief operating officer of Computer World Solution Inc. in Wheeling."

$17 million!

How is that not a huge story?

"Computer World Solution, which imported and distributed wholesale consumer electronics such as televisions and computer monitors, went into bankruptcy in November 2007," the Imperial Valley News reports. "The bank's losses on the business's line of credit were discovered to be in excess of $17 million. Shortly before the bankruptcy, Gore left the United States and was traveling throughout Asia until he was arrested in late February."

"As we've repeatedly noted," Angela Caputo writes at Progress Illinois, "Mayor Daley long ago abandoned the specific purpose of tax increment financing (TIF) - to redevelop 'blighted' areas - and has since created a multitude of new districts in affluent neighborhoods and throughout Chicago's downtown. Indeed, the use of TIF has been so perverted that, yesterday, the city's Community Development Commission (CDC) signed off on a deal to give a multinational insurance company $3.8 million in taxpayer dollars to do something they would likely have done anyway - namely, renovate their new offices in the Sears Tower."

So we're privatizing parking meters and socializing corporate office renovation. Nice.

Worm Worry
"Does it make me a bad person that I find the annual Golden Apple teacher award process overdone, and the media's lapdog response to it troubling?" Alexander Russo wonders at District 299 "Probably. But it seems like a canned, hermetically sealed photo op."

It doesn't make you a bad person, Alexander. But it does make you a bona fide member of the Beachwood Nation. Your certificate is in the mail.

Cable Fable
"Here's why cable and satellite subscriptions aren't a good model for newspapers," Nat Ives writes in Ad Age.

"In the first place, cable and TV offered something better than broadcast TV - much better. Their packages included perfect reception; many more channels, some with no commercials, mostly unavailable any other way; and types of programming you couldn't get otherwise, i.e., shows with 'adult' language and situations. In the second place, cable and satellite were optional products people could buy to enhance their programming.

:Newspapers will be banding together, on the other hand, to take back certain content people already view on the web free. And for what? International news, sports coverage, city-council meetings already attended by bloggers? That's not necessarily comparable to The Sopranos, live out-of-town sports, recently released movies and, well, nudity. Sorry to say."

There are other reasons, including the fact that cable is still a luxury to many people. And it's not like most cable subscribers are in it for CNN; my guess is they want ESPN, the movie channels and Millionaire Matchmaker.

Finally, this new obsession with commoditizing the news not only ignores how the old newspaper model worked, but has all sorts of troubling implications for how and why journalism is performed as well as for First Amendment protections.

I'm reminded of the line from North Dallas Forty: "Every time I say it's a game, you tell me it's a business. Every time I say it's a business, you tell me it's a game."

Is journalism a public service or not?

Rich Man's Game
This might be just one of 25 internships, but only rich folk can do the other 24 because who else can afford to work for free?

Unpaid internships are unconscionable for all but the smallest and most fledgling of operations. Like this one.


I was a finalist for a Spy magazine internship coming out of college that paid something like $50 a week - in New York City. I was trying to decide if I would vend beer at Yankees or Mets games to make ends meet.


I was rejected for supposedly being "overqualified."

What, I was too funny?


Most (unpaid) internships at places like Harper's (with Lewis Lapham railing against the aristocracy!), the Atlantic, Washington Monthly etc. go to Ivy Leaguers who have perfected their scripts.

Millennium Spark
The city should have contracted with the Art Institute to do the whole of Millennium Park from the get-go.

Three For Thursday
"Chimp Was On Xanax During Attack."

So it could have been worse.


"Playboy Doubling Up On Centerfolds."

That will only work if they're in the same photo.

Erotic Services
This whole Craiglist thing just feels phony to me.

City Council Crumbs
Worrying about dogs while the mayor sells off the city.

Olympic Backhand
Lincoln Park Tennis Center under fire.

Supreme Burris
Roland is just sayin'.

Rock Trivia Pursuit
We're up to 450 items in our rock trivia feature.

20 Tweets: Billy Corgan
And God.

Shut Up And Drive!
From A.J. Foyt's mouth to the pages of the Beachwood. In RoadNotes.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Shut up and type.


Posted on May 14, 2009

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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