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The [Thursday] Papers

"Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc. is launching a new award - dubbed the Golden Padlock - recognizing the most secretive publicly-funded agency or person in the United States. It is calling on journalists and the public for worthy nominees," IRE announced this morning.

"This honor acknowledges the dedication of government officials working tirelessly to keep vital information hidden from the public," said David Cay Johnston, president of IRE, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting worldwide. "Their abiding commitment to secrecy and impressive skill in information suppression routinely keeps knowledge about everything from public health risks to government waste beyond the reach of citizens who pay their salaries."

"IRE is now accepting nominations for the inaugural Golden Padlock. Nominations should be e-mailed to by May 24. Submissions should include the name of the agency or individual along with reasons and/or media coverage detailing the intransigence.

"Governments at all levels - from local to federal - are eligible for the award. A list of finalists will be announced in early June and the award will be handed out annually at the IRE's national conference.

"The winning public agency or individual will be invited to attend the award ceremony to be 'honored.' This year's conference is June 20 - 23 in San Antonio, TX."

Tough call. I mean, Barack Obama would be a natural choice - and he's the big kahuna.

Daley is gone but Rahm is here - and the rest of the country would be shocked to know the lengths they have each gone to in order to conceal the doings of their administration. That's why it's so easy, or so it's been said, for the Chicago press to win national awards (and you'd think they'd win a lot more) - reporting on schemes and scandal here looks like massive investigative work elsewhere when a lot of it is what the U.S. attorney serves up on a silver platter or simply represents business as usual.

IRE might be interested in the Koschman case, in particular, as an example of a multi-agency cover-up, though I think the award is more geared toward one individual or office that doesn't so much cover things up as locks everything down in the first place.

In any case, I've been a proud member of IRE since college; it's the only professional journalism association I can recommend unreservedly. If I ran a newsroom, I would consider every member of the staff be a member of IRE - it's not just for investigative reporters. I've used the techniques in the IRE handbook my entire career, and I've never been employed as a dedicated investigative reporter. Absorbing and using IRE's reporting methods can and should be put to use in daily reporting; IRE also focuses on beats and topic areas. I just don't understand journalists who don't pay attention to this stuff.

(IRE's first executive director was John Ullmann, who also taught the investigative reporting class I took as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota; I use a couple key principles from that class to this day, which is one of many reasons why I am a strong advocate of [the right kind of] undergraduate journalism education.)

Piggly Wrigley
I've gathered a lot of string, as they say in the business, on this sad saga, but too much to put into a coherent post today without just unwinding a rant for the ages. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that involves time and energy not presently aboard. Hope to get it up in the next few days; on the other hand, sometimes I gather string on topics like this and never get to the actual post. I'm just one person. (For example, the day after the Rachel Shteir ridiculousness blew up, I created a post with the headline "Rachel Shteir Is Absolutely Right About Chicago." Unfortunately, the childish responses from our vaunted journalists and the rest of the city's offended elite grew to such a humungous pile of heaping dung that I haven't been able to see my way through it yet to expose what a bunch of frauds most of our press is. So there's that.)


You can catch up with my preliminary commentary and test lines on the Beachwood's Twitter feed, of course.

Obama Exchange
"Only six insurance carriers have told the state of Illinois they want to sell a combined 165 health policies on the state's online insurance marketplace under the nation's new health care law - numbers far lower than expected, raising concerns the trend will hold true across the country," AP reports.

"Fewer health plans could mean less competition and possibly higher premium prices. Officials in President Barack Obama's home state had anticipated some 260 health plans would be offered by 16 different insurance carriers, based on a survey the Illinois Department of Insurance conducted last fall.

"The Illinois numbers are an early indicator that insurance companies are backing away from full participation in the online marketplaces, said Robert Laszewski, a former insurance executive turned industry consultant."

It's gonna be a mess - and rather than be a stepping stone to a single-payer plan, as some delusionaries suggest in their farflung fantasies of a president supposedly playing 3-D chess, it's far more likely to put the kabosh on ideas like Medicare-for-all for good.

Penny Pritzker Is Trending
We take a look.

Documenting Violence Against Women
"Join Steve Edwards, from the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, as he moderates a discussion among journalists, advocates for survivors, and criminal justice leaders about violence against women, its news coverage, and the potential for increased data access to impact the public discussion."

Panelists include Sun-Times editor-in-chief Jim Kirk.

Journalism's Most Dangerous Beats
Politics, corruption.

SATs Do Not Test For Maturity
"Evanston bar World of Beer has canceled a University of Illinois alumni event scheduled for next week after a swell of complaints from Northwestern University students and fans, a U of I spokesman confirmed," Crain's reports.

"The 'Fighting Illini caravan,' featuring Illinois football coach Tim Beckman, men's basketball coach John Groce, women's basketball coach Matt Bollant and Athletic Director Mike Thomas, had been scheduled to appear at the bar May 8 for an 'Our State, Our Team' promotion after spending the day at rallies downtown.

"Since Illinois announced its plans last week, however, students from Northwestern's 'Wildside' fan organization formed a Facebook group protesting the event."

Call the wahmbulance.

A Night At The Opera
The leather, the clubs, the shrieking, the blood.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Like a day at the races.


Posted on May 2, 2013

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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