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The [Thursday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Wednesday.

1. Tony Rezko's Son Trying To "Wedge" Hotel Onto River North Site.

Proposal calls for a 25-story tower across from The Montgomery.

2. Cubs Exploit Addison Russell's Concussion To Cheap Him Out Of $100,000.

"Which means a $3.1 billion franchise with the fourth-highest revenues in baseball will pay Russell $3.7 million this season instead of $3.8 million."

Click through for the whys and wherefores.

3. Las Vegas Cat Lady Is Today's Worst Person From Chicago.

Nanette Shahbaz writes to the Sun-Times about her and her husband's decision to move to Las Vegas purportedly because of skyrocketing property taxes on their downtown condo. "[P]lus I don't have to sludge through heat like I did through the snow."

Shahbaz, it turns out, is The Cat Lady.

"Shahbaz began her business in 1996 in Chicago, at first taking canine clients as well but quickly dropping that service once winter and Chicago's 50-degree-below windchill temperatures arrived. Walking dogs in such weather was no fun. Now, in sunny Las Vegas, Shahbaz deals only with cats," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

4. Junket Journalism.

The Chicago Architecture Biennial opens to the public today. Some journalists got a "press review" on Tuesday, and as the Tribune's Blair Kamin writes, the biennial paid the way of some of those journalists.

"There's a name for this sort of thing: A junket.

"Are news organizations that use junket-generated content obligated to disclose the arrangement? Should consumers trust the reporting and criticism of journalists whose travel costs are paid for by the event they're covering? Are events trying to buy exposure and influence coverage, or are they are simply getting the word out about worthy nonprofit arts events?"

Yes, no, yes and it doesn't matter.

"It is a way of causing exposure, causing people to become aware," event chairman Jack Guthman told Kamin.

By "causing exposure," Guthman means "buying exposure."

That, my friends, is called public relations. The coverage is being paid for by the covered. Tight newsroom budgets are no excuse for accepting this kind of arrangement.


And then there's this:

British architecture critic John Jervis, who has written for a variety of design publications, took to Twitter recently to accuse Camron of "exercising a veto over the journalists" that editors choose to cover the biennial.

Later, in a telephone interview, Jervis told me that Camron approached a design magazine editor about sending someone to the event. After the editor proposed sending Jervis, he said, Camron objected and the editor opted to send someone else.

Jervis declined to identify the magazine or the editor. And he didn't say why he was rejected, though he later sent a link to an article he wrote last year that offered a stinging critique of junkets.

The editor "needs to continue this relationship for the good of the magazine," Jervis said in the interview. "All your travel will be done that way. No magazine can afford to send (free-lancers) to Manchester, let alone Chicago."

A Camron director who works with the biennial declined to comment on the firm's interaction with Jervis.

Agency H5, a Chicago marketing firm that handles the biennial's local publicity, said in a statement: "It is standard practice across the cultural field to support journalist travel to cover events and exhibitions. This in no way guarantees the tone or content of the coverage."

That's fine, Agency H5, but a couple questions:

* When you extend "support" for journalists to attend events, do you pick and choose who you are willing to subsidize based on their past coverage, or can everyone get in on the gravy train?

* If a critic rips your event, will that critic continue to be offered funding to future events?

But then, these questions are ultimately irrelevant because news organizations shouldn't go along with junkets no matter how purportedly strapped for cash they are. Make your choices and live with them.


By the way, the "H" in Agency H5 stands for "Humanity." The "5" stands for the agency's five core values, one of which is "integrity."


"Hmmm, integrity is one of our values so we should just talk to Blair Kamin and answer every question and just be honest about how we operate."

"Nah, let's just send him a statement."


Now, back to Jervis:




5. U.S. Education Secretary Secretly Visited Sugar Grove Community College.

"Waubonsee students who are part of the national group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan - MEChA - said they were disappointed to not have notice of the visit because they said it silenced them. The group works to spread awareness of immigrant rights, help connect students who are underrepresented minorities and help first-generation students navigate higher education, group leaders said," the Aurura Beacon-News reports.

"While touring Jefferson High School in Rockford Monday, dozens of protestors, many wearing red T-shirts, carried signs and gathered outside the school to greet DeVos, according to the Rockford Register Star.

"'Waubonsee tends to show this image that we have a very diverse student population, but we had someone from the Trump administration who has attacked our communities here,' said Giselle Gonzalez, Waubonsee sophomore and president of the MEChA group at the school."



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A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.







The Beachwood Dark Side Of The Tip Line: It's all dark.


Posted on September 19, 2019

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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