The [Wednesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
Reporters don't like to hear it, but sometimes a graphic can tell a story better than an article can.
For example, "The Many Goodbyes of Brett Favre" in today's Tribune.
I'd like to link to it, but it doesn't appear to be online. So picture icons of Favre with the lettering "He's Out?"; "He's In"; He's Out", "He's In?" assigned to dates, quotes and announcements. There's 10 in all.
There's your story.
Reporters don't like to hear it, but sometimes an editorial cartoon can tell a story better than an article can. And not just because opinion is allowed.
Like the work of the best comedians, the best editorial cartoonists have a way of distilling even complicated issues into a drawing that gets to the heart of it with wit and insight often outside our own imagination.
So it's good news indeed that the Tribune has finally filled its editorial cartooning position after a nine-year search.
Or, what appeared at times to be a search and at other times simply an imposed budget reality.
In any case, the new guy is Scott Stantis, "a self-described libertarian conservative," according to Trib media writer Phil Rosenthal.
(The Tribune has posted some of Stantis's past work here.)
While it may seem like an odd time to spend money on an editorial cartoonist (they're generally expensive), especially after all these years, I give the Tribune credit for stepping up to the plate and seeming to get it.
"He's not just going to a cartoonist," Tribune editor Gerould Kern told Rosenthal. "He's going to be bigger than that. We have found our editorial voice and we will use it for the betterment of the city, the state and the country. It's important for us to lead, to stand out and point the way, and an editorial cartoon is an incredibly powerful and important way of doing that. We will use Scott Stantis' cartoons in creative ways, not only on the editorial pages but online, and he will be used on Page One."
I'm not so sure about the voice; the editorial page, which has its blind spots but generally does pretty high quality work, has had a consistent voice for a long time. The voice of the paper at-large is a muddle. I don't know what the Tribune brand stands for anymore. I'm not sure anyone does.
But Kern's expansive view of how to use Stantis is encouraging - and absolutely correct, even if we're already drowning in right-wing voices around here.
Not that I want more left-wing voices around here. I don't. I want more independent voices. And by independent, I don't mean in the middle. I mean outside the spectrum, where all journalists should reside
I hope Michael Miner weighs in over at News Bites or in the Reader on the Stantis hiring. Miner has covered the Trib's editorial cartoonist situation like a blanket from the get-go, and is bound to come up with the inside story - because there probably is one - or at least some insight into the hiring.
Is Billy Dec . . .
Well, he's in the running. Check out the comments.
See also: "20 Tweets: Billy Dec."
That's my response to the Tribune's call for the conjoined twins of the Daley administration and Chicago 2016 to ascribe to state Freedom of Information laws and to answer a multitude of questions about the financing and operations of the Olympic Games should they come here.
But what is the penalty to Mayor Daley and Pat Ryan for not taking the Tribune - and others - up on their plea?
History tells us there will be no penalty. There never is. So why would Daley and Ryan go along with the program? There's nothing in it for them.
Unless . . . the Tribune turns its plea into an ultimatum. Tell us the truth or we'll not only come out against the bid, but campaign against it vociferously in the next six weeks. We've even got a new editorial cartoonist to help us!
Otherwise, we'll be asking the same questions a year from now, and two years from now, and seven years from as the Tribune is asking today.
Isn't the fact that so many questions remain unanswered just six weeks out from the big decision day enough? How many times must we see this movie? We all know how it ends. What a bunch of chumbolones*.
* © John Kass.
Four More Years
"County insiders swear Stroger spends more time shooting hoops at the East Bank Club than tending to county business," Konkol notes.
I've heard the same thing.
"Todd's problem is he's a little stupid and a lot lazy sometimes," a top Stroger "lieutenant" from the 8th Ward once told Konkol.
I've heard the same thing.
Illinois's Hottest Job
The Beachwood Tip Line: Proper.
Posted on August 19, 2009
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