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"Zack Stoner wasn't your typical journalist. The 30-year-old made a name for himself with his YouTube channel ZackTV, which he used to document various aspects of Chicago's South Side community, providing an apologetically raw look at the city's violence, poverty, and music scene," Complex News reports.

"A lot of people respect what I do," he said in a 2018 interview with the Defender. "I'm the 'Hood CNN.'"

"Less than two months after the Defender profile was published, Stoner was murdered in the South Loop. The case remains unsolved.

"In the latest installment of Complex News Presents, we take a closer look at Stoner's impact on Chicago's South Side as well as the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death."


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"ZackTV1 is a YouTube channel with over 1,700 videos, about 170,000 subscribers, and its most popular video to date has over 2 million views," the Defender had reported.

"I wanted to show the world the other side of Chicago. Back when I was growing up, we had Common and Kanye West. Those are great brothers and great entertainers, but I didn't think they represented Chicago the way that I've seen Chicago.

"I wanted to show the world what the other side of Chicago looks like . . . our culture - the way we dress, what we eat, how we talk, how we walk."

ZackTV1's oldest footage is a candid 18-second clip entitled "Summer Camp 09," a casual vignette of a group of young men rapping and beatboxing. It's oddly fitting that this is the channel's first video because it serves as a precursor for Stoner's content - raw, unfiltered, and centered on young Black men.

Stoner's murder remains unsolved.

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"A makeshift cross now marks the spot where Zachary Stoner's bullet-riddled SUV crashed into a lamppost one year ago in downtown Chicago - with the street reporter left clinging to life with a gunshot wound to the head. A note scratched on the cross reads, 'Zack: Chicago legend,' alluding to his fame in hip-hop circles and his trailblazing work in a uniquely perilous genre of gangland journalism," AP reported in May.

"The fact that police have made no arrests in Stoner's May 30, 2018, slaying despite multiple potential witnesses and the street being lined with surveillance cameras highlights a troubling statistic about Chicago homicides: About 80% of them go unsolved within the year they occur. And with gang-related killings, the chances of someone getting away with murder are even greater.

"Investigators haven't spoken publicly about Stoner's case, but police and medical examiner documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request provide previously unreported details and indicate that detectives seem to have significant evidence."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on July 10, 2019


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