Quick Hits – February 12, 2018

Quick Hits – February 12, 2018

Another Daily Herald double standard

As if there weren’t enough of ‘em already!

This time, the headline blared Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen supports Democratic County Board candidates in Aurora. And when I say “headline,” I mean the whole front page above the fold thing.

The temerity! The chutzpah! The downright dastardly and divisive… Wait a minute! This isn’t even a real news story, much less the stuff headlines are made of.


First, two of the three candidates in question are actually Republicans expeditiously running as Democrats because they’d have no shot at prevailing in those deeply Dem districts otherwise.

Second, though I’ve been clear I rarely condone this kind of chairmanic meddling, Lauzen ain’t nearly the only one to attempt some personal board bending. Former KC Chairman Karen McConnaughy was widely renowned for her capacity to go after board members – and all manner of local politicians – who failed to amuse her.

Bruce Rauner does it (badly) all the time, too!

The reason I bring Ms. McConnauhay into the mix isn’t to excoriate her (this time). It’s because I repeatedly approached that very same reporter, Jim Fuller, to get the Daily Herald to cover the former Chairman’s spiteful shenanigans.

But they never did.

And the reason they never did their job is because McConnaughay knew how to play the press game. With yours truly as the lone exception, she’d generally gush sugar, spice, and everything nice at the various reporters and editors who covered Kane County. With their fragile egos properly fed, Fuller and the DH almost always let her slide.

Ah! But chairman Lauzen doesn’t play the press game. In fact, he can be downright critical of the Daily Herald, which, ironically, doesn’t sit well with the folks who make a living criticizing everyone else.

And that, my friends, makes the Daily Herald far worse than Chairman Lauzen.


And speaking of the Daily Herald

After emphatically declaring they wouldn’t cover mass murders in any way that might provide the “glory” these shooters so desperately crave, the Daily Herald did just that – again.

Other papers briefly covered the Northern Illinois University memorial ceremony held on the 10th anniversary of their specific tragedy, but the DH has run two consecutive in-depth stories covering the details of that horrifying tragedy in depth.

I suppose some small solace can be taken in their failure to mention the shooter’s name, and we should never forget the victims, but other than a desperate and morbid attempt to sell a couple of extra newspapers, there’s no good reason to give this mass murderer this vast amount of press – ten long years later.

I wonder what it’s like to have absolutely no standards?


The return of DNAinfo?

Chicago media blogger extraordinaire, Rob Feder, recently reported that three DNAinfo alumni are going to bring that business model back as a local news subscription service called “Block Club Chicago.”

This, of course, begs the infamous question, “How do you make a small fortune in the online news biz?” That’s right, you start with a large one.

If you recall, the news-only, no-opinion, hyper-local DNAinfo experiment, underwritten by Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, ended unceremoniously last year when their New York newsroom foolishly voted to unionize.

Our enterprising trio, whose names I won’t mention because they’ll soon be forgotten anyway, said that “the outpouring of love and support from Chicago overwhelmed us…that’s when we knew we had to keep it going.”

So much for journalists having any concept of cause and effect.

That “outpouring” was the result of the big bad billionaire throwing all of those hard-working young journalists out on the street. It’s the whole meaningless “thoughts and prayers” lip service kind of thing.

But despite of all that “love and support,” none of those sympathetic readers had any intention of paying for the DNAinfo news service, and they certainly won’t fork over their hard-earned cash for this watered-down version, either.

In fact, if DNAinfo taught their readers anything, it’s that they can get the local news for free.

The new head honcho added, “People want it [local news], and we proved that with DNAinfo. What we didn’t do was give readers a chance to support us.” I really do love idealists, but c’mon people! There’s idealism and then there’s being downright delusional.

DNAinfo never broke even, much less made a profit. And the reason Ricketts didn’t give readers a chance to support the venture, is he knew they wouldn’t. He knew if he installed a paywall, Patch, or some other news aggregator, would simply steal their content and provide it free of charge the next day.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal proved what readers want, and what they’re actually willing to pay for, is content and analysis specific to their lives. And simply reporting the local restaurant openings and closings with absolutely no emotion ain’t it.

It’s not that I don’t want to see Block Club Chicago survive – we need good, solid local journalism now more than ever. It’s just that it’s getting more difficult to watch the abject futility of journalists doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.

3 thoughts on “Quick Hits – February 12, 2018

    1. Beatrice, I think you meant Chris Lauzen, but you are dead on. When it comes to aggravating the shit out of people, he puts even me to shame.

      On more than one occasion I’ve asked the Chairman why he chooses to make himself so miserable!

Leave a Reply