Happy New Year! (Okay, it’s really late January.)
The reason for the delay is that things have been busier than usual. In late December, Crain’s Chicago Business published my front-page feature that looks into why Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pulled the plug on a potential plan to refurbish the Uptown Theatre, a 1929 movie palace shuttered in ruins since 1981. Thanks to some sleuthing I got my hands on a two-year plan to bring the theater back in life but was mysteriously axed in the run-up to his second election. The story was one of the most viewed on the Crain’s site that month and got me an invite on WBEZ’s morning show to discuss. Thanks WBEZ!
In late December I also handled the Illinois Playbook for POLITICO for a full week. Check it out every morning here.
In January I started teaching a new journalism course I designed for the University of Illinois at Chicago — Genres of Journalism. I set my students off to write a wide variety of stories, from arts criticism to perspectives to data-driven hard news. So far, so good. The class is maxed out and we’re off to the races.
The Washington Post hired me to cover the Women’s March in Chicago. About 300,000 people descended onto Grant Park that Saturday. Read more about it!
Finally, Medium hired me in the fall to create a bunch of news series for their site. Medium is expanding its mission to include professional journalism that readers want (and want to pay for!) The first installment of my series, “Human Trafficking in the Midwest,” debuted last week. The second and third installments run in late January and early February. The series look at how people are being trafficked here for sex and for labor. The third piece look at how Illinois has taken a tough stance against trafficking, lead by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart who has emerged as a leading voice in treating the women, not as criminals, but as victims. I’m proud of the reporting I did for all three of these long-form pieces. I hope you read them.
See you next month!