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Or, if you read between the lines, how to be a good local political reporter. Some great advice in this bit for Chicago Magazine, such as:
"You need the most local paper you can get. Unless it’s a totally wired, inside deal, you’ll discover it in your local paper in the real-estate transaction section, land sales, foreclosures, help-wanted ads, and the crime blotter. Also, start reading the legal notices in the Sun-Times and Trib, especially the property transaction notices. They’ll tell you what zoning changes are up—who’s buying the property and whether or not a 200-story condo is going up next door."
Incidentally, although the closest thing here to a byline says "By Ben Joravsky," this is actually an edited interview, which you'd only glean if you went to page one of the section, something that's easier to not do online.