Reporters talk schools and journalism in the Age of Rahm | Bleader

Reporters talk schools and journalism in the Age of Rahm

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Ben Joravsky, Linda Lutton, Lauren FitzPatrick, Sarah Karp, and Mick Dumke talk schools and politics at the Hideout.
  • Thom Clark
  • Ben Joravsky, Linda Lutton, Lauren FitzPatrick, Sarah Karp, and Mick Dumke talk schools and politics at the Hideout.
This week's First Tuesdays show at the Hideout (sensational, as always) should be required viewing for any man or woman foolish enough—I mean passionate enough—to want to pursue a career in journalism.

Up onstage, live and in person, were three rock stars of education reporting in Chicago: FitzPatrick, Karp, and Lutton!

No, that's not a law firm. That's Lauren "with a capital P" FitzPatrick of the Sun-Times, Sarah Karp of Catalyst, and Linda Lutton of WBEZ.

These reporters are the biggest power trio since Cream—they even demanded brown M&Ms and fresh flowers in the green room. And they drew scores of squealing fans who filled the room and spilled out into the streets.

Not even Karen Lewis packed the place like that. Thank you, one and all.

There were so many Board of Education employees going incognito that I thought we were in danger of violating the Open Meetings Act.

If I didn't know better, I swear I saw Mayor Emanuel lurking around the restroom, wearing a Groucho Marx mustache.

You're always welcome at a First Tuesdays show, Mr. Mayor!

We spent a lot of the show discussing how Rahm handles the press. As you can imagine, everyone had a horror story—or two—to tell of obsfucation, doublespeak, misinformation, passive-aggressive delays, and other acts of hostility perpetrated by Mayor Emanuel's press operatives.

And don't get any of us started on the folly of FOIA requests.

Not that you'd ever take advice from me, Mayor E—but, you should have left this stuff back in D.C.

Linda's account of trying to find meaning in a particularly meaningless sound bite by Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO of the system, was especially hilarious.

Speaking of funny, Lauren had a stirring tale of coming back from maternity leave to uncover how the supposedly dead-broke school system had set aside $5 million to buy furniture for the central office.

Let's see Brenda Starr top that.

The bottom line is that press-reporter relations have gotten so bad under Mayor Emanuel that everyone was ruing for the glory days of Peter Cunningham, press secretary under Arne Duncan.

You know things are bad when we're pining for the good old days of Mayor Daley's press handlers.

By the way, the great Mr. Cunningham himself was in the house, looking especially dapper in his porkpie hat.

When in the land of the hipsters, be like—well, you know the rest.

Anyway, the show also featured tons of policy talk—some of it gloriously geeky.

And, wouldn't you know, when we turned it over to the audience, the first question was: Do you think Karen's gonna run against Rahm?

There's always time for politics in Chicago.

On hand, as usual, was Peter Holderness—Chicago's greatest videographer—to film the show.

Check it out yourself, everyone:

See you at our next First Tuesdays—on September 2!

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