Monday, April 30, 2012

Chicago Tribune pulls plug on TribLocal

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The Chicago Tribune pulled the plug on the Trib Local, one of the more reliable major news resources. Most if not all of the reporters for the Trib Local will be "let go." It's going to be outsourced to a "content provided" called Journatic LLC. (Read story.) Journatic pays its writers about $12 an hour. But they offered reporters $50 if they heard that reporters were asking about the gutting of the TribLocal and told the company. Reporters were banned from talking about the transformation from journalism to content management. (Read story from Michael Miner in the Chicago Reader.)

The TribLocal was a balance to the news offered by major newspapers. The Chicago Sun-Times gobbled up and gutted the once impressive Daily Southtown, fired most of the Southtown's Employees, merged it with another victim of its community newspaper absorption policies and merged it with the fading Star Newspapers. Most of the writing is done by a handful of reporters from what used to be an impressive lineup of journalists.

22nd Century Media, which publishes the informative The Orland Prairie, is one of the only remaining independent community news organizations left in our region, published by 22nd Century Media. (Click to read a profile on 22nd Century Media Group.)

What does the TribLocal's demise mean for the region?

Well, Orland Park is a good example. The MainStreet Development has been a white elephant and burden on the taxpayers of Orland Park. But this week, the Village of Orland Park announced that it was giving management of the project to HSA Commercial Real Estate, which did a phenomenal job of reviving the old Orland Park Place. Orland Park Place is now a beehive of activity.

But a taste of what you can expect from the TribLocal comes int he form of news regarding The MainStreet Triangle project, which has many remaining unanswered questions and a very uncertain future -- let alone the political hay that will be made about it during the upcoming battle for Orland Park Mayor, assuming Mayor Dan McLaughlin decides to seek re-election.

Here is the story published on the TribLocal's Page under "From the Community," which will be growing since it won't be able to boost "From Our Award Winning Reporters."

Click here to read it.

The story has a by-line from "By Taylor Johnson." Sounds like a writer. But Taylor Johnson is a PR Company that apparently works for HSA.

Click here to view Taylor Johnson's information.

That's the future folks. No one to ask questions (whether we like them or agree with them or not). No one to point out political ties, question the TIF or the growing burden on the property taxpayers for projects like this.

Orland Park is an important community and there is a lot of room for good newspapers. 22nd Century Media does a phenomenal job. But there is room for another weekly community newspaper here. Despite the sluggish economy and the many vacant commercial properties that sometimes make Orland Park corners look like slums, Orland Park has one of the largest retail bases in the Southwest Suburbs. It's a strong community and it has a vibrant politics, one worth covering -- good, bad or ugly.

Journatic LLC would make a great resource for any newspaper. But as a primary news source?

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gorman: Awareness needed to address rising heroin use in Cook County suburbs

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Orland Park, April 16, 2012
Gorman: Awareness needed to address rising heroin use cited in Cook County suburbs

At the Cook County Board meeting On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman will be sponsoring a Resolution to bring awareness to the growing problem of heroin use in our communities.

“I think it is an important issue to bring to the forefront given its rise in use in the Chicago Metropolitan Area” Gorman said. “Heroin use amongst our high school and junior high school students has been on the rise in recent years and shows no signs of stopping. The stakes have never been so high or the need for action more urgent.  This issue has become a major epidemic and needs to be dealt with now.”

The resolution calls on all local governments, from school districts and library districts to Village Boards and City Councils to pass the resolution to bring the problem to light. “The first step in working toward a sensible, workable solution is to bring awareness of the problem to the forefront” Gorman added. “It is my hope that the resolution will make every citizen aware of the problem.”

Last month, Commissioner Gorman held a community summit meeting at which over 60 people attended including Police Chiefs, school officials, village officials and interested citizens. The purpose of the summit meeting was to bring the community together to brainstorm realistic strategies that can help parents and their children prevent further tragedy.

Commissioner Gorman said “our only hope in saving our young people from the devastation caused by this horrific heroin epidemic is to come together as a community and find solutions to this problem now.”

 Commissioner Liz Gorman