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The Royko Thread

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 21, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    There are so many beautiful details in that column, so many rich images, and yet not one tortured metaphor. I can see every scene like I lived it myself, and yet I've never had a lake place, don't care much for fishing, and only seen Wisconsin while it passes outside my window at 75 mph.

    I don't see how anyone who has ever loved another person unconditionally wouldn't be moved by that.

    Thanks for starting this thread, if for no other reason than it had been a few months since I'd read that.
  2. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Yes, I am . . .

    . . . and yes, 21, I STILL have that paper . . .
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Well, let's see if this works. Found the Royko column so 21 doesn't have to type it in. Try this link, guys (which'll probably cause Geocities to crash, the weak bastards.) But keep trying:

  4. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff New Member

    Royko once wrote a column saying how he didn't like to meet politicians because he might be charmed by them and be temtped to go soft on them. He even turned down an invitation or two to meet the president for that reason.

    Isn't that the same as Jay M.'s philosophy? A couple of Trib columnists implied last week that a columinist should go in the locker room because, after looking a guy in the eye, it's hard to write bad things about them.

    Sounds like a reason to stay out of the locker room.

    Are there different rules for sports and political columnists? Or was Royko wrong?
  5. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    DyePack, we ain't biting (beyond this), so give it a rest.

    I loved the Chicago Daily News in the last days, although they were to blame for some 5 column by 18 inch pictures I put on sports section fronts.
  6. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Jay remains hamstrung by the hardon he developed for Reinsdorf, years ago . . . it's affected his judgment, and it hasn't changed.
  7. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Shortstuff, it's just different, and different working environment and situation.
  8. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Tried BW's link, and it was crashed....I'm going to type this if it kills me, and don't no one try to stop me.
  9. lono

    lono Active Member

    Wow ... that's amazing.
  10. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    March 4, 1978

    A truly great newspaper: Why couldn’t it make it?

    By Mike Royko

    About the only good thing that can be said for working on a newspaper that folds is that it is sort of like reading your own obit.

    Since the official announcement was made on Feb. 22 that The Chicago Daily News would cease publication on March 4, the nation’s press has been lamenting our demise.

    We’ve been reading about how we were one of America’s oldest papers (102 years), rich in tradition and boasting of great staffs, past and present.

    Most of the obits point out that The Daily News had the nation’s first foreign service.  It was a great one.  Over the years, it included such star reporters as John Gunther, Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Paul Scott Mowrer, Keyes Beech, George Weller, and Bill Stoneman.

    This was the paper that once employed Carl Sandburg as a silent movie critic. Ben Hecht worked here and gathered the material for “Front Page,” his classic play about the roughhouse days of Chicago journalism.  The Daily News invented the daily columnist.

    Our 15 Pulitzer Prizes and countless other awards put us right up there with the best of papers.

    The Daily News was doing investigative reporting and sending politicians to jail when Woodward and Bernstein were still toddlers.

    Our Washington bureau, while not big in number, was always respected. The late Ed Lahey was a living Washington legend.

    Bureau Chief Peter Lisagor, who died in 1976, was often described by his peers as the best reporter in the capitol.

    The recent staff was as good as its ancestors.  Pulitzers were owned by cartoonist John Fischetti, associate editor Lois Wille and Beech, lately of the Washington staff. More than 50 books have been written by recent Daily News writers.

    Well, you can read enough glowing obits about yourself, and you can be pardoned for thinking, “Boy, we were really pretty good.”

    But then comes the inevitable question: “Yeah? If we were that good, how come we didn’t make it?”

    And that is the toughest part of being on a 102-year-old tradition-laden newspaper that goes under. If it had been a cheap rag, its death would have been easier to take.  But The Daily News, while it had some bad days, was still one of the best papers in the country.

  11. 21

    21 Well-Known Member


    The very day publisher Marshall Field stood on a desk in the city room to break the bad news, the paper was notified that Lois Wille had won the William Allen White award, the nation’s top honor for excellence in editorial writing.

    In recent months it had dominated the city’s news coverage, with spectacular front-page exposes of political scandals.  The talk in the news room was about which story would win a Pulitzer Prize—not whether we’d win, but which one.

    An indication of the staff’s ability was that within hours of Fields' announcement, editors from other cities were flying to Chicago to set up recruiting offices in nearby hotels.  Papers like the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Dallas Times Herald and others snapped up talent.  One reporter found himself weighing offers from the NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine.  An editor from Seattle flew in, offered jobs to two writers, and said, ‘I wish I could take back 25 of them.’

    Yes, it was a fine paper and getting better. John Justin Smith, who started as a copy boy in 1937, and had worked here as a reporter, writer, columnist, assistant city editor, sports editor, and travel editor, said, ‘what hurts is that it is as good or better right now than at any time in my career.”

    But in the executive offices, where the bottom line was what they read first, the talk was about the slide in circulation, the resultant loss of advertising and the growing deficit that would reach $11 million in 1978, more than the other Field paper, the profitable morning Sun-Times, could possibly earn.

    And that is the puzzler. Why couldn't a good newspaper make it?

    Some say that any afternoon newspaper faces hard times for a variety of reasons.

    People say that expressways are a factor.  Twenty years ago, Chicago didn’t have any.  Many more people rode buses, subways, and commuter trains.  Many bought an afternoon paper on the way home.  Now Chicago has a network of expressways. More suburban bound drivers. Fewer rush hour readers.

    Most people used to live and work in or near the city. It was easy to deliver their paper or put a newsstand on their street corner. Now people live and work in the suburbs or beyond.  Distribution is tougher.

    Highly profitable suburban papers now provide competition. But in the city’s black and Latino ghettos, there is little interest in any newspaper.

    And the competition is tough. The Tribune is rich, powerful and aggressive.  The Sun-Times is profitable and a modern tabloid. Both are morning papers, where the distribution advantage is immeasurable.

    All these factors contributed to a circulation drop at The Daily News from about 555,000 in the late 1950s to the final figure of about 315,000.

    But there were other things, seldom mentioned by professional press critics because they aren’t as easy to measure.

    Courage for example. There are times when a paper can have too much of it for its own economic good.  That, at times, was one of The Daily News’ problems.

    In the early 1960s, many papers treated the civil rights movement quite gingerly. The Daily News recognized it as the most important story in America. Nicholas Von Hoffman, now a Washington columnist, but then a Daily News reporter, wrote brilliant, in-depth reports from the South.  When the civil rights movement went north to Chicago, The Daily News was just as aggressive in reporting the racism of its own city.  The Daily News was far ahead of any Chicago paper on this story.

    All of which made the staff proud.  But it made many white readers angry.  It was a story they didn’t want to know about. Almost every day the circulation director would storm into the newsroom and scream about cancellations by white readers.  The editor told him to stay the hell away from the reporters.

    In Chicago, Richard J. Daley was mayor, boss, father figure and the most dominant politician in the city’s history.  He was viewed with awe by the establishment, common people, and the Eastern press.  By almost everybody, in fact, except The Daily News. During and after the 1968 Democratic Convention, The Daily News hit him hardest for his contribution to chaos.

    But most Chicagoans thought that the splitting of protesters’ heads in Grant Park was great sport.  So Daley got votes while The Daily News lost readers.

    When the Cook County state’s attorney’s police raided Black panther headquarters and two black men were killed, the official explanation was that the police had fired in self defense.  The Daily News said baloney and demanded an investigation. The Daily News was proven right, but more white readers, who preferred police to Panther, turned away.

    Courage didn’t kill The Daily News, but it undoubtedly shortened its life.

    And so did apathy.  In the Chicago area, 1.6 million people will turn on Welcome Back Kotter.  About 2.1 million watch Charlie’s Angels.  Wonder Woman draws 939,000.  There’s a big market for mental cotton candy.

    But out of 7 million who live in The Daily News circulation area, only 315,000 of them thought one of the better papers in America was worth 15 inflationary cents.

    When a new dictator takes over a country, one of the first things he does is seize or close the newspapers.

    Apathy isn’t as heavy-handed as a dictator. But it can get the same job done.

  12. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    Wow, thats all I can say, that was such a great piece of writing.
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