Media Notices SW Side More and More

Media Notices SW Side More and More
By RAY HANANIA • Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper
It’s not the kind of attention that we really need but have you noticed that the mainstream Chicago media is paying more and more attention to the Southwest Side and suburbs lately?

The downtown newspapers and TV and radio have been reporting on events in the Southwest Side of Chicago and the Southwest suburbs in ways they never have before.

It’s all bad news, of course. Generally the news media only writes about tragedy. Editors will tell you that traditionally that’s what sells newspapers. In other words, they’ll tell you, it’s your fault. The reader. Yes, you want the bad news, they assert.


Read about how they cover our area and how they cover more affluent areas like the north suburbs and the contrasts are striking and obvious. The further north you live, the more positive the news. The further Southwest you live, the worse the headlines overflow with bad news.

Years ago, the major downtown media ignored the Southwest Side. There would be the occasional political story where writers would bash our local elected officials, while giving similar conduct of officials up north a pass.

Sure, there are exceptions. But you know what I mean.

These days, violence, mayhem and murder have increased dramatically in the Southwest region and that’s exactly what the downtown media thrives on. They love to report on other people’s suffering. They don’t care if those headlines undermine property values in neighborhoods in the Southwest Side and suburbs because most downtown journalists live downtown or up north.

We’re so numb from the violence that we don’t pay much attention to the increasing shift. As the violence grows, so does the downtown media coverage.

Reporters at the Chicago Tribune, or WMAQ TV or the Sun-Times are just human beings anyway. They care about the value of their homes as much as anyone. Except, they don’t write about the bad news in their neighborhoods the way they seem to really enjoy writing about the bad news in our neighborhoods.

The media coverage of the bad news also happens to feed the bad news. Good people who once organized groups to confront the street gangs and the crime are overwhelmed by the number of crimes taking place around them. The newspaper feeds that overwhelming sense of helplessness.

We can’t blame our local politicians, though. They’re doing their best. But they, too, are victims of the biased news media. The media loves to bash our politicians while closing their eyes to the foibles of the politicians who represent their privileged communities.

This isn’t an exact science, folks. I haven’t done a study. I’ve only been covering Chicagoland politics for more than 36 years.

You live here long enough, you can easily see the patterns.

What we need to do is recognize this trend and then stand up and do something about it. Organize. Bring together our voices. Put together a platform where we can demand better police protection from Chicago, Cook County and the State, which receive much of our hard earned tax dollars.

We can also demand that the news media stop feeding the perception. I’m not saying don’t report the news. But start reporting the bad news on the North Side, too. And start reporting more on the good news that still takes place in our Southwest Side and suburban neighborhoods.

We’re a good community, the Southwest region.

But we are nothing if we are not willing to stand up and demand a change.

(Join Ray Hanania Sunday on radio at 1240 AM WSBC and 1470 AM WCFJ to talk about this and other topics. — City & Suburban News-Herald

Categories: Chicagoland Topics, journalism

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