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I liked your video of the Clear Ridge Baseball opening day parade. It's so nice to see the boys and girls of our area having fun. I hope you plan to cover some of the games, and maybe have some footage of our local summer carnivals. There is so much to like about Garfield Ridge and Clearing.
Editor's Note: Thank you. We agree. We plan to shoot and post more footage of our local kids.
* * *Dear Editor,
Thanks for your kind words about Kevin Hickey. He was a good boy. I knew him when he was a youngster back in the old neighborhood. It is sad he died before his time.
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I am glad to see that you are following through on your promise not to be the parrot of the local politicians.
What I see in the other newspapers sickens me. For example, I liked your video of the street dedication to honor the late Commander Kupczyk. But then I read two other local newspapers that printed an article about the dedication---except that they were the exact same articles. I wondered, how can two competing newspapers have exactly the same article? Are they in kahoots with each other?
So I called both papers and asked. One was rude and hung up on me, but the other admitted that the article was not written by them, but "by the alderman." So I asked, why did your newspaper ask an alderman to write a story about a street dedication? The editor replied, we didn't. The story was something that his office sent us. So I asked, why didn't you write a story yourselves? The editor said, we didn't have a reporter available that day.
So then I asked why didn't you put the alderman's name at the top of the story? The editor said, that would be silly.
So I said look, if you print an article and it doesn't have anyone's name on it, can't we assume that one of your reporters wrote it, and that it's not something spoon fed to you by a politician or an advertiser?
There was a long pause and then the editor admitted, "No, you can't."
Keep up the good work, Southwest Chicago Post. Stay straight and honest, just as you have been.
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Previously Published Letters
Congratulations on your new venture. I wish you success. Thank you for putting together the recent article on the possible long-term effects of sports-related injuries to children. This is something that doesn't get a lot of attention, but should. Too many children---right here in the neighborhood and elsewhere---suffer injuries that go undiagnosed and therefore may not heal properly and which may lead to health problems in the future. As your article pointed out, these problems can often be prevented with prompt diagnosis and a smart regimen of chiropractic care.
Dr. Joseph Coler, DC
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I want to know what's going on with all the tearing up of the streets around here. Sometimes I think it's just so these politically-connected construction companies can make millions of dollars---at our expense.
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I see your new publication. I like what I see so far. It looks like you will be different from other neighborhood newspapers in this city that serve as little more than mouthpieces for local politicians. Papers that load up their front pages with pictures of politicians smiling for the camera and glad-handing anyone who will stand still for a photograph. Papers that fill their pages with politicians' press releases and worse, opinion columns written by the politicians in which they brag about how great they are---all in space that could have and should have been used for the people of the neighborhood. It's sad that some newspapers sell their souls to politicians in exchange for the lucrative advertising that appears in their "public notice" classified ad section. They have no credibility.
I hope your paper is different. Keep up the good work and please continue reporting the crime news. It's good to know what's going on.
William "Bill" Barczak
(Editor's Note: Thank you, Mr. Barczak. If you like what you see thus far from the Southwest Chicago Post, you'll probably enjoy what's ahead in the weeks and months to come; because it will be more of the same straightfoward, no-frills, honest and accurate news reporting on relevant topics---namely, making the Southwest Side a better place to live for us all---celebrating our community's successes and working to fix what needs fixing. And thanks for your concern about our soul. Rest assured it is safe and strong. While we are appropriately respectful of our local elected officials and the offices they hold, we have no plans to be anyone's parrot. Not us, not ever. Thanks for writing, and please write again soon. Your opinion---and everyone else's---counts.)
William "Bill" Barczak
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Your online news service is racist. It's obvious. You show all these mug shots of people arrested by the police. Why do you show pictures? Because the people are not white, and you obviously want to wave their photographs in front of your white readers. Other community newspapers don't do that. Why do you? As an African American woman, I get your message loud and clear. I am going to report you to the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.
Editor's Note: Thank you for sharing your opinion. Please report us to the commission. We'll tell them the same thing we'll tell you. We include mug shots---completely regardless of the race/ethnicity/residence/etc of the person arrested---as quickly and frequently as we can get them from CPD News Affairs; and they, in turn, have clear protocols on when they do and don't release mug shots. For example, they don't release mug shots of juveniles, or adults charged with misdemeanors.
Why do we include mug shots in our crime news? Two reasons, basically. First, it simply helps tell the story better when you put a human face on it. We believe that reporting crime news is not some dry academic exercise. Crime is a very real, flesh-and-blood thing---with real victims and perpetrators, real damage to property and/or lives, and so forth. So yeah, we'll run photos, just as we include the salty language we sometimes find in the narratives of CPD incident reports. We want to give you the news as accurately as we can---so you can get the best possible idea of what went on.
Second, we run as many mug shots as we can as a way to assist police---if only because there's always a chance that you see Joe Blow's mug shot in a story about a burglary (for example) and you might think "Hey---that looks like the guy I saw last week doing such and such." And who knows? Could lead to an otherwise unsolved crime getting solved. That's the same reason we share police notations about unusual clothing, tattoos and scars. It might set off a light bulb in the head of someone reading it.
Finally, as for the way that other neighborhood newspapers do or don't report crime, that's their concern. Why do they not run mug shots, when mug shots are readily available? Why do other papers refuse to run crime news, except on rare occasions when CPD actually writes the story and emails it to them? Ask them. We certainly don't measure ourselves by their yardsticks. We report the news the way we believe it should be reported---and judging from the strong and positive response we have received in just nine short weeks of operation, we're confident we're on the right track.