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Charter waiting list inflation

The Chicago Tribune isn’t going to admit error with their claim that 19,000 students are languishing on charter school waiting lists, “yearning” to be free of CPS. But they may not throw the number around with the same panache after WBEZ’s expose.

As Becky Vevea showed, the 19,000 number counts applications, not students — and students typically apply for multiple schools — and it also includes over 3,0000 students who’ve dropped out and are seeking admission to alternative schools.

The Tribune now cites Andrew Broy of the Illinois Charter Schools for the “estimate” (though as Michael Miner points out, they claimed the number as fact in their editorials) , and Broy has regrouped quite nicely.

Wednesday he was saying the real number was probably “around 65 percent” of 19,000, based on his own “spot checks.” Thursday he insisted that 19,000 is a “conservative estimate” — the real number probably higher than that, he now says — since it excludes non-reporting charters and new charters that are just ramping up.

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Tavis is back — on air and in person

The Smiley and West Show, featuring Tavis Smiley and Cornell West, was booted off WBEZ last month, but it’s landed two new homes, Robert Feder reports – a Sunday afternoon show at WCPT AM 820, starting this weekend, and a Saturday morning slot at WVON AM 1690, starting November 10.

WCPT is featuring a “Smiley and West Uncensored” marathon starting Saturday at 10 p.m. and running till Sunday at 7 a.m.

Smiley and West, the radio and TV host and the radical academic who have criticized President Obama’s lack of attention to poverty, will also appear live in Chicago a week from Thursday in a post-election conversation with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!   Among the subjects at hand is the “tsunami of Super PAC-funded negative ads” and the media’s role in “furthering this erosion of our democracy.”

The program takes place Thursday, November 8 at 7 p.m. at Northwestern Law School. 375 E. Chicago, and is free.  It’s sponsored by Haymarket Books, which has published Goodman’s new book, The Silenced Majority.

Neighborhood sites lead online news innovation

The greatest innovation in online news is happening at the neighborhood level, according to The NEW News 2012, the third report on Chicago’s online news ecosystem from the Community Media Workshop.

In a review of hundreds of news sites, those operated by citywide news organizations – and especially TV stations – demonstrated “a remarkable consistency in news judgment,” according to the report

In contrast, the greatest diversity in online approaches and “the biggest diversity of sites, business models, and news presentation” is found in at the neighborhood level, “where online startups compete with weekly newspapers and efforts funded by foundations and nonprofit,” according to Emily Culbertson, co-author of the report.

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Local reporting

New reports from the Local Reporting Initiative of the Chicago Community Trust are up at the Community News Project blog:

Highlighting the settlement Tuesday of a lawsuit requiring the state to help nursing home residents move into their own homes (see above), the Neighborhood Writing Alliance tells the story of one man who recently made the transition, with help from Access Living.

NWA also interviews the director of the only domestic violence program for people with disabilities in the Chicago area.

In These Times reports on “The Poverty of School Reform” and the disconnect between top-down reform models favored by corporate and political leaders and the realities of life in low-income communities.

Illinois Health Matters finds a “gaping chasm” between policymakers implementing health reform and South and West Side residents with serious health issues.

Photojournalist Bill Healy seeks out stories of the residents of Auburn Gresham.

Entre Nostoros, a multimedia blog by Radio Arte, covers Latina youth artists, activists and issues.

The Grassroots Collaborative looks at TIF spending in Chicago and finds that “a program meant to address blight in fact reinforces it” – while it also increases income inequality.

Covering youth violence

With WBBM-TV demonstrating how not to do it, Community Media Workshop’s Ethnic Media Project offers suggestions for improving coverage youth violence, including:

  • Encourage young people to speak for themselves, promoting youth-created media to give them the opportunity to do so. Agencies that provide media training for their leaders, for example, can include young people served by the agency as spokespersons. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago In These Times

As a national publication based in Chicago, In These Times often provides better coverage of the local scene than its rivals – but this week’s issue seems particularly noteworthy on that account.

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Connect with Local Reporting Initiative

The Community News Project website is up and running with a preview of stories being produced through the Local Reporting Initiative of the Chicago Community Trust.  Check it out, bookmark the site – or sign up for e-mail updates or an RSS feed — and stay on top of reports as they are published.

It’s an impressive range of topics from a fascinating range of content producers, from seasoned journalists to community organizations to neighborhood writing groups.

Local Reporting Award grantees will be honored at a reception tomorrow (June 8, 4 to 8 p.m.) following the first day of Community Media Workshop’s Making Media Connections conference at Columbia College’s film center, 1104 S. Wabash.  Grantees will be giving short talks about their reporting projects.

The reception is open to invited guests and to all participants in the Making Media Connections conference.  (Walk-in registrations are welcome on both days of the conference.)

Steve Franklin on Egypt

Steve Franklin has lots of stories about the courage and spirt of the journalists, bloggers, and labor and human rights activists he’s worked with in Egypt, and he shares some of them in the current issue of American Prospect.

Franklin, a veteran journalist who heads the Ethnic News Media Project at Community Media Workshop, has been doing trainings in Egypt for several years.  He writes of bloggers exposing brutal police violence, striking workers facing government thugs, and journalists expanding the boundaries of free expression — long before the 18 days that brought down Hosni Mubarak last month.

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  • Telling people’s stories, an ethnic media success September 2, 2015
        By Stephen Franklin Community Media Workshop   A 3-year-old child died on a plane from Chicago to Poland. This, Magdalena Pantelis instantly knew, was a story her readers would care about. But she needed more detail to write about it for the Polish Daily News, the nation’s oldest daily newspaper in Polish, founded Jan. […]




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