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Reporters are understandably freaking out about Chicago’s violence

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Oy…


  1. - cdog - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:36 am:

    oh my.

    Rob needs to know that many of us do not want to “see the scene.” In this life, it is hard to unsee what has been seen.

    My suggestion. Do a poll.

    Does your audience want this subject covered like this, at the scene of the violence, or

    would it be more effective to report from the funerals and/or hospitals?

  2. - Saluki - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:38 am:

    Blagojevich might not have been wrong on everything… least, maybe not completely wrong…

  3. - Austinman - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    Maybe if they will quit treating violence like it’s a sport they wouldn’t feel so unsafe. It’s like a tally every day. 5 shot 1 dead 4 wounded, yet media never reports the good, and they have yet given their opinion on what will stop it.

  4. - Ted Panni - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    I wonder if the reporters in the field get hazard pay or 3 X life insurance? This is so sad. When will the elected officials and men in those communities being effected by gun crime step up or step down? This is way more than a “ban guns” issue.

  5. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:47 am:

    Two tips from my years in hospice chaplaincy.
    1) Don’t bottle it up. Experiences like these are like a 2liter bottle of soda. It’s going to get shaken by these things and if you don’t ease the cap off now and then (crying and feeling) you’re gonna blow up.
    2. Time/experience should start to help you learn to “digest” the strong emotions and experiences. Think of it as digestion. You bring the experiences into you. You pull out the “nutrients”, good and bad, like lessons learned, insight, personal growth, motivation, etc, and then you get rid of the rest. The problem comes, just like digestion, when you can’t pull nutrients (senseless death and violence) or can’t get rid of it, can’t poop it out, emotional constipation (see above). When you experience a lack of nutrition or constipation, you need to talk to a professional to help you do that. Otherwise, like necrotic bowels, it will kill you.

  6. - cdog - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:48 am:

    It is marginally an issue re elected officials, or even gun policy.

    It is a crisis of values in the inner-city communities. The solutions are in their souls.

  7. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:48 am:

    Seems they’re going for sensation rather than facts. I’d like to know what CPD and community groups are doing to combat this from the media. How much more patrol force is deployed and riding in the worst districts compared to the less active ones? How are they cracking down on the drug trade for those gangs doing the shooting? Have cameras been installed in these areas sufficiently, and properly monitored, to direct patrols to suspicious people within a few minutes?

    Do they report why these actions AREN’T being taken, and what’s blocking them?

    THAT’s REAL journalism instead of stalking a mother of a recently killed child and asking them “how do you feel?”

  8. - Thunder Fred - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    And those are just general assignment reporters covering crime tape. Imagine how dangerous it would be if they were political reporters covering hostage situations and labor wars?

  9. - Ten 32 - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    Before we declare martial law and call in the National Guard, send in the State Troopers.

  10. - A guy - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    We’re seeing more of these reports filed “in front of Area X Police District”. Probably a very good idea. The people doing the shooting in these areas are not swayed by logic or compassion. Quite the other way around; keep shooting until you get shot yourself. It’s a completely different dimension. And among them must live the innocent. Ugh.

  11. - Joe Schmoe - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    Since most of them carry AFTRA cards maybe they should demand that the editor back in the newsroom do a shift or two as a field producer. When I see the on-camera reporter wearing a helmet and flack jacket then I know we have problems.

  12. - Groucho - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    Maybe you don’t need to interview a Mother whose child was just killed 30 minutes ago. The whole “breaking news” unnecessarily invasive and unsympathetic reporting should be stopped. Quit using interviews with distraught loved ones to boost your ratings.

  13. - IRLJ - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    No one should be surprised that electronic media bosses put their people at risk in the quest for ‘good TV.’
    They who seek to entertain are not practicing journalism.
    This has been my-and others’-argument, all along, against allowing cameras in criminal-trial courtrooms.

  14. - Union Man - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    Part of the job I reckon… Are y’all unionized?

  15. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    Sadly, Chicago is only a slow motion massacre. If the monthly deaths and non-fatal shootings happened at one time in one venue, the response would be different.

  16. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    There are absolutely fantastic reporters providing in-depth coverage of the many aspects of Chicago’s gun violence problem for both the Sun-Times and Tribune. Those desiring a better understanding of Chicago’s problem are advised to seek out the work of those ink-stained wretches.

    – MrJM

  17. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:17 pm:

    Note: No offense to Chicago’s television reporters was intended. I simply don’t watch television news, so I can’t comment on the quality of whatever it is they’re up to.

  18. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:26 pm:

    Just like I don’t need to have a reporter standing out in the cold to know there’s a blizzard going on, I don’t need them at shooting scenes right after they happen to know there is a crisis with violence in Chicago. Good reporters can find ways to tell the story without getting in the face of grieving family and putting themselves in potential danger. Do better than if it bleeds it leads sensationalism. Focus on the roots of the problem.

  19. - Louis Capricious - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:31 pm:

    This rant is utterly tone deaf to the reality of hundreds of thousands of people who literally live amid the violence and chaos - that which so frightens this reporter during his hour of parachuting in - every single day.

    So sorry to hear that the reporter is scared to go cover a crime scene and that “many residents” are livid and heckling him. Seriously?

    This dude churns out a dozen tweets and there’s not a single mention of the threat endured every day by the people living in those neighborhoods - those who don’t have the luxury of hopping back into the news van and high-tailing it away.


  20. - illini - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    @MrJM - I am like you and very rarely watch local news. Frankly, watching a 60 second news story does nothing for me and does nothing to enlighten me about what is really going on,

    The last time I was glued to local newscasts was Ferguson almost 2 years ago. I’m in the St. Louis media market - and there was some very good coverage at that time.

  21. - DuPage - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    Maybe the TV station should hire an off-duty cop to ride along with the crew into these locations.

  22. - CrazyHorse - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:40 pm:

    My question is not meant to offend the reporters but why is the media coverage of the shootings and homicides such a big story now when back in the 1990’s when I was growing up the murder rate was nearly double what it is today? Again, I’m not trying to make light out of people being murdered as every homicide is a tragedy but I’m just curious as to why it’s now known as Chiraq, etc. when, on the surface, things were much worse 15-20 years ago and didn’t receive nearly the media coverage.

    I guess the internet was just a baby back then and now social media and facebook are so widespread so that is a huge component but is there something more that I’m missing. Perhaps because we’re outpacing the other large cities?

    BTW, I grew up in Chicago Lawn just outside of West Englewood and I lost two friends to gun violence in HS. Their murders didn’t even appear in the police blotter. I guess I’m not really wondering why it’s a big deal now. It should be. I just wonder why it always wasn’t a big deal except to the families.

  23. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    Saluki makes a good point; Blago actually was right in suggesting that the National Guard be called upon to deal with the Chicago crime epidemic. The Guard was brought on to college campuses in the 1970’s for far less.

  24. - YSW - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    == It is a crisis of values in inner-city communities. The solutions are in their souls ==

    cdog, thanks so much for clarifying that black and latino residents of Chicago just need to clean up their souls and get better values to solve Chicago’s violence problem.

    I would have thought that decades upon decades of discriminatory laws, redlining black and Latino communities, building infrastructure in a purposefully exclusionary way, disinvesting in the south and west sides, failure to properly train law enforcement, failure to remediate lead, failure to appropriately design and allocate public housing, etc. were all issues on which politicians could make major impacts.

    But nah, it’s only THEIR souls that need saving.

  25. - National Guard,...? - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 1:03 pm:

    Because we all know everyone will embrace Chicago being under martial law,…. 20 ILCS 1815/36 - Officers and enlisted men of the Illinois State Guard shall be, in the absence of a declaration of martial law, in strict subordination to civil authorities.

  26. - Clark - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 1:24 pm:

    ===Maybe if they will quit treating violence like it’s a sport they wouldn’t feel so unsafe. It’s like a tally every day. 5 shot 1 dead 4 wounded, yet media never reports the good, and they have yet given their opinion on what will stop it.===

    Every day I see tweets from the Tribune saying X people shot, X people dead. It’s sad to say I’ve become desensitized to Chicago violence. Other than community marches to highlight violence in the city, I honestly don’t know what is even being done by alderman, etc, to slow it down.

  27. - Urban Girl - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 1:43 pm:

    Elgas’ feelings of fear are real, and he probably needs to talk to someone professionally.

    But as @Louis Capricious mentions, on their own these tweets are pretty tone deaf. Elgas is given the option to leave. He does not have to live there.

    While there may be no salary high enough for him to be willing to put his life at risk, this is his job. I am sure that he makes more than the CPS employee who was shot outside a school in Austin this month. Having a school employee shot seemed inevitable. Also, a Chicago alderman was less than a block? away recently when an assault weapon was unloaded on a house. Unsure what he was feeling, but he used the incident to talk about the need to ban assault weapons.

    Question for Elgas, is the problem that you and other reporters are being sent into harm’s way, or is the problem that we have a ridiculous amount of gun violence in our city, and we all need to figure out solution?

  28. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 1:54 pm:

    “why is the media coverage of the shootings and homicides such a big story now when back in the 1990’s when I was growing up the murder rate was nearly double what it is today? Again, I’m not trying to make light out of people being murdered as every homicide is a tragedy but I’m just curious as to why it’s now known as Chiraq, etc. when, on the surface, things were much worse 15-20 years ago and didn’t receive nearly the media coverage.”

    Natalie Moore’s new book “The South Side: a portrait of Chicago and American segregation” addresses these questions and more in a chapter entitled “We Are Not Chiraq”.

    Moore is a native of the Chatham neighborhood and has been WBEZ’s South Side Bureau Reporter since 2007. I’m 200 pages in and highly recommend her book — — and I’m sure most Chicago-area libraries will have a copy or two on the shelves.

    – MrJM

  29. - Belle - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    I have little sympathy for Rob Elgas. These tweets are all about him and his co-workers who make barrels of money. They can return to their safe neighborhoods and the downtown TV station. Not to mention, I cannot imagine that anyone is making him stay at his job if he isn’t happy there?

    Unfortunately, he is talking about real people who don’t go home to Streeterville or Naperville. They have to stay in Austin or Englewood, etc where it is scary everyday.

    Perhaps if he was reporting on the “why” instead of the blood shed, some progress could be made? It’s obvious that City Council is content with discussing a silly museum and pay-outs to criminals who have no respect for CPD. Why work on something difficult like finding jobs for people when it is so much easier to talk about the mundane? Editors and reporters are allowing Rahm and the Council to stay in this pattern until they call them out.

  30. - Mama - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 2:06 pm:

    I would think less TV news about violence would cut down on violence.

  31. - Team Warwick - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 2:18 pm:

    Rob, to report on the violence you do not need to go to scene during the activity. You actually may be stoking violence by giving the killers notoriety and fame. Have your producers meet with police to discuss this timing issue.
    if they do not address the timing issue, vote with your feet and go get a new job.

  32. - CrazyHorse - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    Thanks MisterJayEm. I’ll definitely look to read that book.

  33. - A Real Person - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 2:29 pm:

    “Unfortunately, he is talking about real people who don’t go home to Streeterville or Naperville. They have to stay in Austin or Englewood, etc where it is scary everyday.” He’s also talking about real people who’s job it is to go into areas where groups of real people are shooting at other groups of real people and the real people who shoot view Elgas’ real people as a threat to their ability to remain free to shoot the real people they want to shoot. I see you’re on record has having “little sympathy,” but I think it’s OK to sympathize with reporters given that they understand that their mere presence in certain areas can’t help but threaten murderers with guns.

  34. - Harry - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 2:31 pm:

    Unless the media are going to actually show us something specific that can only be done at the scene, there’s no magic to being at the scene of a crime that is already over, or even being outside the hospital or police station where something may or may not be going on inside, compared to having the newsreader tell us about it from the studio.

  35. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 3:08 pm:

    Why? Gangs of young thugs, fueled by the proceeds of drug sales, are battling one another for a larger share of the business (territory). Remember Prohibition? It doesn’t require a high school diploma to be in this line of work. Next question.

  36. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 3:42 pm:


    Chicago’s violence problem caused more than that.

    Education, unemployment, gangs, drugs, police cuts, strategy, and more are parts of this. If it was just =prohibition=, Chicago wouldn’t be more violent than New York or Los Angeles.

  37. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    why are we hearing from just one guy? Was he selected as spokesperson or something?

  38. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 4:29 pm:

    When was the last time the media put out the names of known gang bangers? Maybe when they do that some might slink back into the shadows. Call these thugs out the police know who they and who they are affiliated with. Put their names and photos out there for the world to see. So many senseless killings because of the lack of moral values.

  39. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 4:48 pm:

    Some of these posts, sheesh.

    Garbage in, garbage out, I suppose.

  40. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 4:50 pm:

    == Many residents livid we are there ==

    Maybe they know you’re not helping. Like, at all.

  41. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 4:57 pm:


    Bingo. Worse than not helping.

    News cameras are at murder scenes to sell ad time for ED pills.

    “If it bleeds, it leads.”

  42. - West Sider - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 5:58 pm:

    Dear Rob-
    Follow the Money. That way, you can report from some nice high school in the suburbs.
    West Sider

  43. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 10:08 pm:

    Hmmm…was Rob live from the Gold Coast tonight?

  44. - Jerry - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 9:40 am:

    Welcome to THEIR world, Rob.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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