Monday, December 19, 2005
Chicago’s City News Bureau shuts down.
This was every bit a Chicago institution. It was a wire service for Chicago's news organizations that kept track primarily of cop and fire stories. This outfit was staffed for the most part by young college kids learning the ways of Walter Winchell and Mike Royko. The Trubune shut down this renouned talent incubator for good.
I hope some new organization can rise out of the ashes of City News and flourish as another training ground. I remember when the City News, news bunnies would come into my district station and pump me for information about some low rent homicide or stick up. They were cute kids.
If I was in Chicago right now, I'd want to start a new cable news program. I'd call it, The Local Wire. It would be only local news, all the time. No weather, business or sports. It would be the Police Blotter on steroids. Only the gritty local scandals, murders and bizzare tales would make air.
I'd want to start with 20 three-man crews for all of Cook County. Cop, court, and fire stories would be broadcast 24 hours a day. No fancy TV news sets for the anchors, just the look of the station house set of the old TV series Barney Miller.
I'd recruit a core group of reporters from the ranks of cops, lawyers and firemen. Of course there would be lots of those eager beaver, college kids too.
The stories would run longer, with lots of extra details left out of conventional TV news reporting.
If only I had the budget of a small country to do it with...