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...

5 comments:

leftisthebest said...

Sign me up for the new news bureau! Myself and "Shady" can cover the meetings on Halsted of the Illinois chapter of the CPUSA.


P/S Like your new blog

Shadi said...

I feel ya Crimefile regarding City News... the civilian in me knows information wants to be free and I want as much as I can get my eyeballs on...

...but... if I go on record backing City News with my old desk crew watching... they'd string me up with the telephone cord! The standard answer to CN was "nothin' honey!"

But as to your vision of a "Local Wire" program as a reborn City News on steroids... The Trib Co.'s CLTV took a half-hearted shot, but all they've really achieved is acting as a farm system for Channels 2, 5, and 7 to supplement their own local beat reporter ranks.

Maybe the way to go is doing something on the web... the whole "OPEN SOURCE"/"BitTorrent" open collaboration on city news gathering...

Anonymous said...

This would be HOT programing in Chicago, I'd love to see it. Rupert Murdock needs to find and bankroll you for this idea!

Anonymous said...

That's how news shoud be done. I hate all that fluff crap they feed us!

Frustrated Scribe said...

In depth local reporting? You can't do that! They'll never let you do that!