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Mainstream media always misses the story
By Ray Hanania — Over the years, I have been on both sides of the fence, as a journalist and as a media consultant. It’s a hazard of the journalism profession. The big media have so screwed up the industry that it’s not possible to really earn a living in Journalism. So these days, in addition to writing columns, I do media relations for clients under the title Urban Strategies Group.
But nothing can stop me from expressing my opinions, critical of government and critical of the media.
The Town of Cicero, one of my clients now, hosted a Health Fair this past Saturday. More than 2,000 people showed up at the Community Center building to learn about all of the Town’s free and low-cost healthcare and dental services.
On Sunday, the Town of Cicero joined the City of Berwyn to host one of the most successful Houby Day Parades in the region’s history celebrating Czech history. The Grand Marshall was Svengoolie (Rich Koz) who hosts the Saturday TV show on WCIU and who is also a Berwyn native.
He tossed out 250 rubber chickens to the public – usually the rubber chickens are thrown at him.
It was a phenomenal weekend for the people of Cicero and Berwyn. More than 25,000 people lined the 18 block parade route.
But where was the Chicago media? None of them bothered to cover the events, although the Chicago Sun-Times did another one of their political hatchet jobs distorting some facts and portraying issues in the worst possible light.
It would have been nice if the Sun-Times had covered either event. But the Sun-Times doesn’t care about the people of Cicero and they are not going to come out and cover events in which the people of Cicero are benefiting. Why? Maybe it is because the majority of residents in Cicero are Hispanic and the Sun-Times doesn’t sell a lot of newspapers to Hispanics?
Race is one of the issues because if Larry Dominick were the President of Winnetka, I can assure you they wouldn’t be bashing Winnetka at all.
But Cicero is Hispanic and the fact that the Mexican American community came out in force to help celebrate a Czech festival and the Houby Day Parade is remarkable. It shows you how Hispanics are “team” players. They support everyone else. They enjoyed the Houby Day festival just as they also celebrated the El Grito Festival and celebration the week before for Mexican Independence.
I wouldn’t be so upset with the Sun-Times, I guess, if they spent at least a little effort reporting on the positive things the Town of Cicero is doing. But they don’t. They only care about the negative stories.
They think, wrongly, that the negative stories sell newspapers. Well, they are the posterchild for the message that negative stories do not sell newspapers. The fact is, according to several online official and blog sources, the Sun-Times circulation is dropping and dropping fast. It’s down to 219,000 papers a day, compared to 500,000 some six years ago.
Obviously, their bad news coverage is not helping them.
It’s too bad. I worked at the Chicago Sun-Times year ago. It was a great newspaper. It was the “bright one.” But today, the newspaper is little more than a slander sheet that creates controversy and ignores community concerns.
The people of Cicero enjoyed the Mexican American festivals, the Health Festival and the Houby Day Parade.
It’s too bad the Chicago Sun-Times doesn’t think Cicero is worth covering.
For more information, visit the Facebook Page of the Town of Cicero at facebook.com/townofcicero.
(Ray Hanania is the spokesman for the Town of Cicero and President/CEO or Urban Strategies Group media consulting. He can be reached at www.hanania.com.)
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Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com