Baby boomers just waiting for ticket out

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Baby boomers just waiting for ticket out
By Ray Hanania — A lot of people from “my generation” have died over the years. But when Davy Jones of the Monkees died last week, it hit very close to home.

I don’t why his death means so much more to me as a baby boomer – the children of American soldiers who returned from World War II and who were born between 1945 and 1964.

I mourned at the senseless murder of John Lennon, and was saddened when George Harrison died many years later. So many others followed but there are too many to name.

But the death of Davy Jones who sang so many popular 1960s and 1970s pop songs really hit hard.

Several of my friends and colleagues in the news media have also died in recent years. My City Hall reporting days mentor Harry Golden Jr., of the Chicago Sun-Times, died in 1989. It seems like forever. Several years later, Bob Davis, the equally talented and even funnier City Hall reporter for the Chicago Tribune died. He seemed too young at the time.

This week, another good friend who helped shepherd my career in journalism went up to that big Underwood typewriter in the sky, John Madigan.

John was cantankerous, but such a gentleman about accuracy and fairness. He was one of two journalists who gave me a break that helped boost my own career back when Jane M. Byrne was the whirlwind mayor of Chicago. The first was Walter Jacobson, who retired and then returned to report alongside news great Bill Curtis at WBBM TV Channel 2. It was Jacobson who reported the story that Byrne had gone into a “snit” over a column I wrote criticizing her husband Jay McMullen,, who threatened to punch me in the nose.

I enjoy Jacobson’s refusal to retire and his wonderful insights in his commentaries.

The other was John Madigan.

Early on in my career, I had a chance to interview Chicago Schools Supt. Joe Hannon, who gave me a scoop in 1980. The Chicago Tribune’s education reporter at the time read my column and literally stole the story for his own.

The Tribune back then had a Mathias “Paddy” Bauler-like motto that went: “News ain’t news until it’s reported in da Tribune.”

I remember Madigan called me up at my community newspaper desk at City Hall to ask about the story and then did several radio commentaries criticizing the Tribune and its reporter for “lifting” my story.

It was rare for anyone to acknowledge the exclusives that were broken by the community press back then. But Madigan, who learned his trade during the Harry Golden Jr. era, lived by the principle that good journalism didn’t rely on the size of a newspaper’s circulation. It was based on good reporting.

Madigan, the father of Hollywood Actress Amy Madigan, died last Monday at his Florida home. Like Harry Golden Jr., Bob Davis, and even a few more reporters who left the editorial offices of life like my NPR friend Carlos Hernandez Gomez, Madigan was a journalistic gem.

When I think of the modernday Front Page, those are the names that begin to fill the roster. A lot of journalists today are not just inaccurate, sloppy and incomplete. They are downright mean. But not those guys. To them, journalism was all about accuracy.

He broke many news stories during his sizzling radio broadcasts, always ending them with that famous line of his. “John Madigan, News radio ssssssseventy-eight.”

Here’s to you John Madigan. Say hello to all of our long time friends.

(Ray Hanania hosts Radio Chicagoland every Sunday from 8 until 10 am ON WSBC AM 1240 and WCFJ AM 1470.

This post has already been read 110 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

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 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 and (Illinois News Network at

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,, 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.

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