Jim Edwards: Good journalists few and far between

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Good journalists few and far between
By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday Jan. 18, 2013

Two names were in the news this week, Lance Armstrong and Jim Edwards. They were so far apart.

One of the characters I came to know well as a City Hall reporter was a guy named Jim Edwards. You may have none him better as “Jake Hartford” the rambunctious on air Radio host.

I met Jim back in the 1980s covering City Hall and Jane M. Byrne and while hosting the weekend spot at WLS AM Radio. Hartford had his own show that lasted longer than my own and he had a won’t-back-down style that made his conversations and topics so entertaining.

He loved politics as much as he loved chatting with listeners on his radio show, including most recently as a co-host with another longtime friend I admire, John Kass, the former Daily Calumet reporter who later rose to the top spot at the Chicago Tribune.

For years, I’d “Wake with Jake” as he would open up Saturday mornings on WLS AM radio, talking about whatever was in the news that week. WLS dropped Jim back in 2008 but he always managed to come back.

He was always fair, something you don’t often experience in dealing with journalists.

In typical Hartford humor, his WLS bio noted he led “semi-annual mountain climbing excursions to the peaks of Nevada” and that “While swimming thru a kelp bed, a koi snipped off part of his nose.”

Hartford describes “himself” as being “To the right of Attila the Hun with a sprinkling of Leon Trotsky” which doesn’t really describe him at all. He was a talented videographer, a great radio host and a good friend.

Jim’s Facebook Page (under Jake Hartford) is still up – it’s a fact of life that when people die, their Facebook pages remain online. Such was the case of another good friend and journalist, Carlos “Habibi” Hernandez Gomez, who died in 2010 and whose Facebook page was only recently taken down.

This week, Jim Edwards (Jake Hartford) died.

Lance Armstrong’s saga is far different and makes you wonder what is it about sports figures and athletes.

The whole point of being in sports is to have fun, and serve as a role model for other young people. Sure, it’s entertainment, but that’s not all.

So here we have another sports figure and role model finally admitting that he used drugs to achieve his many inspiring records as a cyclist.

Armstrong’s admission comes years after denying it as slander and libel. It makes you wonder how many more athletes are also liars, too. Why shouldn’t we ask that question when so few of them are willing to stand up and speak out against their former pals and sports colleagues.

Like the Chicago police, the sports industry has a code of silence where corruption gets more protection than the public.

After seeing so many athletes admit to using drugs, and worse, lying about it throughout their careers, I have to conclude that the entire sports industry is corrupt and needs to be cleaned up.

What does this have to do with Jake Hartford?

Well, I would bet anything that if Jake were around, he’d be talking about this sports scandal on his radio show with columnist John Kass. And I’d bet he’d be agreeing that the sports industry is filled with corrupt liars who need to come clean, if he’s not already up there in that big studio in the sky, preaching to, well, a whole new flock.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com.)

This post has already been read 107 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 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