Mr. Bob Bajek
Head Journalism Instructor
The Midtown journalism students traveled to the Chicago Tribune July 12th to participate in the paper’s editorial board meeting.
The apprentices were taken to the fourth floor of the Tribune tower were they met editorial page editor Bruce Dold and his staff.
The Chicago Tribune‘s editorial board asked the boys about what they thought about the current contract dispute between the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union.
CPS wanted to pay teachers a 2 percent salary increase while having a longer school day. CTU wanted a 30 percent increase for the extra work involved.
The board pointed out the CPS is essentially “broke” as they are $665 million in the hole this year and will more than $1 billion short in the 2013-14 school year. The board hopes to avoid a teachers strike (here is their July 13th editorial).
Cesar Torres, who attends Lincoln Park High School, said he would like to have a longer day so he could have more opportunities to take elective classes he is interested in.
Eduardo Lara, who attends Benito Juarez, said he didn’t want the teachers to go on strike because he wants to graduate on time. However, Eduardo’s mother is a CPS teacher and he could see why she would want to have a pay increase.
Another major item concerning the board was Jesse Jackson Jr.’s. A U.S. representative, Jackson has missed significant time serving his constituents due to his mental health issues. The board felt Jesse Jr. could’ve been a prince of Chicago, but he was held back because of his shortcomings and President Barack Obama’s political rise.
The board had mixed views concerning Jackson.
Board member Kristen McQueary thought Jackson did not fulfill his promises to help Chicago’s poorer neighborhoods and should resign.
Editorial assistant editor John McCormick said Jesse Jackson Jr.’s mental health problems are becoming more acute. One minute, Jackson was alive and vivacious, and the next he would be downcast and depressed.
Board member Steve Chapman said Jackson can’t escape his demons by simply resigning and thinks his marriage problems have exasperated his condition (Here is their July 13th editorial).
After the board meeting, the boys met with editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis. Stantis told the boys about pursuing what they are good at and love to do.
“If you love something, you will do it a lot,” Stantis said. “If you do something a lot, you will get good at it. If you get good at it, you can monetize it.”
Stantis told the boys to be not be afraid to express their opinions whether those opinions are in the written, verbal or visual form.
Chicago Tribune lead designer Chuck Burke then taught the boys about the aspects of building a newspaper. Burke helps correcting the reporters’ writing and said everything in the paper goes through him first.
Design is a tough balancing act.
“You want to have the right balance between visuals and words,” Burke said. “If there are too many photos, the publication is not viewed seriously. If there are too many words, it isn’t visually appealing.”
Here are some photos from the boys’ exciting trip: