What Do Know About Violence Here and Does It Add Up?

Let’s count the ways we explain the plague of violence in some Chicago communities.

We report on the roll of gangs. But we also say that sometimes it’s a clash of wills, a culture of being tough, a web of entangling fears. We talk about guns and getting guns off the street. But we know that Chicago is an island in a sea of weap0ns.

We talk about getting dangerous people off the streets. But good reporting tells us that some young men are swept up and put in prison for reasons that make us wonder. We also know that rehabilitation in prison and after is a missing ingredient. So what happens when these folks come home?

What am I saying?

We need to keep reporting on what is driving the shootings and the fear and violence – violence that doesn’t always kill, but always harms a community.

The world has also come to Chicago to report on our pain.

Here, for example, is a story from the English edition of Al Jazeera. It touches on an important point – how agencies that help many troubled youth have suffered cutbacks or closings. We reported on that here two years ago.


But this effort at pulling together diverse information online by the Stream – the social media arm of al Jazeera impressed me even more.


Is this the kind of information you have? Does it exist in one location?

I don’t think it does. But let me offer some hope and assistance.

Our Workshop on Covering Violence

On Jan. 29th we will be holding another gathering for journalists to meet community group, experts and top ranking officials to talk about violence in Chicago. The meeting is from 10 to noon on that day. The location is listed here on this website. We will provide a massive list of the many dozen contacts you will want to talk to before you do any story. And so, if you are reporting on violence in Chicago, I think you will want to join us.


photo by Carlos Javier Ortiz

steve@chicagoistheworld, 312 369 6400



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