■ My dad was a Republican and a fallen-away Baptist who ran unbiased Republican campaigns within the suburbs. My mom was a Democrat and a religious Catholic whose sister and brother-in-law had been Democratic precinct captains. Each dinner at our home was a meals combat, as a result of they’d argue about the whole lot. You discovered fairly shortly that there have been two sides to a narrative. We had been blue-collar folks with so little cash, however each night time we’d have the entire Chicago newspapers there: the Day by day Information, the Tribune, the Chicago American, and the Solar-Occasions. We might all the time combat for who bought the Day by day Information first, as a result of we needed to learn Mike Royko’s column. In some methods Royko was certainly one of my first journalism lecturers. He would ferret out, within the clearest means doable, who was telling you the reality and who was mendacity.
■ Through the time I used to be overlaying the El Rukn road gang for NBC-5, certainly one of their hit males, Billy Doyle, known as me at residence late at night time. We had finished a documentary on El Rukn chief Jeff Fort wherein we talked about him being illiterate, and Billy Doyle mentioned the chief didn’t like that. I keep in mind saying, “Billy Doyle, you don’t name folks at residence besides to intimidate them.” He hung up. I known as Fort’s lawyer and mentioned, “This can be a menace, and it’s going to pressure me to report it to the feds and the cops.” He known as again and mentioned, “Jeff says Billy didn’t imply it.” By then we had put in a safety system in the home. And for 2 weeks, NBC employed armed guards who lived on the primary ground. One in all my neighbors appeared out the window and noticed them and mentioned, “I don’t know if you recognize this, Carol, however there are males with weapons in your porch.”
■ Jerry Springer’s hiring at NBC-5 was devised as a scores stunt, but it surely grew to become a press nightmare. We had a newscast folks revered. We didn’t do foolish stunts. We weren’t bleeding and main. We weren’t chatty comfortable speak. We had been simply stable, easy information. If I sat on the set, straight-faced, and launched Jerry Springer as a commentator on our newscast, I may by no means unring that bell. Ron Magers and I each knew we needed to go away, however we didn’t know the way it could be acquired — if it was going to seem like a few treasured anchors too massive for his or her britches or a official combat for journalism. The fascinating factor was that Chicago not solely understood, however they had been on our aspect.
■ When public officers don’t reply you the primary or second time, you give them the good thing about the doubt. The third time, you chase them down the road if it’s important to.
■ Our job as reporters is to go towards the catastrophe, not away from it, as a result of we’re the eyes and ears. That’s why I ran right down to the World Commerce Heart on 9/11. I knew that if I didn’t get there quickly, the police strains round it could hold me out. I used to be within the CBS broadcast middle early that morning, noticed it was taking place, and moved. You have got this invincibility notion that “I’ll watch out.” Yeah, till the constructing comes down. I ran like my life trusted it, and it did. I misplaced the pores and skin on my toes from taking my sneakers off and operating within the streets. Once I fell, a firefighter threw me towards the wall of a constructing that had an overhang. He lined me and guarded me. He saved me. When it was over, I bought the police officer’s title, the ambulance driver’s title, the bus driver’s title — everyone who helped me. However I didn’t have the presence of thoughts to get the firefighter’s title. And to this present day, that simply kills me.
■ I used to be on an elevator within the Merchandise Mart early in my profession, and a man mentioned, “Are you … ?” And I mentioned, “Yeah, I’m.” And he mentioned, “Wait until I inform my spouse. She thought you had been enticing. You look terrible.” I mentioned, “Sorry, what you see is what you get.” That takes you proper again right down to floor stage.