Voices of Chicago

How the Windy City’s papers and blogs are keeping up with the Blagojevich story

When a local story—your state’s governor gets arrested for corruption, say—goes national, all eyes turn to the hometown publications for the latest. With a massive scandal in their backyard, Chicago’s own are on the case. Here—as of 6:00 PM on Tuesday—is how they’re doing.

Chicago Tribune

At the epicenter of the allegations, the Tribune has the most original reporting on the story than any other publication. In addition to a growing list of front page stories updated as the saga unfolds, the Trib is also keeping tabs on other pieces around the Web.But the paper hasn’t been very forthcoming about their piece of the puzzle. The paper has released several statements, but none from John McCormick, the editorial writer who is mentioned by name in the indictment, who spoke to Alan Mutter at Reflections of a Newsosaur.

Chicago Sun-Times

The Tribune’s competitor has a greater number of links to stories on its front page, but neither has scooped the other in terms of new information. The Sun-Times seems to be taking a slightly more scandalous approach, with a “Blagojevich Led Away In Cuffs” headline and some expletive-tinged links leading into stories, including “ Blagojevich calls Obama a ‘mother f***er’ | Patti Blagojevich: ‘Hold up f***ing Cubs s***.” The Sun-Times also did a better job mobilizing and publicizing its editorial columnists, with three prominently featured links to notable columnists like Lynn Sweet and others.


The Chicago Public Radio station has been doing some good work on its blog, including an audio slideshow of interviews with the governor’s neighbors. They’ve also engaged some crowd-sourcing techniques, pointing readers to an aggregation of tweets about Blagojevich and a Flickr stream for photos for the governor.

The Capitol Fax

This site has maintained a good running list of developments and time stamps, which makes it easy for readers to see what’s happened and when. There’s clearly a local focus here, with a story like “Children’s Memorial target of guv’s shakedown efforts, charges say” highlighted from a Crain’s story about the seventy-eight page affidavit. This site has been updated frequently throughout the day, and feels very up-to-the-minute.

Chicago Reader

The Reader’s Clout City blog did well this afternoon with a reasoned assessment of the five mystery candidates mentioned in the indictment, but then it seems that political writer Mick Dumke was booked to appear on the radio, and the posts suddenly ceased. After all the asterisks obscuring obscenities in the Sun-Times and Tribune it’s strangely refreshing to read the word “fuck” unobscured at the Reader. Seeing it appear so unapologetically makes me think just how silly all the attempts at decency are.


Chicagoist did what snarky blogs do best, the liveblogging the arrest press conference, (but without any snark, surprisingly) and digging up a clip of Blagojevich on the Daily Show. But they also had time for other stories, such as the latest installment in Oprah’s weight saga.

Chi Town Daily News

A disappointing showing from the a Web site that claims to deliver the news geared at Chicagoans. None of the “TOP” stories mention the Blago affair, and the “Blog Farm” section mostly has links to other sites, and nothing from the staff’s reporters on the story. Today’s only original piece was a missive from the editor-in-chief for journalists to “step up” in light of the Tribune co. bankruptcy.

Windy Citizen

This little-blog-that-could quickly created a sub-section on the Web site dedicated exclusively to covering the arrest and the aftermath. The site not only did a good job compiling the Web’s best reporting and dispatches, but also got creative with a Blago Cloud, a graphically appealing “visual guide to the Federal complaint.” They also set up an easy-on-the-eyes tweet tracker about both Blago and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. In particular, this site was impressive for the speed and grace with which it deployed its technological tools.

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.