Power to the People: Chicago Tribune Reporter Dan Hinkel Returns

A marriage made in progressive heaven, former Chicago Tribune reporter Dan Hinkel joins the Better Government Association

Hinkel’s return to the dirty world of Chicago journalism is not surprising. The reason is that journalism, particularly print journalism, is going through a massive transformation in Chicago, from profit-driven media into a world of non-profit news organizations like the new one Hinkel is joining, the BGA.

The profit-driven Tribune, long a steadfast and crucial independent watchdog over the city, crashed on the ideology of contemporary progressive journalists like Hinkel. A stale, sterile, and barely believable narrative about the city was imposed with a monotony that might drive any truly curious reader away.

The journalists and editors at the paper blamed external forces like big bad capitalism, but never their own glaring refusal to look at the city with fairness, let alone originality. Chicago print journalists are ideologues, and ideologues don’t write compelling sentences.

This last is crucial. No surprises, little or no interest. Don’t we know where writers stand, and yawn.

Mea culpa, I fear. I give myself the “even Homer nods” bit from Horace of old Rome — who added, keep in mind, his “But I do not approve.”

By Jim Bowman

Jim Bowman covered religion 1968-78 for the Chicago Daily News, since then has written books, articles, etc., mostly on corporate history but also on religion (Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968), and more recently on politics (Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters -- Lulu.com, Kindle). Longtime Oak Park, Illinois, resident, he lives now on Chicago's North Side, where four of his and Winnie's six children live close by.

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