#746: The Chicago Journalism Quiz

February 1st, 2017

Hello from the opposition party!

When I’m not spouting emo political whines on this blog or fighting crime as The Crimson Hammer, I’m a journalist.

The news is troubled and troublesome, both a victim of the current political climate and complicit in its creation. But when the president of the United States starts yelling FAKE NEWS at anything he doesn’t like and calls your inky tribe “the opposition party,” it’s hard not to swell with pride a little.

It’s also a discouraging time for some in news, so in a rally-the-spirits moment, let’s remember how we got here in this city with the Chicago Journalism Quiz.

Some of the 10 questions will hearken to Chicago’s romantic news past, others will point out we’ve always been a bunch of self-aggrandizing jackasses. I make no claim this is representative of the industry, just a few facts I like that have come across my transom. I’ll run the answers Friday.

To set the mood, a quote:

“Lewis had a cynical humor that seems the natural quality of your true working newspaperman — not your ‘journalist’; the latter is usually a literary chap with highfalutin notions, laying claim to an elevated code of ethics, spurred by an insatiable ambition to reform everything and everybody — except himself! — while your simon-pure newspaperman is as devoid of ethics as a turnip is of blood.”

– Carter Harrison, Jr., five-time mayor of Chicago and publisher of the Chicago Times

Question 1

In the late 1970s, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association teamed up to purchase and operate a bar. Staffing it with undercover journalists and setting up a secret room over the bathroom for photographers, they ran the bar as a sting operation to capture city inspectors soliciting bribes and kickbacks.

What was the bar’s name?

  • O’Leary’s
  • The Masthead
  • Olga Fokyercelf’s
  • The Sunrise Inn
  • The Mirage
  • Bill’s (in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun-Times cartoonist Bill Mauldin)
  • Ol’ Fakey’s Fake Bar That’s Really a Sting Operation

Question 2

Which of these was NOT a Chicago newspaper in 1885?

  • Tribune
  • Sentinal
  • Inter Ocean
  • Telegram
  • Times
  • Daily News
  • Herald
  • Operator
  • Listy
  • Goodall’s Sun
  • Illinois Staats Zeitung
  • The National Hotel Reporter

Question 3

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass is noted for confusing trenchant political commentary and catty junior high pom squad nicknames in his columns, for example terming Mayor Rahm Emanuel “The Rahmfather” (who loved it so much Kass presented him with a framed spoof movie poster of it for his office) and launching his crusade against “Little Bike People” (otherwise known as “people on bikes.”)

Match the Kass nicknames to their target. For extra difficulty, one of the targets has two nicknames.

1. The Heroic Taxpayer
2. The Khan of Madiganistan
3. Pool Boy
4. Sensible Shoes
5. Meat puppets
6. Sen. Bullhead, the Illinois political mud puppy
7. Little Louie
8. Hopium addicts

A. Chicago Aviation Department Deputy Commissioner David Ochal
B. Obama supporters
C. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
D. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
E. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan
F. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez
G. Anyone who disagrees with him

Question 4

The Chicago Defender has which of the following accomplishments:

  • The nation’s first black syndicated cartoonist got his start there
  • Robert S. Abbott’s columns have been credited with helping spur the Great Migration
  • Langston Hughes wrote for it
  • Gwendolyn Brooks wrote for it
  • The newspaper created the Bud Billiken Parade

Question 5

Which Chicago journalist is depicted in a statue on Wacker Drive?

  • Ann Landers
  • Ben Hecht
  • Mike Royko
  • Irv Kupcinek
  • Robert S. Abbott

Question 6

What news scandal hit the Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune-owned properties Hoy and Newsday in the early 2000s?

  • Plagiarism
  • Cartel action
  • Circulation inflation
  • Coasting on storied heritages, gimmicky columnists and fan-service pandering in special sections rather than investing in young journalists to stay relevant in the impending newspaper age
  • Ink poisoning

Question 7

When the Chicago Tribune released its commuter-friendly tabloid RedEye in 2002, the Sun-Times rushed a competing tabloid into production. What was it called?

  • Red Streak
  • Red Stripe
  • The Red Line
  • Redditor
  • Reddy Red Red Red
  • Splash

Question 8

Which local news source briefly had a mascot and what was it?

  • Chicago Daily News – Dilly Dally, the Happy Hobo
  • Chicago Tribune – A knight defending Trib Tower
  • Chicago Sun-Times – A fish in a boater hat
  • Chicago Daily Inter Ocean – Chief O-Chee-Ko
  • WBEZ – Zaps the Radio Wave
  • DNAinfo – Marc the Journalist Who Narrates Slanted Pro-Administration Documentaries and Writes Columns About the Mayor’s Music Taste and How Pretty the Police Chief’s Wedding Was

Question 9

The Chicago Daily News won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1957 for a series that exposed a $2.5 million ($21.4 million in today’s money) embezzlement scam and resulted in the conviction of the state auditor. What was that state auditor’s name?

  • Otto Kerner
  • William Stratton
  • Orville Hodge
  • Paul Powell
  • Len Small

Question 10

Why don’t any of the questions in this quiz relate to TV news?

  • Because the quiz author isn’t a retiree shut-in terrified that a common household cleaning product could be poisoning his grandchildren and we’ll find out which product… after these commercials.
  • Because he has windows so doesn’t need someone standing in the cold for a live remote from Museum Campus to tell him it’s snowing.
  • Because he’s been to the South Side for longer than the 20 seconds it takes a news crew to parachute in for B-roll of a crime scene.
  • Because he already knows local festivals offer fun for the whole family.
  • His last name ain’t Ponce, so he’s not getting in the door at any of them joints.
  • All of the above

The Fine Print

Answers will run Friday. There are no prizes and winners’ names will not be run in this space. To submit answers, either mail them to 1001chicago@gmail.com or go to Trib Tower and tell the person at the front desk “Clark Kent’s pajamas gave Royko the shimmy-shams.” I mean, that last one won’t do anything but I’m sort of curious about what will happen. I’m guessing after the first few people, the Trib will start calling security. I’m really sorry if I angered any friends working at any outlets that got skewered in this, but if you’re going to feel proud about your workplace’s successes, you should also feel shame at its failings. We’re not going to get better unless we acknowledge and address our failings, both personal and as an industry. We’ve got to remember we serve truth and our readers in the here and now, not coast on some fabled heritage that was always nonsense. All decisions of the Organizer or their representatives regarding this Contest are final and without appeal, subject to any decision of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec on any matter under its jurisdiction. I stole that last sentence from the website of a Canadian game show. All rights reserved. Member FDIC.

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