Linking Citizens, Leaders and Media

  • CCM is active with The Austin Voice, Illinois State Representative La Shawn K. Ford, and other Austin leaders in creating and building the Parents Political University (PPU) of Austin. A brief history of PPU and all of its documents are housed as the website above.  
    • 2013 (since 2009) Instructor of English, Oakton Community College. A full account of my teaching is at Five Years at OaktonSee 2009 >>
    • Work with AUSTIN VOICE newspaper. See 2014 >>
  • Work with AUSTIN VOICE newspaper. See 2013 >>
  • Operate writing services for students and small businesses:

  • With team of six, submitted "" proposal for an interactive hyperlocal/citywide news and information platform to Knight Foundation News Challenge. Platform has two functions: 
    • to enable Chicagoans of all ages and occupations to connect the information they generate on hyperlocal platforms like SeeClickFix and Everyblock with information generated in mainstream media. 
    • to enable Chicagoans (citizens and government) to identify, prioritizing and resolve issues (problems and opportunities) at neighborhood, area and citywide levels in the City of Chicago.                                                              For proposal, see 2009 >>
  • Instructor of English, Oakton Community College (2009-2013). Taught writing, poetry and literature courses. See "Five Years at Oakton >>
  • 2006 -2009 Blog America's Choice proposes using prime time network TV to advance civic dialog in the United States. Houses treatment for America's Choice, a politically-themed reality TVprogram, the first half of which is posted here (other half is proprietary). Modeled on the interactive capabilities of shows like American Idol and Survivor, America's Choice uses two primary features of reality TV - viewer identification with compelling characters and viewer participation (by cell phone vote) in the vetting process - to provide and alternative to the existing ideological polarization, left and right, of present-day American civic discourse. In its quest to give Americans an informed voice in the political decisions that affect their lives, America's Choice attracts major advertisers by targeting the Market of the Whole of all Americans.    See 2006 >>
  • Advocacy for new Glenview Public Library. See 2006 >>
  •  Koenig & Strey Real Estate, Glenview, IL.  Broker/Realtor, 2004-2009

  • May 15 50/50 Youth/Adult Media Conference held at Chicago Access Corp.
  • Jun -Aug Project '99 Center for Gifted, National Lewis College, Taught six week "Justice and Dissent" mock trial class.
  • Apr "U2 Youth /Adult Dialogues: A Multimedia Problem-Solving Civic Media for all 2.7 million Chicagoans by the end of 1999." Introduces concept of Market of the Whole as strategy for securing sponsors for problem solving, opportunity-maximizing ongoing media-based youth/adult civic dialogues.
  • Oct Olive Harvey College, City Colleges of Chicago. Adjunct Instructor in English. Taught reading writing courses. 
  • Jun - Aug Project '98 Center for Gifted, National Lewis College, Taught "Justice and Dissent" mock trial class.
  • Jan  Yale Club of Chicago, "Media-based school and police reform", led panel discussion with participants from the West Side and Chicago media.
  • Jun  Keepin' it Real, school newspaper for John Marshall High School, 3250 West Adams Street, Chicago. Editorial Supervisor. With The Austin Voice, oversaw production of this 16-page, 40-photograph, student-written school paper, of which 6,000 copies were distributed at school and throughout the Marshall school community.                                                          
    • Paper credited by Marshall Principal Donald Pittman with attracting 200 students to Marshall next fall. 
    • Project funded by Chicago Board of Education and in advertising secured by Marshall student ad salesmen from local businesses 
  • May Meeting at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism to discuss Medill's recent study of the state of local Chicago TV news, as discussed in this column by Sun-Times media critic Robert Feder and this 1992 New York Times op ed piece by former president of PBS and NBS News Lawrence K. Grossman.   
  • Austin Youth Advisory Council. Scheduled and hosted monthly meetings of at-risk Austin youth and Austin 15th Police District Commander John Richardson aimed at building mutual respect and reducing police misconduct.
  • 1997-2002 Austin Drug Area Shutdown Program Partnership with THE AUSTIN VOICE and Chicago Civic Media. Worked with 15th District (Austin) Police Commander John Richardson and Austin citizens and community groups.                                   For full documentation see >>
    • Project objective: a media-enhanced community policing resulting in the identification and long-term shutdown of Austin's public drug dealing hot spots.
    • Held two public events attracting over 400 attendees, the largest such ever held in Austin.
    • With community and police input, developed a list of 71 public drug dealing areas. 
    • Devised quantified shutdown objectives, wrote newspaper articles, coordinated communication among The Austin Voice, WVON and WGCI-AM radio (The Cliff Kelley Show), The Chicago Sun-Times (columnist Dennis Byrne), network and cable television, 15th District police, and community groups.
  • Nov Midwest Radical Scholars Conference, Roosevelt University. Organized a 90-minute workshop on Media-based School Reform taped for Chicago Cable TV, hosted by WVON radio personality Cliff Kelley and held at Roosevelt University.                                                     See 1996 >> 
  • Jul Aug Produced and hosted two "Hear Me Now"Cable TV talk shows (60 and 30 minutes) featuring youth/adult dialogues. Shows repeatedly aired on Chicago Access Network (CAN TV).                                                               See 1996 >> 
  • Apr Aug "No Media Day" Flyers for one (Nielson rating) day boycott of Chicago media for its neglect of Chicago students working positively to protest                            See 1996 >>
  • Mar Prime Time Civic Media Bill. Based on the 1934 Federal Communications Charter vesting of ownership of the nation's broadcast airwaves in the American people, this Bill would require all radio and TV broadcast licensees, local and national, to set aside two weekly hours of prime-time air time for programming dedicated to making citizens and go vernment responsive and accountable to each other.
  • Feb Chicago Student Petition to the Chicago Media. Coordinator. Helped Chicago high student leaders develop a petition calling on the Chicago media to make allies of young people and adults in defining and solving the problems affecting the lives of Chicago youth.      See Petition 1996 >> 
  • Nov Spent nine days in Guatemala City as member of Midwest Guatemala Support Network (GSN) election monitoring task force. Drafted 8-page Report on the Nov 12 Presidential Election. Helped distribute report via Internet to hundreds of peace groups worldwide. Secured coverage from Reuters International. See >>  
  • Jan Chicago LSC Student Representatives School Communications Bill. Supervised development of this bill by five student reps who conducted 30-minute interviews with 54  student LSC reps. Student reps deemed the provisions of this bill as critical to minimally effective student rep participation in Chicago's high school Local School Councils. Although interfered with enactment of this bill, it stands as a valuable resource for LSCs today.                            See 1995 Oct >>

  • Oct 27 For the CityWide Coalition for School Reform, organized Two Education in Media Workshops held at the Citizens Schools Committee Conference held at Malcolm X College 
  • Chicago Education Network (CENter). This group of school reform activsts and educators, headquartered at Roosevelt University, spent six months exploring the possibility of an integrated, multi-media, education-centered network of public, community, online and mainstream Chicago media. Served as Board member, staff member. Had responsibilities for helping to craft mission statement, for developing and implementing the CENter network of cooperating media, and for securing  press coverage.
  • Run the first of seven marathons (four Marine Corps, three Chicago)
  • Oct "Modern Criticism and Fielding's Irony," paper presented at the annual conference of the Midwestern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Toledo, Ohio. 
  • Oct 1993-May 1994 Chicago Education Network (CENter), affiliated with Roosevelt University
    • Member, Interim Board of Directors and NewsCENter Coordinator (full time position). 
    • Helped develop CENter mission statement and multimedia conceptual framework. As NewsCENter Coordinator, wrote stories and developed a comprehensive plan to integrate Chicago community newspapers with CENter's multimedia education forums.
  • Chicago New Media Coalition A project to advance the concept of media-based school reform. From it came proposals for the Chicago Town Meeting and the Chicago Newspaper Education Page. Endorsers include William F. Buckley, Prof. Noam Chomsky, and Rev. William Sloane Coffin.
  • Feb-Jun Thorp Elementary School, 86th and Buffalo, Chicago. Volunteer teacher's aid to "BD" (Behavior Disordered) class taught by Susan Nichols. Conducted biweekly tutoring and discussion sessions with all nine students, ages 11-14, diagnosed as behaviorally disordered. All came from troubled families and were affiliated with gangs. See 50-page Thorpe School Journal 1993 >>
  • Nov 23  "The Chicago Town Meeting" Proposal for interactive TV programming addressing the problems that threaten Chicago area children, schools and neighborhoods", with contributions from past COS Superintendent Prof Charles Almo, past CPS board Member Martha Jantho and WVON radio personality Cliff Kelley.
  • May through Aug '93. LSC Student Representative Coalition convened by Emile Scheppers of the Citizens' Information Service
    • Worked with this group of 65 of the 73 student-elected representatives to Chicago's high school Local School Councils. (See 1995, School Communications Bill)
  • Mar I report on Mayor Richard M. Daley's remarks about gangs and drugs to fifty YMCA Youth Alderman at the Bismark Hotel, Chicago. 
  • Oct 27 Citizens Schools Committee hosts Two Education in Media Workshops.
  • Summer Named Chair, Media Task Force of City-Wide Coalition for School Reform.                              See two publications, 1990 >>

  • Founded precursor to Chicago Civic Media (CCM): Chicago Civic Media Project and National Education Dialogue. Director. CCM has pioneered the field of civic media in Chicago.
  • Summer. With members of the City Club Education Committee, convened Chicago's three key public, private, and parochial school administrators and arranged for them to meet privately to prepare a plan for an ongoing citywide education dialogue (via radio & TV talk shows, newspaper op ed pieces) focused on the past, present and future of Chicago's schools.
    • Scheduled to be announced at a City Club luncheon in October, 1987, the this project was delayed and disrupted by the three-week CPS teacher strike of October 1987.
  • Instructor, Henry Fielding Seminar, Newberry Library Lyceum Seminars, Chicago.
  • Citizens Schools Committee. Board Member and member, 1987-91.
    • Organized the first-ever 1994 Chicago Mayoral Candidates Education Forum, 2/14/89.
    • Supervised publicity for 1990 CSC annual awards dinner and two 1990 CSC school reform conferences attracting a total of 1,700 participants.
  • 1984-96 member, Illinois Advisory Committee on NonPublic Schools (IACNPS)
    • served as 1986 Representative of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) to this statewide nonpublic school lobbying group. 
    • 1985 IACNPS representative to the Illinois Teacher of the Year selection committee
  • 1981-1989 City Club of Chicago, Education Committee, Chairman. Club achievements >>
  • Letter of Reference from retired CPS principal Margaret Junker
  • 1980-1986 Thomas Jefferson Academy, 1126 W. Grace Street, Chicago, an independent elementary school (K-8) for 80 Chicago boys and girls, Headmaster.



Here's the New Chicago Way GoFundMe.

  • Dec 21 - Making Chicago Safe the New Chicago Way Three reasons - a new mayor, new uses of media and empowered citizenship - why the sea-change year of 2019 set the stage for Chicago make itself the "safest big city in America." 
  • Jul 13 - Following a July 11 MacArthur Foundation event
  • March 2 Following the February 29 mayoral primary election

  • February 7 - In advance of the February 26 mayoral primary
  • Dec 18 - Our four-part case for Chicago FIXIT begins with a call for Violence Solution (as opposed to Violence Reduction)
  • Dec 12. Appearing in the Glenview Journal: Making Democracy Work Again, makes the case for issue-centered FIXIT political discourse as an alternative and corrective to America's money-driven election-centered  political discourse system.
  • Aug 11. Two new Chicago FIXIT graphics. This one illustrates the FIXIT media universe in Chicago:
... and this one gives an overview of a 32-week season of Chicago FIXIT:

  • Jul 30 This is our frequently-updated four minute introduction to Chicago FIXIT:

  • Jul 28 Proposal to Chicago Google Developers Group. Our pitch: Chicago is the poster child for urban violence in America. That's the downside. The upside is that Chicago is poised to solve its violence problem and show other American cities how to do likewise. In this talk, I'll propose that GDG invite Google to help Chicago digitally reinvent itself so the city can more effectively address its violence crisis. Specifically, I'll suggest that GDG ask Google to support the work of Chicago coders in creating and maintaining Google sites and databases of violence reduction resources that will give all Chicagoans the information, resources and public forums they need in order first to turn the corner on Chicago's violence and then to make Chicago a safe place to live, work, visit and raise a family in. This is a game-changing idea. It will change media coverage of violence in Chicago.

On July 1 Greg Hinz wrote in Crain's Chicago Business that broken government in Springfield and Washington is due to a lack of good old-fashioned dealmakers. In response, I arguein this Medium post that good government in a digital age requires political discourse that makes politicians and citizens responsive and accountable to each other shaping the best futures of their communities at local, state and national levels.
  • Jun 13 These two short "Ready to Rumble" videos by CCM Director Steve Sewall set the stage for how America can save its failed bi-partisan, election-centered political discourse system. The solution is to supplement this polarizing discourse with issue-centered discourse that de-polarizes politics by making citizens and governments responsive and accountable to each other. So are ready to rumble? If so, center stage are transformative Civic Media formats, below, that we've developed over the years:
Could This Be the Recent Past and Near Future of American Political Discourse?
(The aim of the second is to restore integrity and functionality to the first.)
  • Apr 21  The Plight of Political Discourse in Chicago, Illustrated... This short, polemical blog post sets the YouTube video of the April 4, 2017 Sun-Times interview of Mayor Emanuel in the larger context of how Chicago's print/electronic media could be used to strengthen Chicago by improving two-way communication between Chicagoan and City Hall. 
Chi Cago Sun-Times    
  • Nov 8  Towards a Non-Partisan, Issue-Centered, Outcome-Oriented Political Discourse System for America This election-eve piece bypassed the question of who would win the election in order to raise and answer a larger and, I think, more important question: "The first step towards the restoration of functionality to American politics is general agreement on the nature of our existing political discourse system and why it is failing us so disastrously at local, state and national levels".
For our purposes here, it matters NOT who won the election!
  • Jun 14 Chicago: Tipping Point or Turning Point? Set in year 2026, this 600-word future history shows how a new kind of political media enabled Chicago, Illinois and the United States to reverse decades of political polarization and government dysfunction.

An imaginary "Future History" showing how a civic-minded Illinois governor could have saved his state endless amounts of misery and billions in cold cash.

  • Dec 2.  3800 word article "Chicago Flashback: How Daniel Burnham, redivivus, inspired the Chicago Tribune's New Plan of Chicago."
  For what purpose was this ornate 8-windowed inner sanctum placed 
at the top of Gothic the Tribune Tower? It's all laid out here!  
  • Sep 6.  The Flyer below is for the half-day conference of the Parents Political University in Austin.
Austin Voice flyer for the Sep 6 Parents Political University Conference
  • Jun 25. CCM is active with The Austin Voice, Illinois State Representative La Shawn K Ford, and other Austin leaders in creating and building the Parents Political University (PPU) of Austin. A brief history of PPU and all of its documents are housed as the website above.
8th District State Rep LaShawn K. Ford with Austin teens at the Sep 6 PPU Action Conference.
  • May 14 (ongoing) Running commentary on the state of Chicago media and Chicago civic discourse is at Chicago Civic Recent emphasis is on the Chicago Tribune's "New Plan of Chicago": its strengths, weakness, and reception by the public.

  • May 13 Suggestion in response to this May 12 video of senior staff and writers of the Chicago Sun-Times participating in the Chicago Community Trust's On The Table event.
  • May 12 CCM creates Table #16 at Billy Goat's tavern in the Look as part of the Chicago Community Trust's "On The Table" event inviting 10,000 Chicagoans to "Pull up a chair and plan Chicago's future"
    • CCT pagefor Table #16
    • Post-mortem of the On The Table event posted at CCM Blog.
    • CCM's answers to the question we put to our eight guests on May 12: How can dynamic uses of PRINT and ELECTRONIC media empower CHICAGOANS OF ALL AGES to address YOUTH VIOLENCE as no American city has ever done before?
Portrait of a Wise Man

  • Feb 24  "Bottom Up, Top Down, and In Between:Thoughts on the Chicago Tribune’s “New Plan of Chicago”, a 4,000 word article arguing that youth violence in Chicago has always, and equally, been a public safety (police) problem, a public health (medical) problem and a public communications (media) problem.
  • The Austin Compact, Parts I and II
    • Dec 31 2013 Austin Compact I: Informal three-page Email to Harvard Club President Ked Fairbank and Harvard Sociologist Felton Earls proposing the Austin Compact:
    • Jun 17 2014 Austin Compact II: Five-page "Future History", "The Austin Compact: Looking Back from 2025" that gives a sunny account from the year 2525 of the ten-year progress of the The Austin Compact following its implementation by Austin residents and leaders in 2015.
    • Jun 17 2014 This account describes the outcomes to date of the The Austin Compact.
  • Instructor of English, Oakton Community College (2009-2013). A full account of my teaching is at Five Years at Oakton.
  • Work with AUSTIN VOICE
    • Nov 20 Police Misconduct meeting (download flyer).
    • Jul 7 Secured coverage by Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell of AUSTIN VOICE picnic for Maniac Insane Gangster Disciple gang members (the Insanes are rivals to the so-called L Street Crew whose territory on North Ave is east of 53rd Street dividing line that divides these two groups). Members of the L Street Crew work for the the AUSTIN VOICE, whose offices are 5236 W North Ave.   
  • Blog Weathering the Storm. "The World Since the Global Meltdown of 2007-2008", maintained since 2008. An English teacher's foray into the essential if dismal science of economics, informed by the writings of Michael Hudson, John Authers. Martin Wolf, Peter Coy, Charles R. Morris, Floyd Norris, Saskia Sassen, Yves Smith, Larry "King Dollar" Kudlow, Mike Whitney, David Brooks, John Bogle, David Cay Johnston, and Steve Randy Waldman.
  • Sep CCM America's Choice blog post calls for an a new, citizen-participatory approach to Chicago's gang/drug problem fueled by a Daniel Burnham-scale transformation of Chicago's media.
  • Jan Blog The New Vulgate refers to Chicago Reader 40th Anniversary post and quotes from "Inside the Challenge, 1972" by Steve Sewall & Olimpia Guerriero. (scroll down to post)

  • May  Weathering the Storm, a blog about the Global Financial Meltdown ("The Great Recession") and its aftermath. Maintained until Sep, 2012.

  • May Daily Kos article, "Yale, Harvard, Political Dynasty and the Case for Civic Media"
    • Jan  "" proposal for an interactive citywide hyperlocal news and information platform to submitted to the Knight Foundation News Challenge
  • WRKS Flyer showing how Chicagoans can use the site
  • Jan Science Blogs "American Whitewash: Michael Barone's Meanduring Return to Royalism", my Response Barone's accemptance of political dynasty in his "Royalism in American Politics"
  • America's Choice Treatment for nationally televised, politically-themed voter-driven Reality TV
2003 - 2004
  • Dec 14  Supplied Chicago Sun-Times columnist Dennis Byrne with idea and information for column, "Taking back streets in Austin" commending the Austin Drug Area Shutdown program.


  • West Side Drug Area Shutdown Project materials are here.
  • Jun "Keepin' It Real" 16 page Marshall High School school newspaper
    • All sixteen pages of the paper are here
    • "Undiscovered Iz Me" poem by Marshall Sophomore Shannon Phillips that speaks to the spirit that imbued this newspaper and the potential of this school.
    • Dec 12  Chicago Reader. In his "Hot Type"; column "Who Killed Marshall High's Newspaper," media writer Michael Miner describes "Keepin' It Real" as "a blessing to a troubled school". 
    • Jan 1998 Chicago Reader cover story by Grant Pick, "Black and White and Feared All Over", on AUSTIN VOICE editor Brad Cummings asserts that "Keepin' It Real" delighted both the Marshall administration and its student writers and editors."


  • Nov 16 Civic Media Workshop at Midwest Radical Scholars Conference
  • Oct Chicago Reader, Letter to the Editor written in defense of WVON talk radio in response to a column by media critic Michael Miner
    • Letter is quoted by Catherine Squires in her article, "Black Audiences, Past and Present: Commonsense Media Critics and Activists"
  • Jul 26 1996 - 1997 - 1998 Three early versions of the main home page of the Chicago Civic Media Project website produced using an Hot Dog HTML editor after a 1994 course taken at Columbia College.
  • Run-up to 1996 Democratic National Convention Secured extensive publicity for CCMP, Student Alliance, and other groups in Chicago Defender, Chicago Sun-Times, WVON and WGCI radio, and Chicago Access Cable TV.




  • Dec National Education Dialogue. Ten page New Media Letter signed by twelve local and national educators and journalists sent to six recipients.
  • Oct Chicago Reader "Reader to Reader" feature: brief piece recounting the interactions of a teacher with his students.
  • Jan-Jun Thorp Elementary School Journal (50 pages) A diary of my six months of volunteer in a class of a dozen students diagnosed as behavior disordered ("BD") in this school at 86th and Buffalo on Chicago's far south side.
  • Sep 19  Op Ed "City Students Can Have an Impact" appears in Chicago Sun-Times.


  • Dec  Primary author of Chicago Town Meeting, proposal for a weekly televised public forums integrating features of the traditional New England Town Meeting and the modern TV talk show.
  • Sep 19 Chicago Sun-Times OpEd "What Should We Do to Upgrade Schools?" has a brief account of Mayor Daley's remarks to the Youth Aldermen.
    • 2014 My Full Account of Mayor Richard M. Daley's March 12 1992 remarks to fifty YMCA Youth Alderman at the Bismark Hotel, Chicago


  • Nov  With fellow school reformers Jerry Edwards and Dan Donegan, Initiated weekly column for community newspapers, "Let's Talk Education," that ran for a year in the Southwest News-Herald and The Austin Voice.



  • Oct 6 Primary author of the Chicago Education Page, a 22-page proposal for an ongoing reader-participatory newspaper education section, comparable to a business or sports page, written with the input of Chicago's three key school administrators, public (Charles Almo), parochial (Sr. Mary Brian Costello), and nonpublic (IACNPS Chairman Alvin Vanden Bosch).
    • Submitted proposal to the Chicago Defender,
    • SubmittedChicago Sun-Times (Publisher Charles Price) and, in the company of the three above-named key administrators, with Publisher James Squires of the Chicago Tribune, who declared flatly that this page "would be a waste of your time and my paper".
    • Sun-Times publisher Charles Price thought otherwise. Here is the cover page of our proposal, with his ("C.P.") note to his staff: "There is much food for thought here".  Price, however, would left the Sun-Times after the paper was sold to an out-of-state buyer in 1991, as I recall.
  • Sep 22  Sun-Times "Get Out the Vote" Supplement Conceived of and advocated to  Sun-Times Publisher Charles Price this special 20-page newspaper supplement, 400,000 copies of which appeared in the 9/22/89 edition of the Sun-Times. This supplement was widely credited by school reformers with increasing voter turnout and LSC candidacies that marked Chicago's first highly successful LSC elections.


  • Nov Education and Economy in the Information Age, unpublished 50-page monograph.


  • Nov 6 OpEd co-authored with historian of Chicago Kenan Heise, "A Mary Herrick Sampler," Chicago Tribune, based on her The Chicago Schools: A Social and Political History (1979), the finest history of a major city school system ever written.


  • Thomas Jefferson Academy
    • 1984 Cartoon by gifted sixth grade TJA student Leonard Pugh
    • 1983 TJA Brochure Cover and Inside
    • 1983 "New School For Chicago" article written for Hopkins Alumni Magazine (my alma mater)
    • Jul 25 Front-page Chicago Tribune column by Jack Mabley "It's Back to Basics for private school" introduces Thomas Jefferson Academy to Tribune readers.
  • Chicago Daily News, "How Crime Rides the Night El" written following 80 nights spent riding the Howard/Jackson-Englewood (now Red Line) El interviewing conductors, motormen, passengers and pickpockets known as jackrollers