Rock it or Closet it – Chicago’s Sneaker Culture

By Alexis Culmer

Medill Reports

Chicago has been an epicenter for sneaker culture since Michael Jordan set the bar with his Air Jordan 1. But how has the industry evolved since then? Find out what some of the prominent figures in Chicago sneaker culture have to say.

Photo at top: Pedro Loza shows off his collection of rare sneakers (Alexis Culmer/MEDILL)

Stop The Violence

By Richard Foster-Shelton
Medill Reports

In recent years, Chicago has made international headlines for the sky-high murder rates in the city. Unfortunately, this problem has cast a shadow on the people that are doing their part to reverse the trend. During this episode of Medill Newsmakers, Richard Foster-Shelton highlights the people in Chicago that are making a positive impact – from 1st District Commissioner Richard Boykin to Jenesis Scullark of the Jeremy Scullark Foundation.

Photo at top: Chicago’s iconic skyline masks the truth about the city. (Richard Foster-Shelton/MEDILL)


Basketball analytics: From the NBA to your local court

By Lauren Rosen
Medill Reports

From NBA front offices to recreational leagues in Chicago, basketball and analytics have become almost impossible to separate. From Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s to Daryl Morey’s Houston Rockets, find out how an analytics revolution has taken basketball by storm.

Photo at top: The net at a Lincoln Park court. Not pictured: Countless recreational players imitating Steph Curry. (Lauren Rosen/MEDILL)

Local blogger on healthy food in Chicago and beyond

Loumay Alesali
Medill Reports

From Havana to Athens to Lima and many more destinations around the world, Sapna the Chicago vegetarian traveler, blogger and Instagrammer delivers international journeys to people’s fingertips with one click, or swipe.

She started her blog,, six years ago to share her traveling experiences with people and help them find the best of food out there in the U.S. and anywhere abroad. Her 15,000 followers on Instagram turn to her when they want to find restaurants that accommodate their vegetarian and gluten free dietary needs. Sapna’s goal is to make it easier for people to experiment with food while traveling and escape the daunting fear of food restriction.
“It makes places less scary, so that you yourself can feel comfortable, like okay I’ve seen all these pictures on Instagram or I’ve read a couple of blogs and people said it’s okay not to worry,” Sapna said.
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The Second City: A comedic journey through Chicago

By Daniel Comer
Medill Reports

Chicago has long been known for its bustling comedy culture. In this newscast, we take you on a behind-the-scenes journey through the city, stopping at classic comedy venues where comedy stars of past and present are born.

Photo at top: Mural at The Second City Training Center depicting some of the theater’s famous alumni in comedy. (Daniel Comer/MEDILL)

None and Done

By Jonathan Skinner
Medill Reports

The “one and done” rule, put in place by the NBA, requires basketball players to be one year removed from their high school graduation before entering the draft. The debate about the need for the rule has been active since its inception. In this Medill Newsmakers episode we examine the reason for the rule’s existence and the options that top high school prospects have outside of going to college for one year.

Photo at top: NBA Logo from Draft Combine. (Jonathan Skinner/MEDILL)

The “new” news in Chicago

By Ashley Graham

The news landscape is changing even for major news markets like Chicago. In this Medill Newsmakers segment we take a closer look at hyperlocal news efforts in the city.

Photo at top: A man watches the local news in downtown Chicago.(Ashley Graham/MEDILL)

All Stars of Flag Football

By Sunday Ely
Medill Reports

Flag Football and tackle football can work hand in hand. Pop Warner leagues have dwindled around the country. Some argue it’s due to unnecessary hits to the brains of children.  That has many parents concerned. Increasingly flag football leagues are replacing the once coveted Saturday morning football runs against neighboring city teams.

There are upsides to flag football, such as safety and more room in your dad’s van. Yet sports fans struggle with the notion that flag football is soft and doesn’t prepare kids for the toughness of the game.

No matter where you stand on this issue, take a journey with Medill Newsmakers as we explore the rise of flag football.

Don’t forget to join the conversation on social @sundayely on Twitter and @sundaytravels just about everywhere else.

Photo at top: Flag Star Football (Courtesy of: Flag Star Football)

Medill Newsmakers: EFT Sports Performance

By Connor Yahn
Medill Reports

EFT Sports Performance has become a renowned training facility in part because of the famous athletes that have trained there. The jerseys of Matt Forte, Devin Hester and Rashaan Melvin hang on the walls among many others, but EFT has developed into much more than just a gym for the big names. Through the Beyond Sports Foundation, EFT continually helps under-resourced families provide tutoring and physical training to high school student-athletes in the hopes of them earning life-changing college scholarships. This edition of Medill Newsmakers gives you an inside look at the EFT and the Beyond Sports Foundation.

Photo at top: Wisconsin wide receiver Adam Krumholz working out in the offseason at EFT Sports Performance. (Connor Yahn/MEDILL)

Special Olympics Chicago: Inspiring athletes for 50 years.

By Jake Riepma
Medill Reports

Special Olympics was born in the heart of Chicago in 1968. This year marks the 50th anniversary for this incredible organization. Take a look at the action, and hear the heartwarming and inspirational stories from athletes, coaches, and volunteers.

Photo at top: Medill Reporter Jake Riepma celebrates with Special Olympians at the Chicago Spring Games. (Jake Riepma/MEDILL)