Spring 2019

How the Cubs impact Chicago high school baseball

By John Alfes
Medill Reports

From yearly scholarships to inner city leagues to Kerry Wood Cubs Field, the Cubs’ contributions to Chicago high school baseball are widespread. In this edition of Medill Newsmakers, America’s pastime takes a trip beyond the ivy walls of Wrigley Field.

Photo at top: The Lake View High School Wildcats baseball team is one of many programs that benefit from the Chicago Cubs’ contributions. (John Alfes/Medill)


Young female soccer journalists chase dreams through Football for Friendship program

By Drake Hills
Medill Reports

MADRID — More than 14 million people in the United States watched this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup final in France, beating the total for the men’s World Cup final one year ago and the previous Women’s World Cup title match in 2015. As the growth of country participants and its viewers continue, so may the total number of women capturing its moments.

USA Today, ESPN, The Athletic and the Los Angeles Times were just some of the media outlets represented by women covering the World Cup. Nancy Armour, Alyssa Roenigk, Meg Linehan and Helene Elliott, respectively, proved that women are emerging in sports press boxes around the globe.

Just a week before the tournament began, a series of youth soccer events were held at the Dehesa de Navalcarbón Sports Complex, found in the western limits of the Spanish capital. Nearly 100 12-year-olds representing 57 nations sported their ocean blue, green and white Football for Friendship jerseys, blending in as one soccer contingent. On the sideline closest to the stands were youth journalist participants. Since the Football for Friendship’s birth in 2013, a growing number of those aspiring storytellers have been girls. Continue reading

The Tiniest Terror: The unknown threats behind microplastics, and how researchers are trying to stop them

By Karyn Simpson
Medill Reports

Two summers ago, Lisa Erdle cast a net from a research vessel on Lake Ontario, dissected the unlucky fish in the boat’s laboratory, and placed each of their guts carefully in jars to be frozen and sent back to her lab in Toronto.

“You need a little bit of a strong stomach,” Erdle said of the gory work, but these macabre parcels weren’t the most disturbing product of that trip. It’s what can’t be seen at first glance that is most alarming.

Back at her lab, University of Toronto Ph.D. candidate Erdle puts her carefully stored fish guts through a chemical digestion process that eats away all the organic matter. It’s then that, through the microscope, she can start to see the tell-tale multicolored signs.


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GEICO City Series hopes to increase media exposure for high school baseball

By Ben Friedl
Medill Reports

High school baseball in urban-areas often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The GEICO Baseball City Series, a new all-star baseball tournament held in Chicago, Illinois with teams representing Chicago, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, is on a mission to change that.

“We want to give inner-cities a chance to showcase themselves, have a chance to be on television, and give them a sense of pride that they’re playing for their city,” said GEICO City Series executive director Rashid Ghazi.

Ghazi has experience with broadcasting high school sports showcases. He was heavily involved with televising LeBron’s first ever game on ESPN, and hopes this event, which was broadcast live on ESPNU, can spark popularity for nationally televised high school baseball.

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Chicago enforces stricter driving while texting laws

By Nicole Croteau                                                                                                    Medill Reports                                                                                                           

Starting in July of 2019 drivers using an electronic device, even just holding it, will be issued a moving violation rather than a ticket.

The moving violation will be placed on the driver’s record and a fine will also be issued. Infractions that are made following the initial time will result in increased fines, which can result in a driver’s license suspension.

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Chicago News Report

By Nicole Croteau, Max Goodman, Tim Hackett, Shannon Longworth and Karleigh Stone

Medill Reports

This week on Chicago News Report, we discuss the Jewish community rallying to end ICE, the gun violence surrounding Independence Day weekend and the CTA finalizing plans for baby-on-board buttons that they hope to be adding to the L.

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Gender identity and drag performance: A personal video essay

By Thomas Ilalaole
Medill Reports

For each queer person, our experiences and identities are as different and unique as we are. And each of us has a story about how we came to be who we are.

Abby Parmelee, Maxine Herndon and I all discovered our gender identities through the power and art of drag performance.

In this video essay, we discuss how we stand in solidarity with each other, and also with the many others who encompass the LGBTQ+ community.

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Salon welcomes self-care healing to Chicago’s south side community

By Ebony JJ Curry
Medill Reports

Studies have shown that African Americans face more stressors than other groups, because of the adversities the community encounters. To counter that added stress, Haji Healing Salon promotes a life-enhancing way of living to one’s highest potential by being internally healthy.

Born and raised in South Shore, Aya-Nikole Cook is the owner of Haji Healing Salon, a quaint space on 79th which specializes in community yoga and acupuncture as methods of healing undeserved communities.

Photo at top: Aya-Nikole Cook chats with a client before an acupuncture treatment at Haji Healing Salon in the East Chatham neighborhood of Chicago. (Ebony JJ Curry/MEDILL)

FriGay the 13th: A horror podcast from an LGBTQ perspective

By Andy Graham
Medill Reports

Andrew Huff and Matty Zaradich were frightened by the political rhetoric they heard directed at the LGBTQ community. So, they decided to combat the horrific things they heard with some horror of their own.

Since early 2018, Huff and Zaradich have used their podcast, “FriGay the 13th,” to talk about their favorite horror films and their experiences as gay men living in Chicago.

Operating out of their modest set-up in Huff’s Ravenswood home, the duo record alongside Andrew’s husband Michael and their dog Sonoma. The podcasts offer listeners a tongue-in-cheek look at horrors both real and fictional.
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Warhammer keeps fantasy alive on tabletops

By Andrew Sweeney
Medill Reports

Still angry about the last season of Game of Thrones and looking for a new fantasy world to lose yourself in? You need not wait for the next big HBO or Amazon show. There is a community near you, ready to join you in battle.

Warhammer is a series of tabletop battle games owned by British company Games Workshop. Players meet in the real world with real miniatures they paint and assemble themselves.

The hobby’s longevity in the digital age is remarkable, but what is more unique is the community that exists around Warhammer, and its rare and varied appeal.

In this video, players talk all things Warhammer — and the “unbridled creativity” it offers them — at Warhammer Glenview.

Photo at top: The inspiration for Warhammer comes from all aspects of popular culture, like these marines from the sci-fi horror film Aliens. (Andrew Sweeney/MEDILL)

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