Medill Newsmakers

Birdies & Bird Watchers: The Dispute Over Jackson Park’s Golf Course

By Casey Bannon
Medill Reports

In 1899, Jackson Park became the first golf course built west of the Allegheny Mountains. Two decades later, some of the first black men’s golf leagues were formed on the property. Now, over a century after the first golf shots were struck on Jackson Park’s fairways, its golf course is the center of South Shore’s attention once again.

In partnership with Golf Channel and NBC’s Mark Rolfing, Tiger Woods’ proposed design to combine Jackson Park and South Shore’s 27 holes into one destination, championship style track seems close to fruition. The Chicago Parks Golf Alliance has stated that the project will be 100 percent privately funded, will create new sources of revenue for the South Side community, possibly host a professional tournament and will help expose local youth to life’s beautiful game. However, nothing gets built on this historic ground without some noise.

The renovation’s detractors have claimed that the potential $60 million project is a deal done behind closed Chicago doors. That there isn’t enough data to support the course being an economic engine. That the logistics of such a complicated re-design are far away from a Spring 2019 groundbreaking. That the loss of conservation areas and recreation facilities are too steep of a price to pay for hopes of hosting a PGA Tour event. And that 18 high-end holes might actually be less inclusive than 27 cheap ones.

In a battle over what’s best for their beloved community, the two sides have similar motives– but very different ideas on going about revitalizing Jackson Park.

Photo at top: Youth caddies look on as South Shore locals tee off at Jackson Park. (Chicago Parks Golf Alliance)

What the world can learn from Israel’s water reuse programs

By Karyn Simpson
Medill Reports

Negev Desert, Israel – A country that is 70 percent desert faces a unique challenge in finding sustainable water sources, but by treating and reusing approximately 90 percent of its wastewater, Israel has done just that.

The small country is light years ahead of the rest of the globe – the next closest competitor is Spain, which reuses around 30 percent of wastewater, according to Dr. Jack Gilron, head of the department of desalination and water treatment at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research.

Yet Israel’s success in wastewater treatment and reuse likely won’t translate effectively to other countries.

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Big Ten Media Days continues with Urban Meyer and Lovie Smith

By Nick Mantas
Medill Reports

Day 2 of Big Ten Media Days featured coaches with different realistic goals. Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer is searching for another national title while Illinois Head Coach Lovie Smith is looking to win a single game in the Big Ten conference this year.

Our reporters weighed on on both coaches and how one team is looking to heal after a death in the off season.

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The state of youth sports in Chicago

By Jordan Klein and Juliana Sherry
Medill Reports

Two youth sports in Chicago are in a state of flux. In this episode of Medill Newsmakers, reporters Jordan Klein and Juliana Sherry examine the citywide participation shortages facing youth tackle football and youth baseball.

Photo at top: A young pitcher stares down his opponent before delivering his pitch. (Juliana Sherry/MEDILL)

Chicago’s political scene and opioid crisis

By Gabrielle Phifer and Holly Honderich
Medill Reports

Gabrielle Phifer speaks to community activist Ja’Mal Green who  at 22 years old, is the youngest candidate  running for Chicago mayor. Reporter Holly Honderich examines the opioid epidemic, which took nearly 1,000  Illinois lives in 2016.

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The Rise of Technology in Sports

By Olivia Reiner and Darren Zaslau
Medill Reports

In this episode of Medill Newsmakers, Olivia Reiner and Darren Zaslau investigate the impacts of sports technology on wearables and artificial intelligence.

Photo at top: Sports technology being used in soccer. (Olivia Reiner/MEDILL)

The pressure for success in Chicago sports

By: Nick Mantas and Aaron Rose
Medill Reports

The Chicago Bears and Bulls haven’t won a championship in this century. ESPN and Sun Times reporters weigh in on the reasons for what has led to their unsuccessful seasons and what next season could bring for both organizations. During  the second segment,  we talk about the challenges of raising a young Chicago basketball star.

PHOTO AT TOP: Chicago Bears practice drills in the off-season. (Nicholas Mantas/MEDILL)

Decline of baseball in the african-american community

By Brianna Williams
Medill Reports

The number of African-Americans in the MLB has declined throughout the years, and there are a number of factors to blame. In this edition of Medill Newsmakers Brianna Williams talks to players – past and present- to find out what is behind the trend.

Photo at top: (Ozzie Smith, MLB Player. (Brianna Williams/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)