Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Want to be on the radio with WGN's Rick Kogan?

Updated September 2010                                                                                                                          

Journalist Leah Pietrusiak made the top bid for being on the radio with Rick Kogan. She sat in with him as he had on other guests and she did a great job.  I asked her what inspired her to bid and what she'd want to talk about with Rick. Here's her reply:

When I was in journalism school and people would ask me what I wanted to write about, I would always say, "I just want to write about people." And when I first read Rick's "Sidewalks" column in the Trib, I was like, Ah! I want to meet him. I always thought about asking him out to lunch, but never went through with it.

I've thought about contacting him on and off over the years, for inspiration. I've been working on a book of short stories centered around my dad's parents and their house in Humboldt Park--my grampa, who passed away a year ago, lived in the same house in for over 80 years. It's the same three-flat I live in now, on the second floor apartment above my gramma. It's the house where my dad grew up and my uncles grew up, and their cousins too, on the floors above.

The book will basically be Chicago history told through my family's stories. My uncle once grabbed my dad's collar (my dad left the priesthood to marry my mom) to go out and see if he could help in any way during the Puerto Rican riots of the 60s and 70s. My grampa delivered bread by horse through the streets of Chicago. And my grandparents never moved out of Humboldt Park as the neighborhood changed; when it started becoming Puerto Rican, they stayed at the church they'd worshiped at for so long, welcomed their new neighbors, and learned to sing some of the songs in Spanish.

As I'm thinking about it, that's something I might like to talk about--and just about storytelling, and how Rick collects information. It'll motivate me to work more on the stories, in preparation for the show, and finally push through and get the book done. Rick Kogan and deadlines--two great motivators!

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For the benefit of the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago and its members in its AWJ-TV continuing education program, Tribune columnist and WGN Radio host Rick Kogan is allowing the association to auction the chance to be on his radio show.

The winner of this online/silent auction and three friends can join Rick in studio during his “The Sunday Papers” program, 6:30-9 a.m. Sundays, and get the chance to be on the air for a segment of the show. In addition, you’ll receive autographed copies of Rick “A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream,” his history of the Billy Goat, and “Sidewalks,” a collection of his Tribune columns, embellished by the photography of Kafein denizen Charles Osgood. Rick might also pop for coffee and donuts 'cause that's the kind of guy he is.

Bidding just started this morning.

Here's how it works:

Anyone within the sound of my voice--journalists and the public alike--is encouraged to bid on being on the radio with Rick. Bidding starts at $50. Bidders can up their bids in $5 increments. Bids should be sent to

Fine print: If there is more than one bid of $50, the first email received will hold that bid, a practice that will continue as the bids increase.  For example, if two bids come in for $100, the first one to arrive will hold the $100 spot until a higher bid is made.

Announcements of the amount and name of the high bidder will be emailed frequently to all bidders, but certainly as least once daily, early in the morning.

Bidders should include a name, address and telephone number on the bid email. The address and telephone number will not be shared, but your name will be included when the updated bid announcements are emailed.

Online bidding closes at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, the day before AWJ-Chicago annual summer picnic, where members can have one last chance to be the highest bidder. The winner will be announced the evening of July 29.

The Association for Women Journalists-Chicago has been supporting women in journalism and promoting fair and accurate treatment of women by the media since 1993. Its members include some of the most talented and influential journalists working in print, broadcast, online and academia on the planet.

If you have any questions, contact the multi-talented Terri Colby at
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I'm in my third year as president of the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago. I started its listserv 10 years ago.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Scenes from Evanston's Fourth of July Parade

I'd not been actually in a parade since dressing as a clown for a homecoming parade during my Niles North days. On the other hand, as a photojournalist I've walk with many a Fourth of July parade sometimes covering four in one day...and have gone with Joel to many he was covering. 

This year I chose to focus more on what was going on on the curb than in the street and had a good time just getting pictures of some neighbors.

Looking forward to your comments. If you know these folks and are up for sharing their names with me, I'd be appreciative.


The Vernon-Wallace clan (left to right): Tia Vernon Wallace, Mark Wallace, Michael Vernon, Robin Wallace surely being harassed by both her uncle Michael and her sister Robin Wallace.