I am pleased to welcome you to Eye on Chi, our new media criticism and appreciation blog, only at ChicagoNow. Here at Eye on Chi, our staff will guide you every day to the best and worst of Chicago media, sharing with you our favorite writers, reporters, and broadcasters in the city. Join us for our launch next Monday, July 25th! Until then, check back all week for introductions to our team and updates on Facebook and Twitter.
For now, I leave you with my favorite anecdote from Roger Ebert's marvelous ode to the newsroom, in which the young film reviewer gets a lesson on life in the big city while sharing a drink with the soon-to-be-legendary columnist, Mike Royko. We look forward to making Eye on Chi your guide to great Chicago journalism. If you enjoy Ebert's story as much as I do, I think you'll find yourself right at home.
Jack M Silverstein, publisher
From Ebert's blog, April 3, 2009: The best damn job in the whole damn world
At about 8 p.m. on New Year's Day of 1967, only two lights on the floor were burning--mine, and Royko's. It was too early for the graveyard shift to come in. Royko walked over to see who else was working. A historic snowstorm was beginning. He asked me how I was getting home. I said I'd take the train. He said he had his old man's Checker car and would drop me at a train station. He had to make a stop at a 24-hour drugstore right where the L crossed North Avenue.
The pharmacist was backed up. "Come on, kid," Royko said. "Let's have a drink at the eye-opener place." It was a bar under the tracks so cramped the bartender could serve everyone without leaving his stool. "Two blackberry brandies and short beers," he said. He told me, "Blackberry brandy is good for hangovers. You never get charged for a beer chaser." I sipped the brandy, and a warm place began to glow in my stomach. I had been in Chicago four months and I was sitting under the L tracks with Mike Royko in an eye-opener place. A Blackhawks game was playing on WGN radio. The team scored, and again, and again. This at last was life.
"The Blackhawks are really hot tonight," I observed to Royko.
He studied me. "Where you from, kid? Downstate?"
"Urbana," I said.
"Ever seen a hockey game?"
"That's what I thought, you asshole. "Those are the game highlights."