Wrigley Field means more to Chicagoans than the victims of gun violence

Twenty-three-year-old Pierre Howlett, 27-year-old Darrin Rodgers and 19-year-old Tytrell Jackson were all shot at killed on the evening of Tuesday, April 30th and the early hours of Wednesday, May 1st. Seventeen other people were shot across the city over a 10 hour period of violence city-wide.

The return of summer-like weather meant many more gang members and common criminals were roaming the streets late into the night, finding trouble and taking lives.

Surely, this terrible night of violence would be the talk of Chicago during the day Wednesday.

Nope.

If you listened to talk radio in Chicago throughout the day or watched the evening news, this latest outbreak of violence was barely given any coverage.

The top story that everyone wanted to talk about was the formal proposal to renovate Wrigley Field.

It is easy to write a blog slamming local news directors, copy editors and TV news producers for abdicating their civic responsibility to report on issues of life and death in favor of a sexy story about an old ballpark in the middle of an upper class neighborhood in the least diverse part of the entire city.

I could rip on the newsrooms of Chicago for not putting this story on page 1 or making it the lead story on their news reports. However, I know that news is a business and the newsrooms have to respond to what their audience wants to hear about.

The Chicago audience doesn't want to hear about the tragic death of 3 more citizens, unless they were killed by a terrorist from a disputed territory in Russia. Chicagoans are sick of hearing about a dozen shootings in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. If a Caucasian wasn't involved or it didn't happen in a "low-crime" community, it's not news anymore.

What does it say about our collective Chicago community that our news reporters have to dedicate a quarter of their nightly report to a proposal about a ballpark that is at least a year away from having any real-world consequences and ignore a night of chaos that unfolded over less than 12 hours?

Throwing stones at the local media is fun and sometimes worth doing. Today, we have to look in the mirror. When you saw the news yesterday, were you as disgusted  as I was at the disproportionate coverage Wrigley Field received for a cosmetic make-over compared to the relatively meager coverage Pierre, Darrin and Tytrell received for their deaths?

I'm disgusted and I'm a Cubs fan. I can only image the feeling of the non-sports fans of the city.

Or at least I can hope you were as outraged as me.

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