By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
For those wondering about the title of this post, I’ll get to that shortly. But the crowd of current and former news men and women who gathered last night at a quirky downtown Chicago restaurant certainly know what the phrase embodies.
The event was a reunion of reporters and editors who worked at the legendary City News Bureau of Chicago. The adjective “legendary” gets tossed around a lot, but in this case it’s appropriate.
We gathered to help preserve the impact this now-gone local news wire service had on Chicago and the lives of those — like me — who had the opportunity to learn the hard news business in an environment that was always fascinating and hardly ever forgiving.
There were stories and memories recounted: The years worked at City News, surviving the midnight shift, how experience there led to the next job in the news business, and that seminal or most compelling story covered. The atmosphere was loud and embracing, with strangers becoming friends over a drink and conversation about the impact City News had on their lives.
A high-point came when Paul Zimbrakos, the long-time (and I mean decades-long)
city editor arrived. I waited my turn to greet Paul, who at first didn’t recognize me. After I gave my name, he noted without hesitation that I once called in sick due to a bee sting. How did he remember that instance, which took place 40 years ago! (For the record, I was stung in the neck by a wasp and swelled up like a side-show attraction.)
In conversations, I met people who moved on from City News to work in broadcast journalism and public affairs, or like me, leave the news business for public relations or another communications discipline.
I conversed over the din with one outstanding reporter who worked during my era — 1977 to 1979 — and we shared thoughts on our biggest, most memorable stories: His was going door-to-door in Bridgeport to get perspectives on the death in December of 1976 of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, mine was covering the exhuming of bodies from the home of convicted mass murder John Wayne Gacy in December of 1978.
As I rode the Blue Line home later that night, I felt proud and honored to have been a small cog in the news organization that nurtured true journalism. I look forward to the next reunion and the stories and memories they will bring.
Now, to the title. The message behind this phrase is simple and direct: Investigate, seek confirmation, gathering what’s believed to be the truth. If you don’t believe me, check it out.