When I was in Chicago last June, we stopped in at Tribune Tower. My hub and I both graduated from journalism school at Northern Illinois University, and Tribune Tower is a bit of a shrine to us. My feelings were mixed. Always proud of my journalism background, I am so thankful for the tools it has given me, and the liberties it afforded me, but also, deeply saddened by the current struggles of newspapers and print journalism. As I read the lofty quotations etched in stone and the ethical standards they support, I was deeply moved. My eyes stung and my throat tightened. I was home, inside the heart of a truly great newspaper.
This past year has been a time to regroup, reorganize and reassess before moving ahead with new projects. The plan has gone very well, and this particular visit fit right in with it. I know I am on the right track with my writing and biographical research as I search for truth in history, and seek ways to preserve stories of pioneers, and share them with those who learn from them and find them interesting.
When we were in journalism school, our hero was editorial writer Mike Royko. Our class at NIU presented him with the first Illinois Journalist of the Year award, which became an ongoing tradition. Mike came out to our school banquet to accept his award, then attended a celebration beer party with our bunch of 70’s era j-students afterwards. We were starstruck. Mike Royko was our superstar, and he was drinking beer with us!! It didn’t get any better.
My hubby and I soaked up the journalistic ambiance of Tribune Tower, took stock of our feelings, then did the right thing. We found the original Billy Goats Tavern underneath Michigan Avenue, bought two beers, and toasted the ghost of Mike Royko, who visited there regularly while alive. Sometimes it is best to overlook the sadness and celebrate all the good that comes from a solid foundation built on tradition and ethics. And … it is about time to start a new project.