How I got the shot

Sunday, February 21, 2021
My recent post about landing my first COVID-19 shot drew the inevitable surge of questions from people asking, “How’d you do it?”

Acknowledging that ever-evolving protocol may have changed by the time you read this—but in the interest of helping others and spotlighting the challenges faced by those who don’t have or aren’t used to computers—here’s the step-by-step I used:

A friend familiar with Rush University Medical Center’s vaccine logistics advised me that Rush sometimes gets (or through cancellations winds up with) extra doses—and that those typically become available at or after 4 or 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays for those ready and willing to snag a last-minute same-day appointment.

My friend explained that the vaccines can go 
not just to Rush patients but also to anyone who’s currently eligible under state or city guidelines* and who’s signed up via Rush’s free online portal, “My Rush powered by MyChart.”

If you’re a Rush patient, you’re probably already in the system. I hadn’t been to Rush for more than a decade, so I signed up as a Guy Nobody Sent:

You simply enter some basic information—including the last four digits of your Social Security number—to get an activation code that puts you in the system within seconds.

Then, it’s just a matter of checking the Rush signup page relentlessly.

But getting to that page isn’t intuitive:

Once you’ve logged in, the trick is to click on the Menu icon in the upper lefthand corner and then the “Schedule an Appointment” dropdown option.

Then, click “COVID Vaccine for Eligible Patients.”

Next, a few quick questions about your eligibility, a pledge to cancel your appointment should your situation change, affirmation you’ve read the fine print, acknowledgment of any allergies you may have … and then you’re on a quest no doubt familiar to anyone who’s been in the hunt for tickets to a big concert. (Remember concerts?)

That includes having to answer those same questions over and over again.

If fate smiles on you, a bunch of same-day appointments will show up right off the bat. In my case, at 4 p.m. Feb. 18, I saw a batch of openings for March 10. But by the time I entered my insurance information—not required, but if you’re going to enter it, do so in advance!—they were all gone.

I tried again around 4:28, and a few dozen appointments appeared for that very evening. Unthinkingly, I grabbed 5:20, before realizing Gee, that’s less than an hour from now!

I bolted out the door—all the while cursing myself, Would it have killed you to wait until 7?—and made it in time.

Note: Rush schedules a second shot at the time you get the first.

To recap: The main obstacles, aside from being lucky—and lucky enough to have a computer and an internet connection—are …

1. Creating a My Rush profile—entering insurance information if you have it—in advance.
2. Clicking that Menu icon in the upper lefthand corner.

Now imagine not having a computer and an internet connection.

And say an extra prayer for those who don’t.

* I’m 66.

Email pioneer Aaron Barnhart interviewed in 1996

Monday, February 8, 2021

Of all the interviews I’ve conducted, none have influenced my career more than this 1996 sit-down with Aaron Barnhart, whose Late Show News newsletter pioneered the email news biz.

Listen to us discuss his model for how, in my words, “a lot of us in this profession will … do our work in the future” and you’ll hear the siren call that two years later would draw me from radio to the internet—and, not much later, to lead the Chicago Tribune’s email program.

Decades later, Barnhart’s work inspired the launch of Chicago Public Square.

First aired June 23, 1996, this show remains great and relevant listening, and it spotlights Aaron as one of the internet’s early visionaries.

Also: A cool time-capsule about the state of late-night TV in 1996.

Listen here.

If you like this, check out more of my conversations with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in Apple Music, on Spotify, via your favorite podcast player and at Chicago Public Square.

Chicago 7 lawyer William Kunstler in 1994: That trial ‘changed me totally'

Friday, October 16, 2020

Prepping to watch The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix, I revisited my Sept. 16, 1994, interview with The 7’s defense lawyer, William Kunstler, who told me then that the trial “changed me totally. …

“I never knew what it was to really fight until I watched Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Dave Dellinger, Hayden and so on fight in a courtroom—do things that would make the jury understand that they were being persecuted: Bringing in a birthday cake for Bobby Seale, a Viet Cong flag on their table, standing out and protesting the binding and gagging of Bobby Seale in the courtroom.

“There were so many things they did that showed they were fighting—they weren’t gonna sit there like bumps on a log and be railroaded.

“And the net result was they won.”

I realized I never shared this file to this blog and the accompanying podcast series. So here you go.

Check out more of my conversations with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in Apple Music, on Spotify, via your favorite podcast player and at Chicago Public Square.

What is Meyerson Strategy?

Monday, October 12, 2020
Meyerson Strategy is intelligence gained from more than two decades watching audience behavior, often minute-by-minute, at some of Chicago’s most prominent digital news operations—including the Chicago Tribune.

Meyerson Strategy is insight built on decades in radio—where the mantra “Don’t be a tuneout” is baked into every story. Radio has fought tuneout almost from its inception. Now, when every organization finds its competition just a click away, “being a tuneout” is something no organization can afford.

Meyerson Strategy is innovation, honed on the startup frontier.

Meyerson Strategy is training, based on years of college lecturing and business consulting (American Bar Association, Crain Communications, Northwestern University, American Institutes for Research, Boeing Co., Direct Energy,, The Brief Lab, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and more).

Is your email newsletter going unopened? Is your website unvisited? Are your Facebook posts unshared? Is your podcast falling flat? Is your staff daunted by audience metrics? Meyerson Strategy will work for you.

A case study

A major professional organization, concerned its content wasn’t delivering the audience it could, asked for help. Meyerson Strategy gathered available analytics and then dissected subject lines, Web headlines and layout, social media performance, podcast structure and metrics.

That analysis demonstrated what was connecting and what wasn’t—and how to use insights from the one to improve performance of the other.

Outcome: Five successive months—and 10 of the following 12 months—of record pageviews for a site that previously hadn’t seen two successive record months. The owner of the company that helped develop the site calls the results “astonishing.”

Meyerson Strategy is about connecting great work with growing audiences—at the speed of news.

What is Meyerson Strategy? In a word: “Astonishing.”

If your great work needs to reach a larger audience, you need astonishing results.

You need Meyerson Strategy.

Read more recommendations.

Then email Meyerson Strategy.

Or call 708-TEQ-NEWS. Operators are standing by.