Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 astronaut James A. Lovell interview: 'After we came back ... we got sued'

Sunday, December 23, 2018
JUNE 10, 1987: The time I interviewed astronaut James A. Lovell.

What a privilege to have had even these few minutes with a real hero -- a man whose work inspired me to become a journalist in the first place. (I wasn't going to become one of the astronauts, so why not get a job that would at least give me reason to talk to some of them?)

We began with a discussion of the religious controversy sparked by the Apollo 8 mission.


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

(Originally posted Oct. 21, 2012. Updated Dec. 23, 2018, to mark Apollo 8’s 50th anniversary.)


Recorded at Lovell's Centel Corp. office, outside Chicago. Raw audio, complete with malfunctioning microphones. (I'm waaay off-mic. Deal with it.) NASA photo, 1969.

Before it was Daywatch, I had other ideas

Friday, November 30, 2018
In November 1998, as I was getting ready to leave the radio news business to join the Chicago Tribune’s then-new “breaking news” project, I was asked to brainstorm concepts for what eventually would become Daywatch—a news blog before “blog” was a word, and, later, an email news briefing.

My suggestions to name the new project—and my design for logos to match—didn’t make the cut.

But, mainly just because I’ve stumbled across the images I mocked up back then, here they are anyway: Proof I chose well by opting against a career as a graphic designer.

TribCast
The idea was that the Tribune would bring you news in realtime—you know, sort of like a broadcast from the Tribune over the internet.

But this was before streaming audio and video was a thing, and this idea went nowhere.

Tower Ticker
Back in 1998, the name “Tower Ticker”—callback to a Tribune newspaper column of the past and to the wire machines that were going extinct around the same time—drew snickers from some of the team.

But, ironically, the name was resurrected a decade later as the title of another blog: The home of Phil Rosenthal’s media reporting—which is where, in 2011 2009, Phil broke the news that I was leaving the Tribune to return to radio as news director at the Trib’s then-sibling radio station, WGN.

Happily, although it doesn’t look like this anymore, Daywatch lives on as a daily email from the Trib. If you haven’t subscribed, you should.

And Daywatch paved the way for the startup I launched in January 2017: Chicago Public Square. You should check that out, too.

(Originally posted Dec. 9, 2015; updated Nov. 30, 2018—on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of my joining the Trib.)

We were warned of 'underground prejudice'

Sunday, November 18, 2018
(Updating this 2016 post of a 1997 interview that seems as timely as ever.)

In his 1997 book A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in AmericaPulitzer Prize-winner David K. Shipler documented a major split among Americans: “The divide between those who see racism and those who do not.”

And he sounded an alarm about what many then might not have perceived: “How much prejudice has gone underground since the civil rights movement.”

Here’s my Nov. 2, 1997, interview with Shipler.

Sadly, it doesn’t sound dated.



Related listening: A panel discussion I led in July 2016 on the future of integration. And this interview with Steve James about his acclaimed documentary series America to Me.

And check out even more of my other interviews with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in iTunes, on Spotify, via your favorite podcast player, and at Chicago Public Square.


(Originally posted to this blog Nov. 2, 2016.)

Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee: 'Nerdism is the highest state of mankind'

Monday, November 12, 2018
(Updated on the occasion of Stan Lee's death, Nov. 12, 2018.

Here’s Stan Lee, the man who created or co-created the core Marvel Comics universe, sitting down during C2E2 at age 94 for what his staff said was his last Chicago comics convention appearance. As you’ll hear, he had energy and enthusiasm to betray his age.

His interviewers: Adrian F.E. and Paola Alejandra. Recorded at C2E2 Chicago, April 21, 2017. (Photo from that day: @Malcchiato on Twitter.)



More: My interview with Stan Lee in 1998 and my first interview with him in 1975.

And check out other my other interviews with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in iTunes, on Spotify, via your favorite podcast player, and at Chicago Public Square.