Statement on “Tough Times for Local Journalism” Panel

Due to concerns voiced from within and outside our organization, SPJ/ONA DePaul has decided to pull our sponsorship from the “Tough Times for Local Journalism” panel.

SPJ DePaul had no part in selecting the panelists. Our organization agreed to co-sponsor this event alongside the Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence before we were informed of who would be invited. Moving forward, we promise to be more diligent when making decisions regarding who we collaborate with.

SPJ DePaul does not agree with or support the sentiments Eric Zorn expressed in his April 6 column on the death of Adam Toledo. Had we known in advance that Zorn was going to be invited as a panelist, we would not have agreed to co-host this event. 

Nonetheless, we appreciate CJIE for extending us the opportunity to be a part of this panel and encourage everyone who is interested to attend. The event promises to offer some great conversations on the challenges in our industry and the future of journalism.


The Executive Board of SPJ/ONA DePaul

Published by spjonadepaul

Official website for DePaul University's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.

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  1. I’ve met and heard Eric Zorn speak at events prior. He and I wrote about the Jeannie Nicarico case 20+ years ago and he wrote his piece after me. We were on the same page back then on that. Funny how everyone can write, but only some get credit…

  2. I’ve read Eric Zorn’s column and he makes salient, lucid and cogent points. I lived in Chicago, went to Avondale Elementary School where gangs were shooting outside our windows and the school was on lockdown for hours. Then I went to Lane Tech and gangs, drugs, crime and violence were always a part of our lives growing up. None of us ever carried a gun and if the cops chased us, we dropped everything and didn’t do anything sudden. We were also harassed by CPD, and I had a detective pull a loaded gun on me once as well as my mom was strip searched by CPD, the ACLU won a class action lawsuit and she became a criminal defense atty. because of that. 13 year olds don’t understand how dangerous things can be and how shooting guns in the neighborhood can traumatize everyone involved. I lived in Chicago and know first hand the ravages of guns, drugs, gangs, violence and death. The points Zorn makes about withholding judgment are salient and valid and for sure he was not saying Toledo deserved to die, but pointing out the need to restrain kneejerk reactions until all the facts come out, as Adam’s family attorneys themselves said. Capitulating to public pressure does no one’s cause any good in the end. Mob rule should never rule was a point he was attempting to make and it’s valid.

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