Past Event

The (Untold) Stories Behind the Story: Chicago's Historic School Closings

How do you distinguish fact from fiction, opinion, or propaganda when it comes to stories in the news? This question is at the core of our Media Remix series. 

We will explore this question at The (Untold) Stories Behind the Story, using as context last year’s historic Chicago Public Schools closings. Representatives from Chicago’s radio, print, and TV outlets, as well as youth and scholars are invited to help us deconstruct the media’s integral role in shaping public perceptions of the school closings.

  • Image by Sarah AtlasWhat has been good and bad about the coverage, and how has that impacted public perceptions?
  • What stories have been missed or under-reported?
  • What can we as news consumers do to ensure these important stories and issues do not disappear from the front page?

Segments from CNN’s “Chicagoland” documentary series and other media clips will serve as catalysts for the discussion.

RSVP for this free event!
Free light refreshments will be served at a reception following the program.


Moderator: Linda Lenz, Founder & Publisher, Catalyst Chicago 
Catalyst Chicago is a news organization that has covered the progress, problems and politics of school reform in Chicago since 1990. Before launching Catalyst in 1990, Lenz was the education writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and an editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News.

Sarah Karp, Deputy Editor, Catalyst Chicago
Sarah joined the staff of Catalyst Chicago in 2006 after writing for five years for Catalyst’s sister publication, The Chicago Reporter. Karp has served as director of Columbia Links, a program that teaches journalism to teenagers, and project director for Youth Communication, which published New Expression, a newspaper written by and for teens.

Linda Lutton, Education Reporter, WBEZ 91.5 Chicago 
Linda (@WBEZedcuation) covers major news, issues, and debates in education as they play out in Chicago and the suburbs. Her reporting has examined Chicago’s dropout crisis, race and segregation in schools, and school performance.

Sarah Schulte, Reporter, ABC 7 News
Sarah (SchulteABC7) is a general assignment reporter for ABC 7 News. She joined ABC 7 in 1998. In 1997, Philadelphia Magazine named Schulte “Reporter of the Year.”

Charles Whitaker, Helen Gurley Brown Professor, Northwestern University Medill 
Whitaker teaches courses in magazine writing and editing and is one of the rotating directors of Medill’s acclaimed Magazine Publishing Project. Whitaker also has served as a final judge and screener for the Association of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine Awards, and is an adviser on issues of diversity to the Magazine Publishers of America. Additionally, he has authored four statistical analyses of the hiring of women and minorities in the magazine industry.

Sidney Trotter is a high school student at North Lawndale College Prep and a youth media-maker and journalist with Free Spirit Media (FSM). As an FSM Real Chi Youth reporter, she produces short news documentaries, including reports on juvenile- to-adult incarceration and the mental health resources of Chicago LGBTQ youth. 




This program is made possible in part by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation’s Why News Matters Initiative.

Co-sponsored by Free Spirit Media and Catalyst Chicago.



Free parking. Parking lot entrance is on the Augusta Street side of Wells High School. Entrance to Wells High School is on the Augusta Street side of the building. 

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580 at least 72 hours prior to the event.

For more information, please call 312.422.5580.