Chicago Civic Media
3 min readMay 31, 2023


By the Interim Editor

So here’s what needs explaining. So we can see the challenge ahead.

Bottom line, Chicago can’t possibly make itself SAFE, let alone permanently reduce its violence, until it enters the digital age in the field of public safety.

​And we sure aren’t there yet. Mayor Johnson is trying to do his part. But the final decisions, quite appropriately, will come from Chicago’s mainstream media. Here, in brief, is the situation:

​Entering the digital age in the field of public safety means using Chicago’s Digital Age media — the miracle of modern interactive communications technologies — to create a connected, thinking, digital age city. Chicago’s media alone have the tools to mobilize ALL Chicagoans to MAKE CHICAGO SAFE.​

So far, nothing like this is happening although some progress is being made.

As things stand, six decades into the Information/Digital age, Chicago still largely overlooks the safety-generating power of its media. It still relies on its mind-numbing, divisive and FAILED Industrial Age safety strategy of Violence Reduction.

​Violence Reduction fails largely because it treats juveniles as it treats adults. It addresses Chicago’s youth-centered, digital age violence — that of its heavily armed, drug dealing, youth victimizing street gangs — with the same police force it used to address the adult, mob/gang violence of its Al Capone years.

The outcome? Citywide violence. An overwhelmed police force. A city more divided than ever not just racially and generationally but ideologically and economically as well.

And as in the rest of America, there’s more political, media and gun violence in Chicago with each passing year.

But it never had to be this way!

Decades ago, Chicago could have spared itself much or even most of the catastrophic loss of life and treasure that cripples it today.

Decades ago, Chicago could have

  • Replaced its same-old, same-old statistical goal of Violence Reduction with the 100% intentional goal of Citywide Safety.
  • Integrated its three Digital Age Public Safety forces: the coercive force of its traditional Public Safety (law enforcement) resource, the life enriching force of its Public Health (medical and sociological) resource and the communicative force of its Digital Age Public Communication (media) system.​

And decades ago, Chicago’s media could have

  • Used their resources to generate respect and trust among Chicago citizens, police and elected leaders.
  • Enabled all Chicagoans to understand and address Chicago’s violence at the level of its root causes.​​
  • Mobilized Chicagoans of all ages and backgrounds to devise dynamic new, media-based ways to make Sweet Home Chicago SAFE.​

Today, even as Chicago seeks to address its violence as a Public Health problem, the city still relies largely on Violence Reduction and law enforcement — police, courts, prisons — to address its digital age violence.​

​The outcome? More violence. With new, digital age kinds of violence.

As for Chicago’s Digital Age public communication system? Presently, it’s part of the problem.​

  • Decades of sensationalized, if-it-bleeds-it-leads media coverage of Chicago’s gang/youth/gun violence, coupled with media coverage of police violence, have frightened and alienated Chicagoans from each other and eroded respect and trust in law enforcement.
  • Decades of constant, sensationalized media coverage of blaming, bickering and buck passing at City Hall have estranged Chicagoans from their elected leaders​ and Chicago leaders from themselves.
  • Decades of polarizing election time political attack ads have undermined citizen trust in City Hall and in democracy itself.​

Again, the outcome? A climate of fear and mistrust citywide. Political dysfunction at City Hall. A city unable to address its digital age violence effectively.

So the challenge? Simple. It’s to bring Chicago into the Digital Age in the field of public safety.

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Chicago Civic Media

Making citizens and governments responsive and accountable to each other at all levels of government with impartial, problem-solving political discourse.