Chicago election coverage partly explains why Substance website already has more than quarter million hits for May 2010

As one of the most carefully reported stories in the history of Substance draws to a close, the Substance website,, had already had a quarter million hits as the CTU election campaign moved into its final week. By far, the biggest stories of May 2010 have been the reports by more than a dozen Substance reporters on the May 21 Chicago Teachers Union election. And the end of one story on the 21st may simply be leading into another big local story — the runoff of 2010 in the Chicago Teachers Union).

Before the Chicago Sun-Times (above, in its May 18 story) did a major story on the May 21, 2010, CTU election, there had been a virtual media blackout on the most important election taking place in Chicago this month. Both the Sun-Times and Tribune have stopped covering Chicago Board of Education meetings and routinely miss major events that take place at CPS, including, for example, the vote by the Board of Education on April 28 to borrow another $450 million to build new schools the city doesn't need while CEO Ron Huberman claims the system is facing a "billion dollar deficit." Substance has also printed and mailed the May 2010 print edition of Substance, which is scheduled to reach paid subscribers prior to the election. Substance reports and editors will also be covering the vote count at the American Arbitration Association and the campaign headquarters of four of the five caucuses running in the election. Despite repeated requests, CTU President Marilyn Stewart has refused to appoint a spokesman to be a liaison with Substance during the election campaign.

Stewart's running mate, Mark Ochoa, has also tried to block Substance's coverage of the vote count at AAA. As late as May 18, Ochoa had denied Substance reporter John Kugler the right to cover the story of the vote count for Substance at AAA. Substance is trying to avoid more heated conflict over this (such as took place prior to the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers in July 2008) by clarifying reporting work with the CTU leadership. The attempt to deny Kugler press rights is not the first time Ochoa and Marilyn Stewart discriminated against Substance and its reporters.

It was not until Tuesday, May 18, that any of the other Chicago news organizations did any coverage at all of the most heated and expensive election in the history of the largest union in Chicago. That day, a brief article ran in the Chicago Sun-Times.


May 19, 2010 at 10:09 AM

By: Jean R Schwab


I hope that the canidates are not missing the smaller schools like Park Manor or Burke when they distribute flyers and have meetings. I know this is a little late but the staffs at those schools need to hear each group. I've been talking to the wpeople that I've been in contact with and given them a coppy of Substance.

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