Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mick Dumke Leaving The Chicago Reader

July 20, 2010 - I called Mick Dumke this morning just to say hello, and he shocked me. "Today is my last day at the Reader," he said. I just about fell over. I didn't know. It's a bittersweet day for Chicago journalism: Mick is moving over to the Chicago News Cooperative. The Reader's great loss will, undoubtedly, be CNC's great gain. Mick has earned a reputation as a hard-hitting journalist on the Chicago news scene. Over his five-year run at the Reader, three of them full time, Mick has built up an impressive body of work. He's gone after the likes of Mayor Richard M. Daley with cool enthusiasm, capturing, dissecting and then displaying the facts for all to read. Some Chicagoans first became aware of Mick recently, when Mayor Daley threatened him (jokingly?) with physical violence at a mayoral press conference on May 20. Mick asked Daley about the effectiveness of the old handgun ban (more recently ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court). He recalled the exchange this way: “Oh!” Daley said. “It’s been very effective!” He grabbed a rifle, held it up, and looked right at me. He was chuckling but there was no smile. “If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you’ll find out how effective this is!” Mick Dumke's own writing stands strongly on its own, but he often collaborated with fellow Reader ace reporter Ben Joravsky. The two of them wrote well separately and as a team, on elections and other subjects, most notably Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) - a subject that most "journalists" are afraid of because they don't understand it - in a way that made it easy for the layman to understand. Mick has been, and will remain, a good all-around reporter, well versed in the good, bad and ugly of Chicago. As fellow Reader reporter Mike Miner wrote on July 15, "This was a wrenching decision for Dumke, and it's a jolt to this newspaper. He's an awfully good reporter."