Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart, visited the Illinois Center for Broadcasting (ICB), Chicago Campus on Thursday, March 6, 2014 to discuss the importance of having a public and a media that is engaged.
The Sheriff shared his disappointment with the media who he believes focuses much of their attention on celebrity news that is of little consequence and fails to cover issues of grave importance to the citizens of Cook County. He encouraged ICB students, future broadcasters, to be engaged, to get their heads out of their cell phones and truly focus on making a difference by focusing on telling stories that could make a difference using the skills they learn at ICB.
Sheriff Dart was very outspoken about his perception of the media. Contrary to many politicians, he actually likes many in the media but is sorry that so many professionals are forced to churn out “entertainment” news rather than news with substance. He does not believe that in every case, there are two sides to every story…sometimes it’s just a matter of what’s right and what’s wrong. Sheriff Dart shared this thought that when something is painfully wrong, “ Is there really another side to the story?
The Sheriff feels that a disengaged electorate that is ignorant of the issues, will not make life and society better. He encouraged the students at ICB to create programming that possibly the inmates could watch, programs with substance on issues that matter.
Sheriff Tom Dart took questions from the students. Hear what our students and what the Sheriff had to say in relation to their questions and ideas on making life, using media better. During the course of the interview with students, Dart told a great story on how he got chess grandmaster champion Anatoly Karpov to fly in from Russia, and via skype set up matches between Dart’s detainees and incarcerated Russians.
The Sheriff also shared with the students his attempts to make the inmates aware of job possibilities such as the deconstruction of abandoned buildings and how some of his inmates are developing their agricultural skills to create produce and sell it at the local farmer’s market. That kind of training is good for the inmates and good for society in that it gives those incarcerated hope and purpose to make good when they get out.