Afternoon Shift: Media representations of homelessness, 'O, Democracy' and diversity in comedy

We talk to members of the Living News Project about their show "Shelter/Chicago" which discusses homelessness and how the homeless are represented in media. Author Kathleen Rooney joins us to talk about her debut novel, 'O, Democracy!' Plus, we discuss diversity in Chicago's improv comedy scene.

  1. 'Shelter/Chicago' and media representations of homelessness

    Homelessness is a widespread issue in Illinois, a fact that is often reported. On average there are more than 5,000 homeless people in Chicago, and when looking at the entire state that number sky rockets to 14,000 people. But facts and figures on homelessness do little to humanize the people behind the issue, and they don’t address the problems that lead to homelessness. That's why the Living News Project is trying to shed some light onto the issues of homelessness and how the media reports on the issue. Their new show, Shelter/Chicago' looks at the issues causing homelessness in Chicago and how homeless people are represented in the media. Lisa DiFranza is the director of the Living News Project and the show. She joins us in studio.

  2. 'O, Democracy!': A fictionalized account of working in a politician's office 

    Kathleen Rooney’s debut novel, 'O, Democracy!' presents an account of a junior staffer, working in the Chicago office for the Senior Senator from Illinois. It’s fictionalized, of course, but Rooney was actually a staff member for Senator Dick Durbin, until she was terminated a few years ago after publishing a series of essays about life in the office. The novel came out last week and tonight she’s doing a reading at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park. Kathleen joins us in studio.

  3. The NBA bans Donald Sterling for life

    The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him 2.5 million dollars, after he allegedly made racist comments in a conversation with his then girlfriend. Eldon Ham, a sports attorney and a professor of law at IIT-Chicago Kent, joins us to talk more about the ruling and the precedent it creates. Ham is the author of 'The Playmaters: From Sellouts to Lockouts--An Unauthorized History of the NBA.'

  4. Diversifying improv comedy in Chicago

    Another late night talk show host is leaving CBS. Craig Ferguson of the Late Late Show is expected to sign off at the end of the year. This news comes just after the network announced Stephen Colbert will replace the retiring David Letterman.

    The announcement raised questions again about why all the late night comics on the big networks are white males.

    Part of the answer takes us to Chicago, where many of the comedy stars of the last few decades learned their trade, including Stephen Colbert who studied improv at The Second City. WBEZ’s Mariam Sobh Reports.

  5. Tech Shift: helps people expunge juvenile arrest records

    Every year thousands of juvenile arrests in Illinois are eligible to be expunged, but most are never actually removed. This summer the Mikva Challenge’s Juvenile Justice Council worked with Chicago’s civic tech community to create a website to change that. It’s called, and it walks users through the often confusing process of expunging a juvenile record. Last week the project won a new grant to expand the site. We're joined by Juvenile Justice Council Director, Chris Rudd, developer Cathy Deng and Korynna Lopez, the Mikva student who came up with the idea for the app.

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