Today’s Headlines

  • Hilkevitch Accentuates the Negative in His Divvy Launch Coverage (Tribune)
  • Another Look at Bike-Share Equity Issues (WBEZ)
  • More Divvy Debut Coverage (WBEZ, Forbes, HuffPo, Active Trans, BWLP)
  • CTA Hikes Blue Line Fare From O’Hare to $5 (Tribune)
  • After Clifford Gets 6-Figure Severance, Metra Board Under Scrutiny (Tribune)
  • Motorcyclist Killed on Dan Ryan Near 87th Street (Tribune)
  • Suitcase on Skokie Platform Temporarily Delays Yellow Line (Sun-Times)
  • “Loud Noise” on Blue Line Halts Train Near Grand (RedEye)
  • CTA Social Media Chief Says Angry Tweets From Riders Can Be Helpful (DNA)
  • Logan Square Driver is Delighted With Moore’s Approval of the Pritzker Garage (LSD)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    What frustrated me most about the Hilkevitch article that nowhere does he state that he used it himself. At least Robin Amer over at WBEZ describes her own experiences, not the rantings from some guy on the street.

  • Are you saying that my pal Greg Baldi, drummer for my high school band The Glorious Disciples of Freedom, quoted in the Hilk article, is a ranting man on the street? Just kidding, but Greg did mention, unprompted, that Hilkevitch seemed to be pushing him for a negative quote about his Divvy experience.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that I’ve never heard of “The Glorious Disciples of Freedom” says it all, doesn’t it? ;)

  • Geez, who were you playing music with back in high school in the Netherlands, The Shocking Blue?

  • BlueFairlane

    There are several kinds of journalism, and the purest, most objective form of it seeks to separate the reporter from the story. If the goal of Hilkevitch is simply to report, then engaging in the service and describing his own experiences defeats that purpose and make the reporter part of the story.

    The simple fact is, these things happened. Prompted or not, Baldi said the things he’s quoted as saying. Hilkevitch did not concoct them, and there’s nothing wrong with reporting what he observed. Whitewashing it doesn’t serve any purpose.

  • I don’t think trying the system himself made Hilkevitch’s story more valid; rather the opposite is true. Would a story about the new Jeffery Jump express service have been more valid if the reporter made the decision not to go on the maiden voyage for members of the media? But I’m also OK with Hilk writing about Divvy without riding it – in an earlier article he implied he was worried about getting grease on his expensive suit.

    I think Greg’s quote was very reasonable, however he said Hilk was pushing him to say something negative. The way Greg described it was something like Hilk asked, “Wasn’t that a frustrating experience that the docking station didn’t work?” and Greg replied, “Well, sure, it was frustrating, but give them a break – it’s their first day of operations.”

  • BlueFairlane

    Well, again, it depends on the journalistic goals of the particular piece Hilkevitch is writing. If Hilkevitch is writing a piece on what he thinks it’s like to use Divvy, that’s fine. But if he’s writing a hard news report on how the first day went, which is what the article was, then injecting himself and his subjective experience into the piece gets in the way. Similarly with your Jeffrey Jump example. The goal of some articles would make riding the bus and relaying your own thoughts useful. For other articles, if you’re just looking for more of a hard news, person-on-the-street reaction, then riding the bus and relating your own take defeats the purpose. You have to look at an article’s goal to decide which is appropriate, and the story shouldn’t always be what you the reporter think. (I’m talking reporters in general, not what you guys do specifically here. You have different goals.)

    Greg’s reaction to his quote in print isn’t an uncommon thing. He was probably frustrated in the moment, and he probably came across as more frustrated than he realizes, and he said something that emphasized this momentary frustration. Then, when he looked back at that moment after the frustration had passed and his view of the experience had moderated, he realizes that what he said wasn’t really what he felt about the thing at all. Back in my reporter days, I had people go much farther than Greg and deny saying anything I clearly had them on recorder as saying. I’ve also been on the other side and been interviewed, and whenever that’s happened I’ve turned into a babbling imbecile with little grasp of the English language.

  • Fred

    There’s a difference between a reporter and a critic. This article was a report about peoples’ experience with the new system. A critique would have been him trying the system and reporting his thoughts.

  • Nope, Hilkevitch does sometimes try things and report his thoughts, he just doesn’t mention himself in first person but reports what he observes.

  • BlueFairlane

    Or, that. A much more succinct way of saying it than I managed.

  • Greg didn’t say he was misquoted, or that he regretted his quote, which I think is a very reasonable quote. He said Hilk seemed to be fishing for a negative quote, but Greg didn’t really give it to him. So Hilk’s response was to say Greg was “forgiving” because he’s “an avid cyclist,” which he isn’t.

  • Anonymous

    Fair enough, but I don’t think that all types of journalism are the same.

    It’s one thing to report on the facts and impact of let’s say a Supreme Court decision, quite another to report on something that is participatory in its very nature. The act of participating shapes your experience whether you like that or not. I’d say that bike share is one of those things that you have to participate in to the able to put the perceived woes in context. I rode it four times on Friday. Yes, I hit Kinzie and State (the non-working station) as well and it made me late for my appointment. I also looked for a station that magically moved itself a whole block overnight. Frustrating? Yes! But the joy to be able to ride in regular clothes, and without a helmet, for short distances, definitely negated some of my frustration.

    Another example would be the proposed Wrigley field renovations.Yes, you can report on the expected impact on the field and the surrounding neighborhood, and whether or not the Cubs have the right to block the rooftop owners views, but to really get a better understanding you will need to talk to residents and cubs fans alike, but once the renovations are complete, you have to walk around in the neighborhood, and attend a game. Maybe your concerns are negated, or maybe the reality is even worse than expected. Who knows what the outcome, but just reporting “from a distance” isn’t going to work. And that is what Hilkevitch appears to have done.

  • Kevin M

    Hilkevitch called the Divvy bikes “somewhat clunky”. If he got that description from one of the people he interviewed, fine, but I think he should quote and source it. If he just added that negative description in to his article on his own account, then I think he’s a lousy, biased journalist–who fits in well with 21st century corporate media.

    Clunky means awkwardly heavy. The Divvy bikes are no more awkward than most standard bikes, and they are actually less than some.

    Hilkevitch has some motivation to turn screws on the city’s bike programs. So does Kass. Hmmm…and who do they both work for?

  • Miriam Webster defines “clunky” as “clumsy in style, form, or execution.” Divvy bikes are definitely clumsy in form. Divvy is the opposite of fixie. The bikes are clunky, heavy and slow, but they’re also comfy, stable and fun-to-ride. In short, they’re perfect for the task at hand.

  • Kevin M

    I agree that they are stable–more stable than most bikes I’ve experienced. defines “clunky” as “awkwardly heavy or clumsy”. I don’t think something can be this definition and be stable. I see you used the “clunky” def. in your recent article on the Divvy stations (nice work, by the way), so I will let this semantics argument die.

  • Glad you liked the recent piece, thanks. OK, let’s agree to disagree on this, not that I’m anti-semantic or anything.

  • Joseph Musco

    I just flew into O’Hare today (July 4) and there are long lines and a bit of confusion at the fare machines under the new system.

    There are a limited number of machines that accept credit cards and not everybody has 5 singles or a $5 bill to get a fare card. CTA needs to get some more machines that accept credit cards and post some informational materials (what is simplest single fare, what is the value of multiday pass) about the new fare system at O’Hare. Taping handwritten pieces of paper to the cash farecard machines that say “New Fare $5.00” is half-assed in the extreme.

    I’m all for the new $5 fares that exempt O’Hare workers — it just appears that CTA didn’t think much about how riders at O’Hare would behave in real life.