NewsNational crisis / Relief at hand / ‘Backroom maps are over’

NewsNational crisis. Just seven months in, the Chicago-based cable channel formerly known as WGN America—NewsNation—has lost its respected founding vice president of news, Jennifer Lyons.*

She’s just the latest news exec to bail amid concerns parent company Nexstar is skewing coverage to the right.
What do you think? Comment at the bottom of the page here.

‘Don’t blame yourself.’ The Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg counsels people who’ve endured the pandemic through experiences they might consider “blessed.”
A Trib editorial admonishes “the young and healthy … finding ways to get inoculated while frail senior citizens still can’t figure out the computerized appointment process.”

‘I’m going to be able to hug my mother again.’ The United Center mega vaccination site is winning praise, but frustration over who’s eligible when remains widespread.
Patch columnist Mark Konkol analyzes last-minute signup confusion: “When … appointment demographics showed indisputable evidence that President Joe Biden’s administration might get caught up … FEMA put the kibosh on Pritzker’s broad terms for … eligibility.”
Travelers from Texas and Nebraska (whose governor is a Cubs-owning Ricketts) are now in a higher risk category for those visiting Chicago.

Relief at hand. Updating coverage: Congress was set to send Biden a landmark $1.9 trillion plan to crush the coronavirus and energize the economy.
An interior designer says the pandemic has spawned “brilliant ideas” for remaking residential living spaces.

‘Stand up and talk, Mr. Smith.’ Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is splitting with Biden to endorse reform of the Senate’s filibuster rules, which the Tribune’s Eric Zorn says let “wholly imaginary ‘debates’ … drag on literally without end.”

‘The days of deals over backroom maps are over.’ A coalition of citizen groups is leading a charge to take the drawing of Chicago’s ward maps out of the hands of aldermen representing those wards.
You can get involved by applying to be a member of the nascent—and still unofficial—“Chicago Ward Advisory Redistricting Commission.”

‘I love the idea of Target anchoring Water Tower Place.’ The Trib’s Heidi Stevens rejects criticism of the idea.
Target itself has been mum.

R.I.P., Norton Juster. The author of the beloved classic The Phantom Tollbooth is dead at 91.
Interviewed in 2012, Juster recalled skepticism about the book’s prospects: “The vocabulary’s too difficult. … The ideas were too complex.”

If you like Chicago Public Square Tell a friend.

* And a long-ago colleague to your Square columnist in a pioneering multimedia internet initiative (2000 link).

Subscribe to Square.