I was privileged, in different decades, to serve on the boards of directors of both Chicago newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. I love newspapers; they are the essence of democracy and good citizenship.

In 1947, my father in law, Salem N. Baskin, persuaded Marshall Field III and Richard Finnegan to merge their two papers, the Chicago Sun and the Chicago Times,  to create the Sun-Times.  Seventy years later, the Sun-Times and the Tribune will come under common ownership.  Many readers will find this sad, but it is promised that two independent editorial voices will be preserved.

It is dangerous to the democratic process if we had only one newspaper. Seven centuries ago, Gutenberg invented the printing press to marry print to paper. Today we are witnessing print and paper in the process of a divorce.  As digital communications replace print and paper, Chicagoans need access to independent voices if we are to have well informed citizens.

Newton N. Minow
Senior Counsel
Sidley Austin LLP
Chicago

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Making money off war on drugs

In addition to arguments Phil Kadner cited in his Wednesday column, most or all of which I agree, I also see a lot of this:

If you follow the money, there are two streams. There is the drug money stream. We hear about that all the time. Our nation’s “war on drugs” doesn’t provide an alternative to producing and selling drugs that provides that kind of income.

There is also the war-on-drugs money stream: The police forces. The suppliers to police forces. The prisons. The suppliers to prisons. The builders of prisons. The attorneys. The schools that teach law enforcement. The private security firms and quasi-police forces.

The war on drugs does provide the money for all that. And it is a lot of money.

America needs to do a complete 180-degree turn on how it deals with drugs, or the murders will continue, the convictions will continue and rise, and the prisons will expand.

And all because people like to make money.

It’s like Prohibition without the constitutional amendment.

Jim O’Donnell , Lake View