If memory serves, Steve Franklin and I were never comrades in arms along the banks of the Jarama. But his romantic impulse touches my own, and if the salutation of his recent e-mail—”Hermanos“—hinted at the idea that being a journalist these days is a little like facing Franco’s army with a single-shot carbine, well, that’s a thought I’ve had myself.
“I always refer to my colleagues as hermanos and hermanas,” says Franklin. “It’s clearly labor language. And I think that’s important.” Franklin didn’t make it to the Spanish Civil War, but he spent some time with the Zapatistas in Chiapas, and he admits to a little Subcomandante Marcos in his soul. Attached to his e-mail—sent to me and other Reader staffers—was a news release that asserts “We Care for Our Own” and begins “We journalists are a tribe.” The tribal event the news release touts is sponsored by the Chicago Headline Club, but the idea came from Franklin, a former Tribune labor writer and last year’s CHC president. He’s putting the evening together with Flynn McRoberts, a former Tribune colleague who’s now Chicago bureau chief of Bloomberg News.