To the editors:
That Michael Miner would try to explain the difficulties facing a fellow journalist, such as Chicago magazine’s Dan Santow [Hot Type, October 26], due to the time and space limitations he faced in writing about the school community here, is understandable and to be expected. That he would defend a story which depicts a high school that doesn’t exist in a suburban setting that doesn’t exist is a good example of how easily journalists can let their own realities obscure the view of the world in which their subjects live. Asst. Supt. Larry Walker is not the stereotypical “boss principal” featured in Santow’s piece, and OPRFHS isn’t nestled in the posh community of half million dollar homes in which Santow sets it. Nor did the underground paper that existed briefly here last spring have the impact Santow leads readers to believe it had, though that student publication does appear to have grown out of purer motives and more sincere intentions to serve its readers than either Miner’s recent “Hot Type” piece or Santow’s article.
Miner is correct in detecting a palpable sense of frustration and anxiety in letters and comments from people here about the Chicago article, but again I would suggest he take a real look at the cause. Our concern stems primarily from the negative effects that can be created when a respected publication, caught up in its own limitations, stands by a “finessed” account that in substantial ways creates its own reality.
Jeffrey S. Currie
Oak Park and River Forest