Stories

From Marketplace

April 2015

This store sold $5 M in lottery tickets last year
Lucky Mart barely sells anything else.

Big Coal gets its day in court against the EPA
A federal court in Washington hears a challenge to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Can YouTube get us to pay for ad-free cat videos?
YouTube auteur/entrepreneur Hank Green says there’s content well worth paying for.

How billiards created the modern world
Early promoters needed a substitute for ivory billiard balls. Result? Plastics.

 


March 2015 

Experts say police departments don’t keep data that could prevent abuse lawsuits.
In Chicago, police misconduct has a hefty price tag
The city paid more than half a billion dollars over 10 years, and it’s not alone.

February 2015

In Chicago mayoral race, money talks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel raised more than four times as much as all of his opponents, combined.
***
Series:Miami’s real-estate boom meets rising seas:

January 2015

Series: Fracking makes sand a huge industry, and turns rural Wisconsin upside-down

December 2014

Deepening and enlivening a Marketplace staple– a 60-second earnings preview– by interviewing the manager of a Chicago sneaker boutique.

November 2014

A lightning-quick assessment of a Thanksgiving-week meme. Making donations to the Ferguson library instead of traditional gifts would provide a real boost to the local economy.

October 2014

A hard look at corn economics– and world hunger
This explainer lays out many surprises: Corn– our biggest crop– isn’t a foodstuff (at least for humans). And if we grew vegetables instead, world hunger could be solved in a snap.
The online version lays out the numbers– and adds a video showing mountains of grain piling up.
Which month is National Month Month?
The business of commemorative months, explained!

September 2014

Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled that strip mining can proceed in a state wildlife area. Turns out the same legal principles– a distinction between “surface rights” and “mineral rights”– can hit homeowners too.
They can’t get railroads to bring them enough coal.

August 2014

For this same-day story, I tracked down the man who runs the country’s last large-scale gumball factory.
Assigned a quick-turnaround spot on the appointment of a new baseball commissioner, I turned in an analysis of salary trends for ballplayers versus average joes.

July 2014

If new supply doesn’t come online, the problem could tank existing systems.
Shlepping bike-share cycles in a giant van
A ride-along with one of the workers who makes bike-sharing work.
The context for why people freaked out about Facebook experimenting on users without getting consent.

June 2014

Turns out, it works.

May 2014

Haven’t you always wondered? Turns out there’s a good story. Featuring a pioneering female entrepreneur… and sudden death.

April 2014

Because most of the world’s biggest mega-churches aren’t in the U.S. anyway. Check out the maps!

March 2014

They’re called “filter socks.” Still, yuck.

February 2014

Metra’s control system is state-of-the-art– for 1932
A visit to Tank Town, where Richard Heinichin captures his “cloud juice.”

January 2014

An installment in the ongoing drama: The Death of Print.
Which turns out to be full of surprises. For instance: The practice of blanketing whole circulation areas with the Sunday ad supplement was actually an early innovation in using databases to target audiences.
Could AT&T’s ‘sponsored data’ plans kill public radio?
… because every story is really about “how does this affect me?”

November 2013

You may have heard that recycling isn’t cost-effective, or even altogether good for the environment? Mostly untrue, but it is possible to go too far.

October 2013

Why calls to landlines fail in large numbers: A look at the back-end, and the history, of a long-distance phone call.
And: A key move to profits was… cutting circulation.
… and a disappointed shopper gets the news from a reporter– me– in the produce aisle.
“I’m shocked,” she says. “This is my grocery store. What’s going to be here?” She looks around. “And all these people–Where are they going to work?”

… and AUDIO stories from other fine venues

Chicago’s river isn’t a river
It’s a brilliantly-engineered part of the sewer system.
From 99 Percent Invisible, with the remarkable Roman Mar

Is salt mined under Chicago?
From WBEZ’s “Curious City.”

Why you can’t help paying four bucks for a latte
A neuro-economist explains.
From WBEZ’s “Venture”

Could I build a robot to go to meetings?
I’d free up time, and get rich selling them.
For WBEZ’s “Venture”

Chicago’s segregation, seen via time-lapse on the CTA Red Line
From WBEZ’s “Race Out Loud.”

The MCC: Chicago’s Jailhouse Skyscraper
From 99 Percent Invisible, with the remarkable Roman Mars

During foreclosure crisis, maintenance companies cleaned up
But: One specialist on Chicago’s South Side lost a big client. Here’s why.
From WBEZ’s “Venture.”

What happened to Chicago’s old-school donut shops?
No, Dunkin didn’t kill them.
Also answered: Where’s the city’s best donut shop now?
From WBEZ’s “Curious City.”

The Mirage: A fake tavern that exposed real corruption (ten bucks at a time)
For “Venture” on WBEZ
January, 2012


As Seen in Print:

When death comes to work
They aren’t listed in obituaries, but co-workers and even more distant associates can be left bereft by the sudden death of a colleague.
From Crain’s Chicago Business.

Just don’t do it!
A profile of the Pink Nun, a post-modern, sex-positive, MFA-toting advocate for chastity.

CHA’s commuter kids
As Chicago’s public housing tumbled, hundreds of displaced students returned to their old neighborhoods for school every day.

 

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