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Ben Joravsky

Ben Joravsky 

I moved to Chicago in 1981 and have been writing about local politics ever since. I started freelancing for the Reader in the early 1980s and became a full-time staff writer in 1990. Since 2003, I've zeroed in on larger citywide matters, with a special interest in exposing municipal financing scams, most notably tax increment financing and the the city's proposal to bring the Olympics to Chicago. I've also written dozens of profiles and features, including my year with the Roosevelt High School boys basketball team, which was included in the Best American Sports Writing Anthology. Over the last few years, Mick Dumke and I have collaborated on investigations exposing everything from the parking-meter-sale ripoff to our costly and unfairly enforced marijuana laws. I've written five books, including Hoop Dreams and The Greens, which I cowrote with Rick Stone. I've won many journalism prizes, including the 2010 Chicago Journalist of the Year Award from the Chicago Journalists Association and the 2010 Illinois Journalist of the Year Award from Northern Illinois University. Last but not least, I also write for The Third City, a daily humor blog that "rarely lies to the American people."
  • Thar She Blows

    The white whale lurking behind the mayor's new tax increases
  • Clobbered by Clout?

    Defeated aldermanic candidate Jay Stone puts a new twist on the Shakman decree.
  • Warts and All

    The late Bill Wirtz as we knew him: the influence peddler who drove away the peanut vendors.
  • Fair Warning?

    The city has reserved the right to wipe out this block for a developer to be named later.
  • A Not-So-Level Playing Field

    While the Park District signs off on a deal to give Latin School a soccer field on public land, Lincoln Park High players contend with potholes, dogs, and a manhole cover camouflaged by carpet.
  • The Storm to Come

    As Chicagoans face tax hikes that will force people from their homes, Daley deflects blame onto state leaders.
  • A Sucker's System

    Only in Chicago could an $8 million affordable-housing subsidy in Edgewater cost taxpayers $75 million.
  • Now That's Hardball

    There's at least one guy in town who's willing to defy the mayor. Too bad it's over Little League baseball.
  • The Millions for the Merger

    Why is the city offering $40 million in public money to subsidize the Merc's merger with the Chicago Board of Trade?
  • Soccer for Some

    Did alderman Vi Daley know about the sweet deal the Park District gave Latin School on public land?
  • They Say Nay

    Naturalists and neighbors of a Lake County forest preserve are up in arms about Chicago's plans for an Olympic equestrian center.
  • TIF for Tat

    Why the governor is suddenly so interested in the mayor's pet financing scheme
  • A Study in Contrasts

    A Wilmette middle school spends more than $14,000 per kid; Chicago gets ready to dole out $65 million to developers.
  • Lesson Learned

    Aldermen in other wards are paying close attention to the sort of zoning complaints that lost Ted Matlak the 32nd Ward--including would-be congressman Manny Flores.