In Chicago, New City News monitors crash from afar p.9

By: Mark Fitzgerald For the Chicago Tribune-owned local wire service that replaced the legendary City News Bureau of CHicago, last Monday night Amtrak crash was just too far away to provide the first real test of its reporting prowess.
":Kankakee, that's kind of out of our coverrage area, but we did cover it by phone. We handled it like we handled all the stories at the old City News. We continue to make calls, to stay in contact with the fire, police, Red Cross, disaster agencies,"" says Paul Zimbrakos, the veteran City News managing editor who is bureau manager for the Tribune's New City News. The train wreck occured in Bourbonnais, about 55 miles south of Chicago.
New City News began operations March 1, immediately after the closing of the 108-year-old City News Bureau that was jointly owned by the competing Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
The newspapers folded the renowned ""boot campt for journalists"" after its broadcast clients balked at a dramatic increase in fees to staunch its continuing operating deficits.
Like the old City News, New City News staffs the police, courts, and government beats that radio and television covere only on big stories.
The new wire also vows to keep alive the tradition of getting to the scene of fires, accidents, and disasters virtually on the heels of cops and firefighters.
"There's not going to be any lack of coverage,"" Zimbarkos says.
It wasn't distance but time that allowed the March 15 wreck of the City of New Orleans Amtrack train to also slip under the radar of another local wire, the Medill News Serice, saffed by graduate journalism students at Northwestern University. Several local news organizations, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Southtown, and The Daily Herald, subscribe to the Medill service.
"We would have [covered it], if our winter quarter hadn's just ended. Timing is everything, huh? "" says-co-director Jim Ylisela.
"All our students are gone...It's our nature to be part news service, part student instruction.""
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