Many years ago, a newspaper reporter by the name of Dermot Connolly gave a tour of the Marquette Park area to an up-and-coming politician.
Connelly drove his car and did a lot of the talking. The guy in the passenger’s seat who did a lot of listening was Pat Quinn.
“We were on a first-name basis,” Connolly said.
Well, Quinn went on to bigger and better things. He ended up being the Governor of Illinois.
In a recent encounter, Quinn saw Connolly and gave him a warm greeting and called him “Shamus.”
“We’re still on a first-name basis,” Connolly said. “But he had the wrong name.”
We won’t be calling him Shamus around here. But we may be calling him Double-Duty Dermot.
Connolly takes over as the new reporter for the Reporter, replacing Bob Rakow, who left our little circus on election night and is now working as a content provider for trade publications in Chicago.
When Bob left, we were hoping to steal Dermot away from the Southwest News Herald. We would have gotten away with it, too except for two things. First, The News Herald didn’t want to give him up and second, we are all owned by the same corporation and we just couldn’t pluck him away.
Not to get biblical here, but I was willing to chop him in half, as long as we got the half that was able to write stories.
The big bosses saw it different. They decided to Wisdom-of-Solomon it up a little bit and give us Dermot for half a work week and them for half a work week. His work will appear in our paper as well as the Regional.
I sat with News Herald Editor Joe Boyle for an hour or so and we were able to come up with a game plan that in theory seemed to work.
It’s not the ideal situation but half a Dermot is better than nothing.
So starting this week, we will have some shifting around. Some new faces will be covering some beats. Some familiar faces will be covering some other beats.
Aside from taking Pat Quinn around town in his car, Connolly has interviewed a young politician named Barack Obama, a Mayor named Richie Daley and has photographed Rahm Emmanuel, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.
Before joining our little circus, Connolly took a tour of a North American Warehousing Co. in Bedford Park with Gov. Bruce Rauner. His story can be found on page 5.
One of the most dramatic photos to ever appear in the Reporter under my watch was Connolly’s photo of the horrific traffic accident in Oak Lawn that claimed the lives of two nuns last year. He happened to be bowling on that Sunday afternoon not far from the crash and captured a very powerful and dramatic shot.
The Oak Lawn resident, who attended St. Laurence and Western Illinois University, has spent a huge chunk of his 23-year career on the South Side of Chicago and the south suburbs but had a stint in New York for a little while.
So, if you see Dermot, or Shamus or whatever you want to call him at a meeting or assignment, give him a big hello.
We are glad to have him on board.