Briefs: Seymour Hersh’s Southwest Suburban roots

Briefs: Seymour Hersh’s Southwest Suburban roots

Briefs: Seymour Hersh’s Southwest Suburban roots

The hidden Southwest SuburbanChicagoland stories of Seymour Hersh, in Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park, and his publication of his own small community newspaper, revealed in his blockbuster new book “Reporter”

By Ray Hanania

Biographies of award-winning journalist #SeymourHersh leave out a very significant aspect of his career that he describes as having been instrumental in his rise in journalism, the fact that he started working in journalism for a small weekly owned and published by the Southwest Suburbanite Newspaper (later Southtown Economist) in the late 1950s covering stories in the Southwest Suburbs in Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn.

#Oaklawn #EvergreenPark #SouthwestSuburbs #Journalism #CommunityNewspapers

In 1960, Hersh broke with the editor and launched his own newspaper called the Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn Dispatch. Hersh’s immigrant parents settled in Chicago on East 47th Street and later he moved into the South Suburbs, then the north side. That’s where he spent the beginnings of his journalism career before being hired by the City News Bureau and then working for UPI and then AP.

Book cover of "Reporter" by author and journalist Seymour Hersh

Book cover of “Reporter” by author and journalist Seymour Hersh

Although he is best known for his stories breaking the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and exposing Capt. William Calley Jr., Hersh also broke the story about Mordechai Vanunu who exposed Israel’s lies about its nuclear weapons program — the mainstream American biased news media helped cover it up –Vanunu has been persecuted consistently by Israel’s secret police (the notorious Shin Bet) and the news media has played down the story as have all of the Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress like the Schumers and Clintons, Pelosi and others.



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Hersh’s new book “Reporter” is phenomenal and only a real journalist from the post-Front Page Days of Chicago could bring back the clarity of real journalism that is missing today.

It’s a real shame that the libraries in both Evergreen Park and in Oak Lawn don’t know anything about this. And I am shocked that I was able to rise up in journalism, before becoming a columnist and political analyst, under the shadow of this great man. To rise up in the shadow of Seymour Hersh is a great honor. My own journalism career followed his.

Writing independently for small newspapers. Being rejected by the big newspapers. Working at the Southtown Economist (Hersh was at a small tabloid owned by the predecessor, the Southwest Suburbanite newspaper), and then launching my own newspaper (The Villager Newspapers), as he did (The Dispatch), is amazing.

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(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who now writes a syndicated column on American politics and Middle East politics for the Southwest News newspaper chain and for the newspaper in Saudi Arabia. Visit his personal website at or email him a

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at

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