"The Mirage Takes Shape" - Zay N. Smith and Pamela Zekman - Columbia Journalism Review

"The Sun-Times tavern series exposed city-wide corruption - but raised questions about press ethics. Here, the reporters who wrote the series describe how, and why, their newspaper started pouring shots in the Windy City."

Byline: Zay N. Smith, Pamela Zekman; 1979-09-01; Columbia Journalism Review; pages pp. 53-57

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"Every editor had his own way of saying: nice idea, but let's get serious. It was time she learned Hoge's way. 'We'd have to budget at least a year ahead for something like that,' he said. 'At least a year.' Zekman slowed the stroll. 'Are you saying . . .?' 'And there are a lot of questions. Entrapment for one. Security. We'd have to go at it very carefully.' 'Are you saying we could actually do it?' 'Let me take a look at the budget. That's where we'd have to start.'

Description:The article is adapted from Smith and Zekman's bookThe Mirage which details their experiences in conceiving and executing the Sun-Times's Mirage tavern sting.

Rights: Copyrighted, used with permission.

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Image of what became known as the Mirage Team.

Additional Media

Article in Columbia's Journalism Review titled, "The Mirage Takes Shape." Written by Pamela Zekman and Zay N. Smith.