Chicago-based citizen journalist Avy Meyers passed away on Memorial Day at the age of 66.
Avy ran the award-winning North Town News Magazine, a locally-oriented cable access show that later added an Internet component. He also published Jewish Chicago, a tabloid-format newsletter that was essential reading at election time — and especially in primary season — for its political endorsements, which carried heavy weight in the Chicago Jewish community.
Local politicians of both parties would line up in Avy’s cavelike living room in West Rogers Park to be interviewed, whether they were running at city, county, state, or federal levels. His studio was simple yet professional, run by the highly capable Sonny Hersh. Both Avy and Sonny took an active interest in community policing and were involved in local oversight of the Chicago Police Department, an endeavor to which Sonny remains deeply committed.
Though most of Avy’s interviews were of local interest, he briefly broke into the national spotlight for interviewing Anita Alvarez, the Cook County State’s Attorney whose handling of the killing of black teenager Laquan McDonald caused a major controversy during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. McDonald, who was armed with a knife, was shot 16 times by a white police officer. Video of the killing was kept under wraps by the city for months.
Avy’s interviews included several signature quirks, such as each guest being required to perform an impression of his barber, Marty Levinson, complete with scissors or other props. Avy was a friend and a fan of the Breitbart News website. As fate would have it, I was one of the guests on Avy’s last program, which has yet to air in Chicago but is already online.
Meyers is being laid to rest at the Waldheim Jewish cemetery in Chicago on Tuesday.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.