An epic day for Chicago journalism

Power of the PressBehold the power of the press.

Any doubt that newspapers still matter was wiped away Friday when the nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley was sentenced in court for his role in the death of 21-year-old David Koschman a decade ago.

That’s because Richard Vanecko, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, never would have faced justice if not for years of painstaking, dogged and courageous work by the Sun-Times and most notably by reporters Tim Novak, Chris Fusco and Carol Marin.

Without their unwavering pursuit of the truth — and the support of their editors — Nanci Koschman never would have received the apology she finally heard Friday from the man who took her son’s life in a drunken confrontation outside a Rush Street bar in 2004.

David Koschman

David Koschman

“I just wanted to find out why my son’s case was handled the way it was,” she told reporters outside the courtroom. “I wanted to know what happened that night. And I think I’ve gotten a lot more of my answers in the last two and a half years. For that I’m grateful to everybody.”

In the finest tradition of Chicago journalism, the Sun-Times exposed the clout and coverups that conspired to deny justice to a grieving mother. Remember that the next time you question the vital role of newspapers in our lives or contemplate the uncertain future of our city’s struggling second daily.

“There were a lot of people who believed this was a crusade,” said Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times. “In fact this always was an effort to get to the truth thanks to the incredible, tenacious reporting on behalf of Tim Novak, Chris Fusco and Carol Marin.”