In Memory of Scott Jacobs (March 27, 1950 – October 21, 2021)

He was hooked on video journalism until Thursday, October 21, 2021.

By Tom Weinberg (Founder, Media Burn)

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Intrepid young reporter in the 70’s

I handed him first portable video camera at Videopolis in 1974. He was on leave from reporting at the Chicago Sun-Times. He was hooked on video journalism from that day until Thursday, October 21, 2021.

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He loved getting people to talk on his camera

Scott lumbered. He laughed at his own witticisms and snorted. He was a force everywhere he went. His heart gave out all of a sudden, but he had a generous heart for so many of us for so long.

IPA, The Editing House will live on in many hundred brains and hearts. Scott, Starr, and Tom Shea started something with its own life at 1208 W. Webster. It grew like Topsy. It was THE place to put together the best of Chicago video: Hoop Dreams, THE 90’s, and probably a thousand others.

Scott had indelible effects on so many in his professional and personal lives. He was persistent, imaginative, yet remarkably adept at technical and logistic details. “Jake” never stopped having strong opinions or telling everyone his ideas about the way to do things. Many were spot-on.

I think he always thought of himself as a hard-bitten, hard-drinking old school newspaperman, even when we were young. Hence, he named himself and published as Stump Connolly.

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The latest of his ten or so books (many unpublished) is:

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 I Told You So! Donald Trump: The Awful Years

Release date January 4, 2022. It can be preordered. The early reviews are in: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/stump-connolly/i-told-you-so-1/

He never stopped trying, always plugging away at the next thing…for a helluva lot more than 40 hours a week. But his priority was for his three boys and Lucy. There’s no way top replace him for Justin, Ben, and Nick (now 14). Lucy (Domino) and the sons loved him and were able to find and benefit from the love he had to give. Our hearts and deep sympathy go to them.

Scott will live on in uncounted hearts and minds.  His video productions and huge body of writing will be around for a few generations. 

Scott’s prolific, never-stopping life was a long and windy trail, from Shorewood, Wisconsin, the Harvard Crimson, the Milwaukee Sentinel, Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Editing Center, Jane Byrne, Independent Programming Associates (IPA), Tom and Jake’s Hotel, and Subtle Communications. He produced and edited dozens of personal and political video documentaries (a bunch with me) and won an Emmy award for camerawork on Hobo. He was editor/publisher of the longest-running blog of anyone I know, The Week Behind. At least five of his books were published.      

He wasn’t anywhere close to done. It was shocking and way too soon.

(He and I had a great phone conversation last Wednesday at dinnertime, the day before he collapsed. We had a lunch date set for this Wednesday. I’ll go anyhow and hear his stories, his voice and his laugh).

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Here’s an arbitrary sample of Scott’s classic videos…there are many, many more, 19 pages.

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The Golden Gloves (1973)
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Real Reelness of the Higher Highness (1976) with Valjean McLenighan
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The Santa Tapes (1978)
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Inside the Clinton Command Post (1992)
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Stump Connolly Reporting In: Chuy’s Valentine (2015)

 

9 Comments

  1. Frank Rich says:

    What a kind and delightful person, a force of nature, always working for good, and always generous to everyone around him. I first met Scott in college and he never outgrew his youthful sense of humor, sense of mission, curiosity, and bottomless gift for friendship. He is missed well beyond Chicago.

  2. Jim Pianowski says:

    I’ve just heard the news…I am so saddened to hear of Scott’s passing. Scott and I met almost 50 years ago when a I was selling Sony B/W Reel to Reel PortaPaks…the hot new thing! He sometimes traded technical video knowledge provided by Tom Shea for videotape. I grew up in the business with Scott…a great businessman, videographer, writer and friend. I was so impressed with his talents and watched how they matured and was thrilled to see him get recognition and a reputation for his efforts and contributions. Scott was so politically involved but it wasn’t politics per se that fueled him, it was for the good of the country and people that motivated him. Scott had such wit and also a great sense of humor…hosting Las Vegas NAB poolside parties at the El Morocco…a pool that was cracked and had no water in it…but we had fun anyway. Scott was one of our founding fathers and a pillar of the Chicago video community. He trail blazed for many of us. So many things he did that, to him, were no big deal like serving on an advisory board for Columbia College and many others. He felt it a privilege. He will be so missed by so many. It was a privilege and a lifetime gift to be his friend. Love ya, Scott.

  3. Cody Jarrett says:

    What a legend. He was a great guy, even though he wouldn’t give me a gig the couple of times I tried. I’d still bring work to post at IPA because I loved the people and Scott. It was a great place to do work and it started at the top. Peace to his family and friends.

  4. Ben Jacobs says:

    Thank you for your kind words Tom, and this is a beautiful compilation of his work.

  5. Jonathan Alter says:

    Scott was such a zestful, joyful, insightful guy. I get back to Chicago only infrequently but always enjoyed connecting with him–and Stump Connally. My deepest condolences to his family, which, if you include all of the people he touched (and you should), is very large.

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