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This American Life Recalls The Days Of Newspaper Classifieds

Like so many others, I’m obsessed with This American Life, the radio show produced by WBEZ in Chicago. I came to itrelatively late, so there are many years worth of episodes that I missed along the way. This month, episode 223 from October 2002 appeared on my iPod and I just listened to it this week.

The topic: “Classifieds.” The TAL crew took one day of the Chicago Sun-Times classifieds advertising section and sought out the stories behind the ads. It’s a real nostalgia trip, taking us back to the days when the Sun-Times was still solvent and when newspapers still had classifieds. (Okay, they’re not completely gone, but…).

Even host Ira Glass, in re-introducing the episode last month, noted that the worlds of newspapers classifieds has largely faded, giving way to Craigslist since the episode ran. It would be interesting to hear TAL do an update, but this time using the Craiglist section for Chicago. But it’s still a wonderful piece, for more than just the nostalgia factor.

In the prologue, Glass interviews Marion Tanios, a classified section editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. She tells Glass that the news section are full of politics and business and sports. But when you read the classifieds, they tell the stories of real people’s lives.

Give it a listen here.

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