Monday, January 08, 2007

UFO Update

National Ledger's Jeff Freeland has a good article about the great media interest generated by the O'Hare UFO report. It starts with this paragraph:

Was there really a UFO at O'Hare in Chicago? In a word - yes. No matter how one slices and dices the information coming out of the Windy city's major airport, there was an object that a dozen or so witnesses saw and it has yet to be identified. Unless of course you actually believe it was the weather.
Read the whole thing here.

Meanwhile, Jon Hilkevitch, the Chicago Tribune reporter who started everything with his January 1st story, reflects on the story behind the story in a January 7th article:

Covering UFOs seemed to be stretching the definition of my job, transportation reporting. I looked at the clock on the newsroom wall and decided to give Mr. Davenport two minutes.

But he was onto something.

The UFO story, published Monday, became the most-read piece to appear on It was the top story on the Tribune Web site for four straight days, garnering more than 1 million page views from people around the world.
He also asks a question that I've had since the start:

How is it that someone smuggled a camera cell phone into a Baghdad execution chamber to chronicle the hanging of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein last month, but no one among the thousands of airport workers and travelers at O'Hare snapped a picture for the cosmic family photo album?
There have been reports on various blogs that someone actually did take pictures, but nothing more than that - just rumors.

Hilkevitch (who may have found his nitch) follows up with a January 8th article entitled, "UFO Report Stirs Believers, Skeptics," which is mostly a sampling of email reaction he's received:
A man in Aurora said he came home from work on the same day as the O'Hare sighting, looked skyward in his back yard and spied a shiny round object hovering between two masses of clouds. And then it disappeared.

A woman from Ireland wrote to asked what the heck was happening at "O'Hara."

A man named Montana said he had encounters with extraterrestrials in Romania and in Wichita, Kan. He expressed amazement that neither incident made the news.

It may never be known whether the phenomenon at O'Hare on Nov. 7--which was reported by numerous United Airlines employees--was an actual UFO sighting, or much ado about nothing. But readers don't seem to mind offering their opinions.
This whole flap reminds me of the Phoenix Lights that generated so much interest, ten years ago this coming March. Look for a rise in interest in UFO's as the anniversary approaches.

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