Ray Hanania is a veteran Chicago journalist. He covered Chicago City Hall politics and regional Illinois politics from 1977 through 1992, including seven years with the Chicago Sun-Times. His work included political column writing as well as daily news reporting, and feature and "big picture" analysis. It also included 18 months as the political writer for the "insider column," Page 10.
He won several awards for his journalism, including two Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and earned a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize from the Chicago Sun-Times for a series of stories exploring the Palestinian rebellion (Intifada).
During that time, he hosted live call-in radio talk show programs, including for 10 years with the 50,000 Watt giant WLS Radio, and substituted often for the morning drive personalities.
He was a regular on television's #1 Political Interview program "City Desk" hosted by Dick Kay on WMAQ-TV (NBC affiliate), appearing an average of 28 times each year to question political guests that ranged from governors, to senators and local officials. And, he appeared as a regular commentator on Joel Weisman's popular political roundtable every Friday, Chicago Week in Review (WTTW Channel 11 PBS), appearing as the City Hall reporter an average of 20 times each year. He appeared on and off on every single Chicago television news talk show program as an authority on Chicago politics, and co-hosted the Friday roundtable broadcast each week by NPR Chicago affiliate WBEZ, exploring regional political trends.
Ray also served as a panelist on the Chicago Mayoral debate in 1990, a contest that launched the mayoralty of Richard M. Daley.
In 1992, he launched the political campaign consulting Urban Strategies Group which provided political consulting, after experiencing a political campaign firsthand running as a "suicide candidate" in the 38th Illinois House District as a Democrat. (It's good to see how vicious some reporters in the news media who have no scruples can be, and to understand firsthand the experiences candidates have in the "fish bowl.")
Candidates and clients included a wide assortment of Chicago's colorful political landscape, writing speeches and designing web sites for Mayor Daley, designing web sites and message strategies for city agencies, managing and directing political campaigns for countless Chicago aldermen, Chicago Democratic committeemen, state legislators, county commissioners, and three successful candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Several clients included those with serious public relation challenges requiring extensive crisis management. And, experience includes international communications consulting.
He provided basic media training also to the Ministry of Information in the Palestine National Authority, working with Yasser Abed Rabbo who surfaced as one of the country's leading moderates speaking out against violence and in support of compromise with Israel. Hanania has been a longtime outspoken critic of violence and advocate of peaceful relations between Palestinians and Israelis. He has been tapped by the U.S. State Department and the US Information Agency to provide media training sessions, meetings and presentations during the past decade to foreign media and government officials. He participated in meeting with President Clinton and Israelis and Palestinian officials towards strengthening the Oslo Peace Accords.
Some of the successful clients have included Ald. Bernard Stone, County Commissioners Maria Pappas and Allan Carr, Congressmen Danny K. Davis, Bobby Rush, Hispanic Democratic Organization, Louis Guiterrez, Ald. Danny Solis, Democratic Central Committeewoman Iris Martinez, and an independent slate in Indiana's local municipal elections.
Hanania has more than a decade experience as a senior manager for a Chicago Public Relations firm, overseeing B2B and B2C media and PR strategies. He also managed public affairs and grassroots campaigns for several major Illinois corporations in gaming, telecommunications, aviation, healthcare, liquor industry, and education.