Mark Konkol

Writer at Large @KonkolsKorner

Mark Konkol lives on the South Side. He is a White Sox fan. He has a dog, cat and a Wikipedia page.

The writer-at-large for Chicago plays bad guitar, drinks good rum and enjoys long motorcycle rides to the beach.

He once was forced to trade his jeans for loaner fat-lady club pants to get in the Union League Club.

Konkol grew up in South Holland and graduated from Thornwood High School, which he likes to boast is where he struck out future Major League All-Star Cornelius “Cliff” Floyd in batting practice.

Konkol also tells people that for two years he was the starting left guard on the Culver-Stockton College football team. That didn't last. He graduated from Western Illinois University.

For the last 13 years, Konkol has written about Chicago, all of it. He’s covered Chicago City Hall, transportation, county government and courts, city neighborhoods and White Sox 2005 World Series run from a fan’s perspective.

Most recently, Konkol was the Writer at Large for the Chicago Sun-Times where he teamed up with his pals Frank Main and John J. Kim to produce a series of stories about "Why they won't stop shooting in Chicago" that was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

After that, Konkol’s mom said he was a pretty good reporter. Just to be safe, Konkol checked it out on Twitter. This is what he found: “@CharlesThomas7: Nobody covers Chicago’s ‘hood like Mark Konkol @konkolskorner.”

The neighborhoods, all of them; that's where Konkol's most comfortable writing about guys he'll never forget including Bernard, the homeless guy in River North. And that “Grandpa Joe” character, who ended a confrontation with Mike Royko by saying, “You’ll never be Studs. You’ll never be Algren.”

And you don't have to say it, Konkol already knows he'll never be Royko.

He's fine with that — Royko was never on Twitter.

Fun fact: At the final Sun-Times vs. Tribune flag football game in 2004, Konkol ran over a Trib reporter, who got really mad at him. Years later, at the urging of Chris “The Watchdog” Fusco, Konkol apologized to the Trib guy at a Christmas party even though Konkol really did nothing wrong. When a fat guy’s running as fast as he can, get out of the way. That’s just common sense.

Jefferson Park, Portage Park & Norwood Park »

August 20, 2014

Daughter's Film Tells Story of the 'Chicago' Guitarist You Don't Remember

Norwood Park native Terry Kath, leader of the band Chicago, died too soon to become a household name.

Lincoln Park & Old Town »

August 19, 2014

Wischen App is Like Uber, but for On-Demand Maid Services

Jim Neumann created an app for on-demand cleaning services that works like the popular car service.

Jefferson Park, Portage Park & Norwood Park »

August 15, 2014

Nintendo Music Lullabies Soothe the Babies of Old-School Gamers

Mark and Dan Polydoris teamed up to create lullabies based on their favorite Nintendo game theme songs.

Lincoln Park & Old Town »

August 13, 2014

He Blazed a Trail As a Cheerleader, Now Jerry Quandt Wants To Be Alderman

Former "boy cheerleader" hopes to prove there's a place for an independent aldermen in Chicago.

Chicago »

August 12, 2014

Bears Great Ed Sprinkle Once Was 'the Meanest Man in Football'

KONKOL: Sprinkle, who died in July at 90, followed the code: Do unto others before others do unto you.

Lincoln Park & Old Town »

August 11, 2014

Blake Grigsby's Positive Pranks Blow Up on YouTube

MARK KONKOL: Millions have seen Blake Grigsby's videos, which are part comedy, part social experiment.

Downtown, South Loop & River North »

August 8, 2014

Wanna Get Happy? Talk To Strangers On The Train, New Study Says

MARK KONKOL: University of Chicago researchers found that talking to strangers makes people happy.

Downtown, South Loop & River North »

August 8, 2014

VIDEO: Happy Are Those Who Chat Up Strangers on the Train, Study Shows

Mark Konkol and Jackie Kostek talk about a new study that may make commuters think.