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MILESTONE FOR CNI! Capitol News Illinois, the Illinois Press Foundation's statehouse news service, reached a milestone this week for stories published in Illinois newspapers . Check it out on Page 30!





Great programming in store for convention!


o, here we are again. We’re ready for the annual Illinois Press Association/ Foundation annual convention. And, unfortunately, we’re preparing to meet virtually. We all had hoped that we could have our 2021 convention in person in Springfield. But just like in 2020, the pandemic has forced us to meet on our computer screens, via Zoom. And, also like last year, we’ll make the best of the situation! We are taking what we learned when we hosted our first virtual convention in September to put forth an even better program May 5 -7. We are honored to have House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon kick off our convention on Wednesday, May 5. It will be interesting to hear both leaders talk about what’s it’s been managing the General Assembly through a pandemic. Harmon succeeded longtime Senate President John Cullerton just a few weeks before COVID-19 shut state government down along with everything else. And Welch was voted into the position amid the pandemic in January, replacing an even longer standing leader – former House Speaker Michael Madigan. We will be soliciting questions from you in the days leading up to the sessions, so have them ready! The roster of this year’s convention programming is exceptionally strong. We have a nice mix of presentations from experts in their respective fields as well as our own members

sharing their experiences and expertise. We also have interesting presentations from convention sponsors planned, including an exciting announcement from Illinois Farm Bureau. I’m looking forward to hearing IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson talk about how decisions were made on high school sports SAM FISHER during this pandemic. And President & CEO Mark Baldwin’s presentation on news literacy is sure to provide plenty of food for thought at your newspaper. We’re also excited about having media sales coach Ryan Dohrn return to this year’s convention. His was one of the most popular presentations last year! The panel of Brad Guettel, Jason Hegna, Jackie Martin and Bev Sams on making good hires in ad departments should also be a good one! There’s plenty of information about this year’s programming in this edition of PressLines. I urge you to take some time to look through it, and register for the sessions that interest you. Just like last year, all of the programming is being offered at no cost. As always, your participation in this convention is important, as is your involvement


900 Community Drive Springfield, IL 62703 Ph. 217-241-1300 Fax 217-241-1301

Don Bricker | Chair Shaw Media, Crystal Lake Sue Walker | Vice-Chair Herald Newspapers, Inc., Chicago Dorothy Leavell | Treasurer Crusader Group, Chicago Ginger Lamb | Secretary Law Bulletin Media, Chicago Scott Stone | Immediate Past Chair Daily Herald Media Group, Arlington Heights

Click here to register for this year's convention! in the Illinois Press Association. We all share the same unity of purpose and your continued involvement guarantees our future success. For now we meet virtually, but the time is near that we all can gather together as we have in the past. That’s a day that we all have to look forward to!

DIRECTORS Stefanie Anderson Paddock Publications Inc./ Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group David Bauer Hearst Newspapers, Jacksonville Durrell Garth Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group Margaret Holt Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago

Rinda Maddux The Sidell Reporter Jim Slonoff The Hinsdalean, Hinsdale Ron Wallace Quincy Herald-Whig Nykia Wright Chicago Sun-Times

IPA STAFF | PHONE 217-241-1300 Sam Fisher, President & CEO Ext. 222 –

Sandy Pistole, Director of Revenue Ext. 238 -

Ron Kline, Technology & Online Coordinator Ext. 239 -

Tracy Spoonmore, Chief Financial Officer Ext. 237 -

Cindy Bedolli, Member Relations Ext. 226 -

Jeff Rogers, Director of Foundation Ext. 286 –

ILLINOIS PRESSLINES is published bimonthly for $30 per year for Illinois Press Association members by the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703. Jeff Rogers, Editor © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Volume 27 Convention 2021 Number 3 Date of Issue: 4/26/2021





Great news in Farm Bureau partnership with Illinois Press Foundation

n the March-April edition of PressLines, I wrote about collaborations being a key to growth for the Illinois Press Foundation and its programs. Since that writing, something wonderful happened to prove that point! I won’t bury the lede. Illinois Farm Bureau will be the financial sponsor of this year’s Illinois Press Foundation mini-grants program that assists existing media programs at public and private high schools throughout the state. This is fantastic news that has been

many months in the making. Illinois Farm Bureau has been a strong partner of the Foundation, Capitol News Illinois and the Illinois Press Association in many capacities. The most public examples of that are the collaborative news stories that have been distributed by both the IPA and CNI. Promotion: There will be more exciting news about those types of collaborations during Illinois Farm Bureau’s program at noon, Wednesday, May 5, during our virtual convention. You should sign up to watch it! The relationship with Illinois Farm

Bureau really took off when the Foundation launched Capitol News Illinois in 2019. Since then, the Farm Bureau has expressed an interest in finding more ways to provide financial JEFF ROGERS support to our organizations Director of Foundation beyond its IPA membership. That opportunity presented itself in recent months as we discussed the Foundation’s mini-grants program. You might not be aware of the minigrants program. This actually will be the first year of the program since 2018 – as Capitol News Illinois has sort of, and understandably, taken up most of the Foundation’s oxygen and resources since its inception. Here’s what you should know about the mini-grants program: Selected schools receive grants of up to $1,500 from the Illinois Press Foundation to pay for a computer, software or other equipment needed for a high school’s student media program to produce print or online newspapers. School media programs received application information April 19, with requests due on or before May 14. Funds or equipment will be received in September. The mini-grants program will provide funding or equipment to as many as 15 high school media programs.

Your newspaper should have received a news release on April 16 announcing the Illinois Farm Bureau’s financial sponsorship of the program. If you published it in your print and digital platforms, thank you! That publicity will help to ensure the mini-grants program reaches as many high school journalism programs as possible. Your continued help will also be important. If you work with or know of a local high school student publication, please encourage its advisers and instructors to apply for a grant. If a high school in your coverage area receives a grant, you’ll be asked to help us publicize that as well – through your presence at a checkpassing event and in publishing a corresponding story and photo. If you’re reading this, you have a passion for journalism and its future. The Illinois Press Foundation shares that passion. So, too, does Illinois Farm Bureau. It, too, values the opportunity to help student journalists and high school journalism programs. “Illinois Farm Bureau is really excited to be a part of program that will assist Illinois high school students in developing their writing and reporting skills while also sharing the news of their school,” said Chris Magnuson, executive director of Illinois Farm Bureau’s News and Communication division. “These types of hands-on opportunities typically create future career goals, and it’s exciting to think that some of these students could one day help tell agriculture and rural America’s story.” Exciting, indeed.

Click It! Click here to register for Illinois Farm Bureau's convention program Click here for more information on the mini-grants program





WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 8:30-9 a.m.: KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch 9:05-9:35 a.m.: KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Illinois Senate President Don Harmon 9:45-10:45 a.m.: Ryan Dohrn, media sales coach "Flipping Objections on the Spot!" 11-11:45 a.m.: Panelists: Brad Guettel, talent acquisition manager with Lee Enterprises; Jason Hegna, VP of sales with Shaw Media; Jackie Martin, advertising director with The News-Gazette in Champaign; and Bev Sams, advertising digital and marketing director with The Daily-Journal in Kankakee - "Get It Right With Great Hires" Noon-12:25 p.m.: Illinois Farm Bureau panelists: Jeff Brown, director of news and communications, and DeAnne Bloomberg, director of issues management - "Broadening, Localizing Your Coverage of Agriculture" 12:35-1 p.m.: Lineup Systems advertising sales solutions panel - "Sell More and Increase Efficiency Across the Board!" 1:15-2 p.m.: Brant Houston, professor and Knight chair of Investigative Reporting Journalism Department,


College of Media, University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign - "News Business Models For Newspapers" 2:15-3:15 p.m.: Mark Baldwin, former executive editor of the Rockford Register Star - "Build Credibility Through News Literacy" 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Panelists: Corina Curry, news director, Rockford Register Star; Jeffry Couch, editor and general manager of the Belleville News-Democrat; and Jeff D'Alessio, editor of the News-Gazette of Champaign - "Prioritizing Coverage of Underserved Communities THURSDAY, MAY 6 8:30-9:30 a.m.: "Great Idea Exchange - That's My Idea!" 9:45-10:45 a.m.: Charity Huff, CEO of January Spring - "Digital Selling Skills" 11-11:45 a.m.: Panelists: Don Craven, IPA attorney; Sam Fisher, IPA president and CEO; Ginger Lamb, publisher of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin; and Sue Walker, general manager of Herald Newspapers, Inc. "Public Notices and Your Newspaper" Noon-12:25 p.m.: Tucker Kennedy, director of community and public relations at Ameren Illinois -

"Connecting With The Power Source" 12:35-1 p.m.: Devlyn Brooks, president of Modulist - "Optimizing Obituaries to Drive Traffic and Incrrease Revenue" 1:15-2 p.m.: Mike Reilley, SPJ digital trainer in the Google News Initiative program - "Google Basic Tools, Searching and Fact-Checking" 2:15-3:15 p.m.: Craig Anderson, IHSA executive director - "Prep Sports During a Pandemic" 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Panelists: Janice Hunt, owner and publisher of the Oakland Independent; and Pamela Lannom, editor of The Hinsdaelean - "Small Papers Have a Big Impact In Their Communities" FRIDAY, MAY 7 9-10 a.m.: Illinois Press Association Advertising Awards 10:15-10:40 a.m.: Matthew Larson, president and CEO of Our-Hometown - "Using Automation to Increase Audience Revenue and Engagement" Noon-12:45 p.m.: Illinois Associated Press Media Editor Awards, with guest speaker Robert Feder 2-3:30 p.m.: Illinois Press Association Best of the Press Editorial Awards









9:05-9:35 A.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 5



Photo Credit: Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register

Photo Credit: Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch not only became the first Black leader of the House when he was elected to the position in January, he succeeded the longest-standing leader in U.S. history – Michael Madigan. Welch became speaker as the General Assembly continued to balance its responsibilities with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Welch will speak about all of that and more – and take questions – as the General Assembly enters the final weeks of its spring session.

Don Harmon was elected to serve as the 39th president of the Senate in January 2020. An Oak Park native, Harmon was first elected to the Illinois Senate in 2002. During his time in the General Assembly, he has championed early childhood education, ethics reform, curbing gun violence, protecting civil rights and expanding voter access. In the Senate, he previously served as president pro tempore and chaired the influential Executive Committee.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Emanuel “Chris” Welch has served as a state representative in the Illinois General Assembly since January 2013. On Jan. 13, 2021, he became the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, the first Black lawmaker to hold the position. Prior to becoming speaker, Welch served as chairman of the House Executive Committee and before that he chaired the Higher Education Committee. Welch is aDemocrat from Hillside.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Don Harmon was elected to serve asthe 39thpresident of the Senate in January 2020. An Oak Park native, Harmon was first elected to the Illinois Senate in 2002. During his time in the General Assembly, he has championed early childhood education, ethics reform, curbing gun violence, protecting civil rights and expanding voter access. In the Senate, he previously served as president pro tempore and chaired the influential Executive Committee.

9:45-10:45 A.M.., WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 RYAN DOHRN, MEDIA SALES COACH - FLIPPING OBJECTIONS ON THE SPOT! Objection handling is a skill that all newspaper salespeople need to master. COVID has put a new set of objections in play too. Ryan will highlight the six most common objections media salespeople face on a daily basis and show you how to flip those objections into closed deals with ease and style. Because Ryan sells every day, these objections and scenarios are timely, relevant, and practical. Ryan will dig deep into objections like, "I'm moving all my advertising to social media." And, "I am not seeing ROI from print." And, "Why don't you just write an article about my company?" his workshop is designed to give sales reps at all levels the skills they need to walk into any conversation with an advertiser with confidence. With 25+

years' experience in the media sales business, Ryan has heard it all. And because he still sells media today, his responses will be relevant, timely, and right on the mark! ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Ryan Dohrn is the founder of media sales strategy firm Brain Swell Media and the creator of the 360 Ad Sales System taught to over 30,000 media sales professionals in 7 countries. Ryan works with over 200 newspapers per year and has a deep passion for thecommunity newspaper business.Ryan’s 30-year media sales and marketing career includes leadership roles at PennWell Publishing, Morris Publishing, Disney/ABC TV and The NY Times Company. He is an Emmy Award winner, business book author, and has been featured in USA Today and on




2021 CONVENTION PROGRAMS 11-11:45 A.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 PANEL - GET IT RIGHT WITH GOOD HIRES Join us as a panel of advertising leaders share their best practices in hiring and retaining sales reps. They will share their best hiring and interviewing techniques, compensation plans, sales motivation ideas, and retaining practices. This is for owners, publishers, ad directors, managers, sales managers or anyone that is working with sales teams. BRAD GUETTEL has been the Talent Acquisition Manager, Advertising Sales with Lee Enterprises since Feb 2019. He has over 18 years’ Talent Acquisition experience, with majority of time spent recruiting for B2B Sales within Telecommunications, Software, IT and Media industries. His forte is attracting and driving sales talent to the organization. He grew up in Mukwonago, WI and attended Carroll University where he graduated in 2001 and was inducted into their Athletic Hall of Fame (football and track) in 2013. He now resides in Waukesha, WI. He is married to my wife Gina with two daughters Julia (15) and Lyla (14). He is a family man with passion for the outdoors, sports, travel, music, and a good bbq. For several years he has been a volunteer youth coach for football andsoftball and recently has been coaching at the high scho ol level. His favorite quote to live by is from Steve Prefontaine: “To Give Anything Less Than Your Best, Is To Sacrifice The Gift” JASON HEGNA has been in the industry for over 26 years starting his career in a local sales territory for the Daily Herald and moving thru various category sales roles before entering the sales management team. Jason has been in various sales management roles for the last 17 years spending 7 as the Director of Advertising for Daily Herald and the last 6 with Shaw Media currently serving as the VP of Sales. JACKIE MARTIN has been in the newspaper advertising field for over 38 years. She currently is the Advertising Director for the News-Gazette in > Champaign, Illinois. She enjoys working with staff, helping to create new > and fresh ideas and seeing a project being created from start to finish. > In her career through the years she has been faced with the challenges of how to retain and motivate staff, especially during a pandemic A Midwest transplant, BEV SAMS has more than 30 years of media and marketing experience. Though she’s a true salesperson at heart, her main goal is to train and lead her sales team to help the customer through the multimedia buying process and, more importantly, transform her executives into multimedia experts.In addition to coaching and leading her team, she believes it’s important to give more than you take. That creed has led her to always try to exceed the AE’s and newspaper customer’s expectations. If you do that, she says, you will always have motivated AE’s and long-termcustomers.Outside of the office, Bev loves spending time with her two young adult children. She also loves to cook, work on home improvement projects with her husband, and anything outdoors. Tucson will always be home to Bev. And as one of 6 children, she spends a lot of time traveling west to visit her very large family.

Brant Houston

Jason Hegna

Jackie Martin

Bev Sams




2021 CONVENTION PROGRAMS NOON-12:25 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 lLLINOIS FARM BUREAU BROADENING, LOCALIZING YOUR COVERAGE OF AGRICULTURE Presenters: DeAnne Bloomberg, director of issue management, and Jeff Brown, director of news and communications, for the Illinois Farm Bureau The Illinois Farm Bureau and Illinois Press Association will announce an exciting new collaborative project to deliver more farming and food sector news to the state’s newspapers. Farm Bureau communications leaders DeAnne Bloomberg and Jeff Brown will also talk about how their organization’s journalists and content platforms may be used to increase, improve and localize your own agribusiness reporting. 12:35-1 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 LINEUP - SELL MORE AND INCREASE EFFICIENCY ACROSS THE BOARD! Increase your business agility by using one platform to manage every aspect of multichannel advertising sales and finance processes for all your publications. Learn how Lineup’s Adpoint CRM, A/R system will integrate print and digital advertising sales process onto one platform managing everything from generating leads for sales reps to payment collections. 1:15-2 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 BRANT HOUSTON - NEW BUSINESS MODELS FOR NEWSPAPERS The number of nonprofit newsrooms has been surging over the past decade. Most of them have been created by small groups of journalists who want to do community and watchdog reporting. More recently, some for-profit newspapers have been converting to nonprofit status to preserve their community journalism. This session will look at the reasons for the rise in the nonprofit model, how for-profit Brant Houston newspapers are collaborating with these newer journalism organizations, and what factors newspapers look at when weighing whether to become nonprofit. Professor BRANT HOUSTON holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Houston teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism in the College of Media at Illinois. He also oversees the online newsroom at Illinois,, which serves as a lab for digital innovation and data journalism. Houston became the chair in 2007 after serving for more than a decade as the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a 5,000-member organization, and as a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Before joining IRE, he was an award-winning investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 17 years. Houston is the author of five editions of the textbook, “Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide,” andco-author of the fourth edition and fifth edition of “The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook.” He co-founded the Global Investigative Journalism Network in 2003 and serves as chair of its board of directors. He has taught and spoken about investigative andcomputer-assisted reporting at newsrooms and universities in 25 countries.

2:15-3:15, WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 MARK BALDWIN - BUILD CREDIBILITY THROUGH NEWS LITERACY We’ve all seen misinformation zip through our communities, not to mention around the world, in the blink of an eye. The best defense: a vigorous program of news literacy education. In this interactive session, you’ll learn how to build a news literacy movement in your community and why it makes good business sense. MARK BALDWIN is the former executive editor of the Rockford Register Star. During his tenure, he led efforts to introduce news Mark Baldwin literacy education to Rockford-area classrooms. He previously worked for news organizations in Wisconsin, Kansas, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and was an adjunct lecturer in journalism at Northwestern University. He served as a member of the boards of the Associated Press Media Editors and the News Leaders Association. He was named GateHouse Media Editor of the Year for 2017. 3:30-4:30 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 PANEL - PRIORITIZING COVERAGE OF UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES For decades, news organizations have struggled to consistently report on and connect with underserved communities in their coverage area. Jeffry Couch, editor and general manager of the Belleville News-Democrat, talks about how the addition of Jeff D'Alessio Corina Curry Jeffry Couch Report For America reporters to his newsroom has helped the paper diversify its coverage. Jeff D’Alessio, editor of the News-Gazette in Champaign, will talk about the newspaper’s “Being Black in America” series that earned it the national distinction as one of “10 News Publishers That Do It Right” by Editor & Publisher. JEFFRY COUCH has led the Belleville News-Democrat’s newsroom for 17 years. In 2018, he was appointed general manager, making him the newspaper’s top executive while also remaining as its editor. Couch joined the BND as executive editor in 2004. During his tenure, the newsroom has expanded its investigative and enterprise work as the BND has evolved into a digital media company and has had a record of strong digital audience growth. With more than 40 years as a professional journalist, Couch has worked as a reporter and editor in western Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina. CORINA CURRY was named news director, the top newsroom leadership position, of the Rockford Register Star in March. She has worked for the newspaper for 22 years as a reporter. She has covered everything from crime and courts to city government and education. In recent years, she has focused on watchdog journalism and investigative reporting that exposes disparities and inequities throughout the community. She is the daughter of an Indiana native and a Taiwanese immigrant, and is the first person of color to serve as newsroom leader at the Register Star. JEFF D’ALESSIO is in his second act with The Champaign News-Gazette, where he worked as a sportswriter from 1994-2000 and returned as editor in 2013.In between, he servedas sports editor of Florida Today, deputy sports editor and senior editor/ news at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and editor-in-chief of Sporting News.




2021 CONVENTION PROGRAMS 8:30-9:30 A.M., THURSDAY, MAY 6 GREAT IDEA EXCHANGE - THAT'S MY IDEA! You will get some great advertising revenue ideas during this 45-minute session. We will share entries from newspapers around the state and announce the top four winners of $50 each. 9:45-10:45 A.M., THURSDAY, MAY 6 CHARITY HUFF - DIGITAL SELLING SKILLS Media sales veteran and serial entrepreneur, Charity Huff, will take you through the key skills and tools you need to arm your sales team with to successfully pivot your business. Digital content consumption is up 70% year-over-year. audience, and access to those people, is more important than ever to local advertisers. In this one-hour, fast-paced talk, Charity will share: n How to rebuild your sales pipeline using the right sales Charity Huff automation tools, lead gen outreach and advertising mix. n How to package your full offering into the right multimedia selling machine. n Use case studies, testimonials and your own solid marketing as selling tools n How to leverage your audience to broaden the conversation with your advertiser CHARITY HUFF is CEO of January Spring, a digital marketing & advertising agency that works exclusively with niche publishers. Charity has designed and delivered multi-media sales programs, working alongside 5,000+ sales professionals from the media and tech industries over her 20+ year career. She and her team have built a proven model to enhance your offering to include off-site digital using a combination of geo-fencing, device targeting, household targeting, paid social, and search marketing. Charity sits on the board of several privatelyheld companies, including Swift Communications. NOON-12:25 P.M., THURSDAY, MAY 6 AMEREN ILLINOIS - CONNECTING WITH THE POWER SOURCE Presenter: Tucker Kennedy, director of community and public relations at Ameren Illinois The energy industry is rapidly changing and growing, and Tucker Kennedy, director of community and public relations at Ameren Illinois, will talk about some of the ongoing initiatives of the provider of power to roughly two-thirds of the state. He’ll also discuss how Ameren can help Illinois newspapers cover important energy issues in their community. 12:35-1 P.M., THURSDAY, MAY 6 MODULIST OPTIMIZING OBITUARIES TO DRIVE TRAFFIC AND INCREASE REVENUE Presenter: Devlyn Brooks, president of Modulist Join media professionals with more than 25 years of experience to learn how obituaries drive digital traffic, ensure reader engagement and increase revenue. Attendees of this webinar will receive educational tools including best practices and online customer service materials. A portion of this presentation will be Question and Answer. Please feel free to submit a specific question before May 1 by emailing it to




2021 CONVENTION PROGRAMS 11-11:45 A.M., THURSDAY, MAY 6 PANEL - PUBLIC NOTICES AND YOUR NEWSPAPER Panelists: Don Craven, IPA attorney; Sam Fisher, IPA president & CEO; Ginger Lamb, publisher of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, IPA Board secretary and Government Relations Committee chairman; and Sue Walker, general manager of Herald Newspapers, Inc., and IPA Board vice-chair. The public notice landscape is under attack at legislatures across the country and Illinois has seen Don Craven Sam Fisher its fair share of bills this session. Learn how you can assist the Illinois Press Association get ahead of and defend future legislation. We’ll share tips and strategies publishers and their teams can use to build relationships with elected officials, ward off errors and put your best foot forward on preserving public notices in print and online at This program will also furnish you and your staff with an understanding Sue Walker Ginger Lamb about public notices, criteria for publication and what is needed to certify that the notices were properly completed to satisfy the publishing requirements. DON CRAVEN is general counsel to the Illinois Press Association, the Illinois NewsBroadcasters Association, the Illinois Broadcasters Association, and he also maintains a general business practice in Springfield. GINGER LAMB is the vice president and publisher of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer. She joined Law Bulletin Media in May of 2016 from the Arizona Capitol Times, an award-winning nonpartisan news and information service for lobbyists, public affairs and business professionals in Phoenix, where she served as vice president and publisher. Before that she served as vice president and publisher of The Daily Record in Kansas City, Missouri, and editorial director of The Daily Record in Rochester, New York. She is a past president of the Arizona Newspapers Association and served as its legislative committee chair. She is also a past president and board member of the American Court & Commercial Newspaper Association. Ginger serves as a board member and secretary for the Public Notice Resource Center. A native of Barker, New York, Ginger graduated from the State University of New York, College at Brockport and Niagara County Community College where she received the President’s Medallion and was inducted as a Distinguished Alumnae. SUSAN WALKER is vice president and general manager of the Hyde Park Herald. She has held this position since 1994. Walker began her career in the newspaper field in 1978 as a receptionist at Suburban Trib, a subsidiary of the Chicago Tribune. She soon realized that the newspaper ink ran threw her veins. After two years in the office position, Walker decided to join the advertising sales department and was a top achiever in the field.After a few years away, Walker decided to get back into the newspaper industry and started working at the Daily Calumet. The newspaper was purchased by Pulitzer Community Newspapers and soon she was promoted to advertising manager. After a lengthy stint at the Pulitzer, a coworker approached her about an interview with Bruce Sagan, publisher/owner of the Hyde Park Herald. In 1994, Walker was offered a position at the Hyde Park Herald.In this new role, she became involved with many different aspects of the business as promised by Sagan. Walker is assistant secretary for Cook County Suburban Publishing and she is also the vice president ofAccredited Chicago Newspapers. She soon became involved with Illinois Press Association (IPA). In her early years, it was more of a behind the scenes part. During the last fifteen years, she has become much more in the forefront. Presently, she is vice chairman of the IPA board and on the Government Relations Committee.








2:15-3:15 P.M., THURSDAY, MAY 6



Mike Reilley

Google basic tools, searching and fact-checking: Google Fact-Check Explorer, Google Public Data Explorer, Google Dataset Search, Google Scholar, for crowd size estimates, Google Reverse Image Search for fact-checking photos and much more. All of the tools we'll use are browserbased and free, so have your laptop with you and this primer open on a Chrome browser window:

MIKE REILLEY, an SPJ digital trainer in the Google News Initiative program, has trained more than 8,000 journalists and educators in 40 states over the past 5½ years. He also is founder of and trainer in the Penny Press Digital LLC, a consulting and training company. When he’s not doing trainings, he teaches data and multimedia journalism at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he has been a full-time faculty member for five years. A former reporter at the LA Times and web editor at the Chicago Tribune, Mike served for 13 years as a faculty member at Northwestern, Arizona State University and DePaul University, teaching digital journalism to hundreds of students and professional journalists. He holds journalism degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (undergrad) and Northwestern University (masters). Mike founded and updates the research site The Journalist’s Toolbox ( for SPJ and runs the awardwinning Chicago site, The Red LineProject (

Craig Anderson

school year.

The pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives in the past year. High school sports have been no different. Craig Anderson, the executive director of the agency tasked with managing the state’s high school sports, talks about how the games have changed in recent months. He’ll talk about the IHSA’s processes in determining how and when it was safe for high school athletes to return to action, how it worked with the state in making those decisions, and how it managed access for both spectators and the press. He’ll also provide a glimpse of what prep sports might look like during the 2021-22

CRAIG ANDERSON became the 32nd individual to serve the IHSA as an Assistant Executive Director when he was named to the position by the IHSA Board of Directors on February 11, 2010. On June 9, 2015, Anderson was named to replace Marty Hickman as executive director of the IHSA, upon Hickman's retirement in January, 2016. This makes Anderson the seventh individual to serve as the organization's Executive Director.In this role Anderson provides oversight of investigations, eligibility rulings, strategic planning, fiscal managements, office operations and working with the IHSA Board of Directors.Prior to starting at the IHSA, Anderson held the position of Athletic Director at Washington High School and also served as the Tournament Director for the nationally renowned State Farm Basketball Tournament of Champions.. 3:30-4:30 P.M., THURSDAY, MAY 6 PANEL - SMALL PAPERS HAVE A BIG IMPACT IN THEIR COMMUNITIES The COVID-19 pandemic has provided further evidence of how newspapers are crucial to keeping communities informed and connected. Few nondaily newspapers do it better in Illinois than the Oakland Independent and The Hinsdalean. Janice Hunt, owner and publisher of the Oakland Independent, and Pamela Lannom, Pamela Lannom editor of The Hinsdalean, talk about awardJanice Hunt winning service projects their newspapers were able to execute, despite limited resources, to support their communities during challenging times. JANICE HUNT's journalism career began when, as a young child, she published a family newspaper using a plastic toy typewriter and a piece of carbon paper. The Eastern Illinois University graduate started her professional career at the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier in Mattoon/Charleston, working first as a reporter and then in multiple roles in the features department. In 2013, she realized her lifelong dream of owning her hometown newspaper, the Oakland Independent, where she handles all duties –editorial,advertising, circulation and business. In 2020, the newspaper was runner-up in the Illinois Press Association contest sweepstakes in the small nondaily division. PAM LANNOM is editor of The Hinsdalean, a weekly community newspaper she and Jim Slonoff launched in 2006. She previously worked for 18 years at The Doings as a proofreader, reporter, managing editor and editor. She has won regional, state and national awards for her writing.




2021 CONVENTION PROGRAMS 9-10 A.M., FRIDAY, MAY 7 ILLINOIS PRESS ASSOCIATION ADVERTISING AWARDS Presentation of the advertising contest winners including general excellence and sweepstake winners. Find out who will receive the Advertising Sales Representative and Sales Manager of the Year awards as well! 10:15-10:40 A.M., FRIDAY, MAY 7 USING AUTOMATION TO INCREASE AUDIENCE REVENUE & ENGAGEMENT Presenter: Matthew Larson, president & CEO of Our-Hometown With resources stretched thinner than ever, it’s never been more important for newsrooms to focus on automation, wherever possible. In this session, Matt will describe some of the turnkey ways publishers are automating marketing and content creation on Our Hometown’s WordPress Platform. He will discuss auto-renewing subscriptions, newsletter marketing, auto-publishing to social media, computer generated audio content, and how to automatically turn your newspaper into a podcast. 2-3:30 P.M., FRIDAY, MAY 7 ILLINOIS PRESS ASSOCIATION BEST OF PRESS EDITORIAL AWARDS Presentation of the editorial contest winners including general excellence and sweepstake winners. Find out who will receive the Reporter of the Year and Editor of the Year awards as well!


Robert Feder

Year ago, when Robert Feder was breaking into the business, journalists were admired, jobs and opportunities were plentiful, and coverage was expanding. Today, none of that’s the case. What’s happened to the media landscape? And what does the future hold? The renowned columnist explores these questions and others you have about today’s media as a prologue to the annual IAPME awards presentation. Also, find out who is being inducted this year into the Lincoln League of Journalists.

ROBERT FEDER has been keeping tabs on Chicago area media for more than 40 years, most recently with his column in the suburban Daily Herald and his daily blog at He previously was a media critic and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago Public Media’s VocaloBlog network and Time Out Chicago. A lifelong Chicagoan who founded the first and only Walter Cronkite Fan Club at age 14, Feder is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He also has served as an instructor and guest lecturer at Medill. In 2009, he was inducted in the Medill Hall of Achievement.He is the recipient of a Page One Award from the Chicago Newspaper Guild and was named best daily newspaper columnist in Chicago by NewCity in 1997.





‘We took it for granted’ Sports editors reflect on coverage before, during pandemic Editor’s Note: This story was originally published March 17 on the Illinois Press Association website. By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Sports editors, reporters, coaches, players and fans all face a deep question: How much value is there in games played during this COVID-19 pandemic-ravaged school year? You can practically hear Matt Daniels, sports editor at the NewsGazette in Champaign, lean back in his chair and scratch his head as he considers what’s at stake for athletes, with no postseason in Illinois for prep basketball and football. “Now they don’t Matt Daniels have that carrot at the end — there’s no quest to reach DeKalb or Champaign,” he said, referring to the football championships. “I don’t think that Herald & Review sports reporter Matthew Flaten interviews Maroa-Forsyth football player Bryson Boes during practice March 10 at the high school. (Photos by diminishes it, but ... it feels different. Clay Jackson, Herald & Review) For basketball, in a state like Illinois, with such a college basketball scene, to have thought. explode. Then I do Conn said that’s not a bad thing. have no champions two years in a row, a couple of hours How has that changed now that “I’d write 12 inches from the game, it’s hard to wrap your head around.” of research and put only so many fans can, and are and then start reporting,” he said. On a positive note, the IHSA, which together a list of the willing to, attend games in-person? “You can always find a feature on a has worked closely with the Illinois top programs of the Not a whole lot, from what Wes kid. So this has kind of pushed us Department of Public Health since past 20 years, and that into what we have to do. In some Huett, sports editor at the Journal the pandemic began, announced on brings in 10,000 views ways, I think it’s better coverage that Star in Peoria, is seeing. In lateMarch 8 that outdoor sports will and brings in 10 local February, he stepped out to cover a way. I always thought of gamers as Wes Huett have a standard postseason this subscribers. There’s no a necessary evil. Yeah, people miss battle of unbeaten boys’ basketball year, complete with the traditional readership in gamers, teams in the Mid-Illini Conference, gamers, but as long as we’re telling championship events. and I think sometimes we lie to between Washington and Metamora. kids’ stories, that’s what we’re doing ourselves.” It was a Saturday, so the paper’s here.” The Pantagraph in Bloomington 7 p.m. deadline didn’t play a factor. From a sentimental perspective, and Herald & Review in Decatur Huett hoped for good numbers. The Journalists have learned in recent Daniels said an observant gamer is wrestle with similar deadlines, years, as analytics have become more story got fewer than 1,000 page more valuable than ever. forcing staff back into the get-in, getviews. available, that “gamers” aren’t the See GRANTED on Page 16 out mentality. Sports Editor Justin sought-after coverage they might “It did OK,” he said. “It didn’t

Gamers canceled




GRANTED Continued from Page 15 “The game stories are crucial, maybe even more so now,” he said. “I think before we took for granted how vital game stories are, and how much people crave the comfort level in those stories. The biggest and best moments of a high school athlete’s life can play out in a moment in a game.” From a practical perspective, often the best story ideas come from watching a team or player in person. While it can be challenging to take parents with a grain of salt, often they give the best tips. “We’re in a tough spot, because you have to be at those games to get those stories,” Huett said. “It’s an iceberg type thing. We’re losing some of that hidden time.”

Precious resources Even if the metrics supported covering games, the manpower doesn’t, with the declines of staff sizes over the past decade only being exacerbated by the pandemic. As an example, when Huett joined the Journal Star in 2001, counting part-timers, there were twice as many sports department employees as the paper has in its entire editorial department today. “We took it for granted,” Huett said. The number of W-2 employees has also shrunk at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights. John Radtke, high school sports editor, said a few of his regular contributing freelancers opted not to cover indoor sports because of safety concerns, “which I completely understand and respect,” he said. Adding insult to injury, sports editors find themselves spending hours emailing and calling athletic directors to gain approval to have a staff member at a game, be it a reporter, a photographer or both. Radtke estimates he spends between 8 and 10 hours a week on that task alone. “That’s really been a major part of the job in these past 6 weeks,” he said.

Radtke is 63, and he’s covered high school sports since 1975, so he’s no stranger to cancellations and postponements of outdoor sports in the inclement early spring. Indoor sports in winter, though? “It feels almost like a traditional spring season, because you’ve got people adding games, and cancelling games at the last minute,” he said. “It’s certainly been strange.” As Todd Hefferman, a sports reporter at The Southern Illinoisan, points out, you’d better check one last time before you hit the road. “Then you’ve got to make sure the schedule doesn’t change the day of the game,” he said. “We’ve been lucky so far.” Protocols vary not just on a countyby-county and municipality-bymunicipality basis, but also from conference to conference and even school to school. At the college level, early in the basketball season, the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin didn’t allow media at its games. Conn said he wrote the league. Having recently re-read Benson’s letter, he sees he missed an opportunity. “Now that I’m reading it, I should have brought this kind of heat in my CCIW letter!” Conn wrote in an email.

‘It’s become a very stressful period’ Before games resumed, sports departments keyed on the pandemic’s impact on players, coaches and families off the court. Many sports staffers helped out on news reporting. Radtke quickly began hearing from athletic directors, parents, and even doctors suggesting the Daily Herald delve into student-athletes’ mental health. “When the kids got quarantined and couldn’t do anything, it got to a point where we really had to look into what was happening with these kids

outside the physical part,” Radtke said. “They’re teenagers and had their world basically stripped away from them.” In related news, journalists bleed when pricked. Radtke said for myriad reasons, the pandemic and coverage cycle have taken a massive toll. “To be very honest, it’s become a very stressful period,” Radtke said. Every editor interviewed for this story made a point of saying they won’t put a staffer in a position where they feel unsafe. Huett said he hopes the pandemic has brought to light the importance of work-life balance, and that it’s shown leaders they need to reconsider what they’re capable of. “We covered preps so well for so long, and we’re being compared to ourselves,” he said. “That’s sometimes tough to live up to. And I refuse to live up to it. It feels like no matter what our resources are, we’re doing far more than we should be doing. How

about we just realize what we have, and everybody live a nice balanced life, not in front of your computer?” Conn emphasized that photo galleries are an efficient way to drive traffic. He admits he’s spoiled that his newsrooms’ lone photographer, Clay Jackson, is always willing to hit multiple events — even if he arrives at some and the door is locked, and the athletic director needs to be contacted to let him in. “He is a huge part of our coverage,” Conn said. “We get him out as much as we can. Photo galleries are a huge traffic driver for us.” Huett said it’s more crucial than ever to follow the metrics and do the deep dives, lists, photo galleries, and other types of stories that move the needle. “We’re going to miss the forest for the trees, if you’re grinding and grinding and grinding, and those big stories fall by the wayside,” he said.





Sports editors weigh whether to cover college hoops in person Editor’s Note: This story was initially published March 17 on the Illinois Press Association website. By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association CARBONDALE – What Todd Hefferman wouldn’t have given for a conversation with Anthony D’Avanzo after the senior played his final game for Southern Illinois University’s men’s basketball team. D’Avanzo had just scored a season-high 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the March 5 loss to Loyola University Chicago, in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, better known as Arch Madness. But to summarize the insanity of covering sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, media members weren’t allowed to choose who they talked to after the game, and D’Avanzo wasn’t present during the postgame Zoom news conference. Opportunity lost. “That might have been his last college game, and they didn’t have him on,” said Hefferman, who’s worked as a reporter at The Southern Illinoisan for nearly 18 years. “I didn’t have any other recourse to do that.” Don’t misconstrue how that played out. Hefferman said the media has an excellent relationship with the Missouri Valley Conference, and he works well with the SIU athletic department. It just is what it is. “Like anything in life right now, you have to make do with what you’ve got,” he said.

Should they stay, or should they go now? Sports editors around the state have been wrestling with this burning question: Should we send a reporter to cover college basketball tourneys? Jim Benson, a longtime sports reporter at The Pantagraph in Bloomington, covered Illinois State University at the MVC tourney. His sports editor would have had a hard time stopping him, even though Benson has been extremely cautious with the virus. “He felt safe going [to the MVC Tournament],”

Scott Richey, the Champaign News-Gazette's University of Illinois beat writer, is shown in the foreground covering the Oct. 23 game against the University of Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kent Brown, University of Illinois) Sports Editor Justin Conn said. “But he’s also a guy who, if Illinois State is playing somewhere, he’s going to be there.” Throughout the league’s season, Benson has been dead-set on getting closer to the action. After learning that the local reporter was getting a seat on the floor for the ISU game in Evansville, Indiana, while Benson would be relegated to the hockey press box, he wrote a letter to the MVC sports information director and commissioner. “I understand that things are very different this year because of COVID-19 protocols,” the letter reads. “But I find it very, very difficult to believe that the visiting beat writers who work their

butts off to cover this league are treated this way. Frankly, it’s wrong. … BTW, I will not be driving 4 hours to Evansville to cover 2 games and spend between $300-$400 of my company’s money when I can sit at home and actually get a good view of the games so I can give my readers an accurate portrayal.” Mike Smith, sports editor at The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, didn’t send anyone to cover the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, and he’s not putting anyone on a plane to chase the University of Illinois or any other storylines at the NCAA Tournament.

See COLLEGE on Page 18




COLLEGE Continued from Page 17 “We have not nor will not force anyone to travel and/or cover an event in which the reporter and photographer don't feel comfortable or if they feel safety is an issue,” Smith wrote in an email. “Secondly, as far as I know, virtually all interviews will be conducted via Zoom (as they are, for the most part, in almost every other professional and college sport).” He’s correct. And Hefferman can speak to Smith’s decision. Usually, even after SIU bows out of the MVC Tournament, he sticks around to soak up the rest of the annual experience. This year, he left after the Loyola game to spend time with his family. “Even if you’re there, you still feel like you’re covering the tournament from afar,” Hefferman said. “It sucked. It sucked because all the things you love about the tournament you didn’t get to do. You didn’t have the big crowds. You didn’t see the coaches in the hallway after the game, or go in the locker room to interview players.” “As nice as the Zoom interviews are, you just don’t quite get that personal touch,” he said, adding that reporters thrive on and being able to read a player or coach’s expressions and body language. “Now you’re always in a scrum with the rest of the media.” And as epic as it might be to sit where the St. Louis Blues writers sit, in the press box on the arena’s fourth level, “you’re, I don’t know, about an eighth of a mile from the court,” Hefferman said. “It’s something I’ll never forget, but it’s also something I don’t really care to remember.”

‘Relative bright sides’ The Journal Star in Peoria didn’t send Dave Eminian to cover Bradley University’s one-and-done appearance at Arch Madness. Sports Editor Wes Huett said the decision erred on the side of caution for Eminian’s health, but there was also a practical decision to be made.

“We didn’t feel like we’d get our bang for our buck,” Huett said. “The money for travel isn’t the big issue. It’s the hours you’re paying someone to travel. I’ve only got you for five days. I don’t want you to spend a day and a half traveling.” He added that “there’s not much you’re going to get there that you can’t get from a Zoom call here.” “I hate it when people talk about bright sides from a pandemic, but relative bright sides are these video news conferences,” Huett said. “I can pop into a Bradley news conference at any time, and I could never do that if I didn’t go down to the arena.” The Journal Star has had its issues with the university and its ethics. Eminian, along with reporter/Editor Nick Vlahos, wrote a scathing rebuke of the university when it barred now-retired Bradley beat writer Dave Reynolds from a media event leading up to the 2019 NCAA Tournament because, in the athletic department’s estimation, Reynolds “didn’t promote the Bradley brand.” Huett had been sports editor for only a few months at that point, and said since the incident, and during the pandemic in particular, the university has shown a commitment to transparency and communication. “They’ve been absolutely great this year, and that issue played into it, as well,” he said. “They get what we’re doing now, but it’s shocking how much these sports information departments handle it the wrong way,” He said the athletic department has made interviews happen without issue, even setting up interviews with athletes right after they’ve been cleared to play after being held out because of COVID-19 protocols. “That is so paramount – getting whoever you’re covering to understand your situation and work together,” Huett said. They’re doing their job, Huett clarified. “We’re not friends, and if we have to ask tough questions we will, and you saw that with this recent

suspended (Bradley men’s basketball) players situation,” Huett said. “I don’t like having adversarial relationships with sources.” “Any vitriol we get is mostly from our readers,” he added, laughing.

A spring unlike any other A clash of the titans is coming up in Champaign, where the University of Illinois has its best men’s basketball team since Dee Brown led the Fighting Illini all the way to the title game against the University of North Carolina in 2005. This year, the Fighting Illini, and the sports reporters who will cover what promises to be a deep run, face a different sort of competition. As firstround play of the NCAA Tournament nears its close, prep football will be getting underway, as well. “It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that high school football games will be kicking off while Illinois is playing in the first round of the tournament,” said Matt Daniels, sports editor at the News-Gazette. “That thought only crosses my mind, of course. It’s a very strange time.” Daniels said barring the unforeseen, U of I beat writer Scott Richey will travel to cover the Fighting Illini in the NCAA Tournament. “Although we were informed [March 11] that each school is only allowed to have five reporters receive credentials and no photographers will be credentialed,” Daniels wrote in an email. “So that puts a little bit of a wrench in our plans.” Richey spent the weekend in Indianapolis as the Illini fought for a Big Ten title last weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium. Illinois journalists have caught at least one break during the pandemic: The NCAA Tournament will be played exclusively in Indy, which is just a 2-hour drive from Champaign. So the plan is for Richey to drive back and forth between games, Daniels said. “Illinois men's basketball is our No. 1 beat in our sports section and

I'd argue perhaps for our entire paper,” Daniels wrote in the email. “The interest level is like no other, especially when you consider the website numbers we see on Illinois men's basketball stories and how it plays out on our various social media platforms. By having Scott in attendance at the Illinois games, it only enhances our coverage.” In Carbondale, in the wake of the December departure of longtime Sports Editor Les Winkeler, Hefferman and fellow reporter Bucky Dent are the only full-timers. And they’ve got some beasts to cover. As Hefferman chased SIU men’s hoops, Dent filled in to cover the football team’s shocking upset of North Dakota State, then the topranked FCS program in the nation. “He loves to cover SIU, and I wasn’t going to skip it for the Valley tournament,” Hefferman said. But he’s not about to surrender the reins permanently. Especially since Dent will be covering SIU’s ranked softball team and its baseball team that’s off to “its best start in a long time,” Hefferman said. And, oh yeah, Dent has the prep football beat, too. The only situation in which a reporter or editor interviewed for this story has been uncomfortable covering a team was at John A. Logan College a few miles away from Carbondale. A few weeks ago, Hefferman covered the top-ranked junior college men’s basketball program there, but he won’t go back. He said fans were limited to one side of the arena, and players sat shoulderto-shoulder, “which is totally against NCAA regulations,” Hefferman said. While he said The Southern has continued to cover the program, he won’t be going back. “I wasn’t comfortable being that close to people,” he said. “I don’t like to eat in restaurants. I don’t like to take any risks. I don’t want to get [COVID-19]. I don ‘t want my kids to get it.”





Sports pages return to Wednesday Journal Editor’s Note: This story was initially published March 17 on the Illinois Press Association website. By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association OAK PARK – Dan Haley, president and CEO of Growing Community Media, just got a reminder that while

sports coverage doesn’t generate readers like news coverage, preps boosters’ dedication is tough to match. An anonymous donor has ponied up $7,500 to bring local sports coverage back to the Wednesday Journal and the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark. “My research, and what others have done, is that prep sports doesn’t

generate a lot of readers, but they’re very dedicated readers,” said Haley, who founded the Wednesday Journal 40 years ago. He made it clear to the donor that when the money needed to pay freelancers and print the additional pages dries up in a few months, most likely a similar donation will be needed to keep things going.

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“We’re not likely going to get advertisers who are going to defray those costs,” Haley said. “This really is a direct out-of-pocket cost for us. If he thinks we’re doing OK when July gets here, there will probably be some more money from him to put us out for a few more months.” Growing Community Media suspended its preps coverage in August, because of a massive decline in revenue stemming from the pandemic. Then-Sports Editor James Kay’s role changed to digital strategist, and he worked with the vendor Newspack to build new websites for all the company’s publications, which also include the Austin Weekly News and the Forest Park Review. Coverage will make its return with a couple of sports pages in the March 17 edition of the Wednesday Journal, and then space in the Landmark the following week. The focus will be on features and in-depth stories, rather than game coverage. “This won’t be Friday night, Sally hits the winning shot at the buzzer type of stories,” Haley said. “Like most community papers, our sports coverage had been evolving. We’re not really going to be doing game stories. We’ll be doing sports features, stories on new head coaches and standout players, and how athletes are coping with the pandemic.” The company will send its photographer to shoot some games, but the incoming freelancers will be keying on the bigger picture. Don’t let the timing fool you. Haley said despite high school football resuming two days after sports coverage resumes, hoops and football will not be royalty. “We will very consciously map this out and not cover just basketball and football,” he said. “It’s essential that we cover girls’ sports. There will be weeks where we might not have a football story.”



Explaining McClatchy’s explainer cards Belleville paper uses feature to tell readers 'why we're doing the story' By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association If journalists are confounded when sources won’t return calls, or won’t disclose information, there’s a pretty doggone good chance their readers will be equally baffled. That’s why when state Sen. Chris Belt refused to return messages being left by Belleville News-Democrat reporters, asking him about his job duties as superintendent of a local water district, the newspaper published what’s called an explainer card. The card, which is a separate piece packaged with the bylined story, spelled out that Commonfields of Cahokia didn’t provide Belt’s job description in a response to an open records request. It detailed the number of times staff emailed, called and left messages on Belt’s personal cellphone and at his office. It also provided a list of questions reporters are trying to get answered. At issue is the massive flooding that’s plagued Centreville, a poverty-riddled community about 15 miles from St. Louis, for generations. “The value of the card, and we talked this through, is, ‘Hey, why don’t we tell people why we’re doing the story?’ ” said Jeffry Couch, the BND’s editor and general manager. “Let’s tell people all the attempts we made so people see the efforts that we made. You want to build as much transparency and trust with readers as you can. Part of doing that is finding ways to tell them what’s going into our work – what we’re doing, and what’s behind it.” Oftentimes, journalists erroneously make the assumption readers aren’t interested in what goes on behind the scenes, Couch said. “Readers want to know what’s under the hood when it comes to making the journalism,” he said. “I

Centreville residents struggle as flash flooding and failed sewage systems have become the new normal. The poor infrastructure is driving out longtime residents and frustrating those who remain. The Belleville News-Democrat first dedicated significant resources to the flooding issue when a source from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville tipped it off that a group in Centreville was trying to get justice for residents living under constant duress. (Credit: Derik Holtmann of the Belleville News-Democrat) had to really tell myself that, that people are more interested in our work than we think they are.” The BND’s politics reporter, Kelsey Landis, said even if you don’t Jeffry Couch hear from them, readers will always seek transparency and clear reporting that boils down convoluted topics. “They just want to understand,” she said. “It’s so opaque, with the water sewer district and municipalities. People just want transparency there, and that’s all we’re trying to do. We’re not looking to ruin anyone’s day.”

Another reason the newspaper’s owner, McClatchy, has started using those explainer cards in its publications is to not bog down every follow-up with details that remain a common Kelsey Landis thread in reporting on an issue. Couch said he and staff discuss when to use the cards. They use them "whenever we feel like they are appropriate and when the readers would want to know more information about what went into a story," Couch said. "Or why we did a story." The cards include information that

could otherwise get lost within the body of a story, or break up its flow. They are used most often online, and only rarely in the print editions. Finally, the explainer cards end with a solicitation for feedback and tips. That component has been crucial for DeAsia Paige, whose name and email address is at the tail end of that explainer card, along with that of politics reporter Kelsey Landis and Kavahn Mansouri, who keys on government accountability. The three of them recently acknowledged the one-year anniversary of investigating the flooding issues and the

See EXPLAINER on Page 21




EXPLAINER Continued from Page 20 government’s failure to respond to the plight of Centreville residents. The BND hired Paige last June through Report for America, which places reporters on underserved beats around the country. Shortly after her arrival, as she started covering minority communities near St. Louis exhaustively, the newspaper DeAsia Page began adding an explainer card to all of her stories, asking for tips from communities that have deep mistrust in the media, given its tendency to swoop in and cover just crime and prep sports. Paige is currently up to her elbows in reporting on the pending merger of three municipalities into Cahokia Heights. Pictured is an example of an "explainer card" that acconpanied a recent story about flooding in Centreville that was posted to the Belleville News-Democrat's Running unopposed website. for mayor is Curtis Kavahn Mansouri McCall Sr., who also happens to be Belt’s now, this story wouldn’t be covered. I was trying to get justice for residents yourself in the community. brother-in-law, the Centreville wouldn’t be talking to you right now.” living under constant duress. “I live in St. Louis, so It’s an exit I pass Township supervisor, and To give perspective on how badly In late 2019 and early 2020, every day,” Mansouri said. “There’s this Commonfields’ board chairman. readers need the media to keep them Mansouri began attending resident huge story just sitting there, and these “They’ve gotten used to getting informed, the BND first dedicated meetings and did door-to-door residents who have suffered.” away with this sort of thing, and significant resources to the flooding interviews to start building sources Here’s hoping those explainer they’re not used to having a journalist issue only when a source from Southern and gathering vital information cards, and their requests for tips, help covering these sort of issues,” Paige drum up more issues that haven’t yet Illinois University in Edwardsville you can’t get if you simply pass the been covered. said. “If I wasn’t in my position I’m in tipped it off that a group in Centreville Centreville exit and not immerse

The Southern Illinoisan moves into new building CARBONDALE – On April 5, The Southern Illinoisan relocated to its new office at 1001 E. Main St., Professional Park #2, in Carbondale. The newspaper’s office hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, began there April 6 The paper had been at 710 N. Illinois Ave.

since 1967, when then-owner Lindsay Schaub Newspapers Inc. bought the former Illinois Fruit Growers Exchange building and remodeled it. The building received a $7 million expansion and upgrade in 2007 that not only increased its footprint, but added the infrastructure that met the increasing demands of technology. In 1997,

Pete Selkowe, former editor and publisher of the newspaper, shared some memories of the paper for a 50th anniversary section. He said The Southern lliinoisan was the first Lee newspaper to use the Harris Pagination System and converted to offset and full-color printing in 1982.




Lawrenceville Daily Record website redesigned LAWRENCEVILLE – The Daily Record is giving its website a facelift. The redesigned website launched Wednesday, March 17, under the domain https://roblawnews. com/lawrenceville. The current lawdailyrecord. com domain will take users to the redesigned version. Online subscribers will be receiving an email with login instructions and temporary passwords. Sister publication,, will receive the same update with the domain https://roblawnews. com/robinson. The Daily Record management company, Restoration NewsMedia is rolling out the new sites for both publications. Alex Zepezauer, web developer for Restoration NewsMedia, designed the sites and built a custom content management system. The websites are optimized for smartphones and tablets as well as personal computers. Users can toggle between "light mode," a standard design with muted colors, and "dark mode," with white text on a dark ¬blue background. The digital upgrades follow an aggressive shift to online-first reporting during the past year for the Daily Record as the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on local advertising forced newspapers throughout the United States to reduce publication days. Subscribers can create new accounts with their email addresses and temporary passwords. After the initial login, users can change their password. Online subscriptions are available for $6.99 per month.

Canton Daily Ledger begins subscriber-only content CANTON – The Canton Daily Ledger has begun labeling stories posted on Facebook as “subscriberonly.” In a March 6 column, Editor Deb Robinson likened subscribing to a

local newspaper to subscribing to a streaming service. She also said the Daily Ledger’s IT team has heightened measures to keep readers from circumventing the paywall at

Alton Telegraph suspends office access ALTON – In an effort to keep its employees safe during the ongoing pandemic, the Alton Telegraph has suspended access to one of its offices. Management has closed its office at 219 Piasa St. in Alton, the paper’s employees are working remotely, non¬essential travel has been discontinued, and assignments that involve large crowds have been reduced. The Telegraph is following guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a brief in the March 19 edition, the paper will notify readers when access is again available at the Alton office.

El Paso Journal turns 30 EL PASO – The El Paso Journal hasn't missed an issue since its inception March 21, 1991, through changes of ownership, bad weather, a pandemic, and various technologyrelated disasters. That is more than 1,560 issues chronicling the good news and bad, births and deaths, victories and defeats in El Paso, Gridley, Kappa, Panola, and Secor. For 30 years, the Journal has printed stories uniquely pertaining to the area: 720 city council meetings; 360 school board meetings; 29 Corn Festivals; and about 4,800 deaths. The first edition featured a hometown welcome for servicemen David Rhodes and Clint Ramsey as they returned from Saudi Arabia after serving in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, while T.G. Sheppard was the

entertainment for the El Paso Corn Festival Committee's spring concert. A few of the highlights from the past 30 years were in 2001 when on the El Paso Journal's 10th anniversary, the Journal highlighted the construction of "the Link" between El Paso High School and Centennial and the addition to Jefferson Park School.

Trib's classical music coverage to be funded by Rubin Institute CHICAGO – The Chicago Tribune has entered into a partnership with the San Francisco-based Rubin Institute for Music Criticism that will help support the Tribune's continued commitment to coverage of classical music. Hannah Edgar, who has

written about classical, jazz and experimental music for the Chicago Reader, the Miami Herald, the Classical Review and Chicago magazine, among other publications, will be the Tribune's freelance writer for reviews and feature stories. Edgar, who graduated from the University of Chicago (and played violin in the student orchestra), was a Rubin Fellow in 2018. Edgar wrote a bachelor's thesis on the Tribune's arts critic, Claudia Cassidy. The Tribune will continue to maintain complete editorial control over story assignments and content. The Rubin Institute began in 2012 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio. Since 2014, the institute has operated within the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.





Better Newspapers acquires central Illinois newspapers TAYLORVILLE – Greg Hoskins, publisher of Better Newspapers, Inc., has acquired two Illinois newspapers: The Breeze Courier and The Shopping Spree, both located in Taylorville. Based in Mascoutah, Better Newspapers, Inc. is a familyowned company now operating 26 publications in Illinois and Missouri. The Breeze Courier is the first daily newspaper in the Better Newspapers, Inc. group. Hoskins bought his first group of newspapers in Mascoutah when he formed Better Newspapers, Inc. on May 1, 1991, and the newspapers

included the Mascoutah Herald, Clinton County News, Fairview Heights Tribune, and Scott Flier (which serves Scott Air Force Base). Since that time, Hoskins has purchased Altamont News, Arthur Graphic Clarion, Record Herald News in Arthur, Bond and Fayette County Shopper, The Shoppers Review in Highland, The Nashville News, The Troy Times-Tribune, The Journal and the Tri-County Journal both in Tuscola, The Leader Union in Vandalia, Southern Champaign County Today in Villa Grove, and the Illinois Business Journal (a monthly business publication). The Missouri publications include the Wayne County Journal-Banner and Reynolds County Courier both in Piedmont, Ste. Genevieve Herald,

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Ozark Horse Trader in West Plains, the Mountain Echo and Mountain Echo Extra in Ironton, and the Douglas County Herald in Ava.

Ogle County Life changes format of print edition OREGON – Ogle County Life has gone from a 30-inch tabloid size newspaper to a 22-inch broadsheet. The change was made to save money on newsprint and plates used to make the paper, according to a brief in the March 30 edition, which said the move will also improve workflow and save on hours, because staff no longer must change paper rolls for the smaller tabloid size or fold inserts.

Herald & Review's COVID-19 coverage recognized DECATUR – The Herald & Review's COVID-19 coverage was recognized April 14 by the Local Media Association, a group of more than 3,000 print, broadcast and digital news organizations. The newspaper won second place for Best COVID-19 Community Coverage for small- to mid-sized news operations in the Local Media Digital Innovation Awards. The Herald & Review was one of Editor & Publisher's "10 That Do It Right" for 2019 and has won numerous recognitions at the state and national levels.


Jackson promoted by USA Today Network SPRINGFIELD – Eugene Jackson, who most recently served as Illinois regional market leader and senior director of sales, has been promoted to vice president of sales for Columbus and Central/NE Ohio for the USA Today Network's LocallQ. Jackson has 16 years of media experience in various roles, including executive leadership. He came to Springfield as general manager for the State Journal-Register in February 2019 before becoming the market leader and senior director of sales for the Springfield area market. Jackson took over as Illinois regional market leader 7 months ago. Jackson will lead a staff of about 50 people. In addition to Columbus, Jackson will head the Akron and Canton markets. Before coming to Springfield, Jackson was senior vice president

of advertising and marketing at the Washington Times in Washington, D.C., where he had been since 2018. Before that, he was regional publisher of Eugene Jackson the Rapid City (South Dakota) Journal and Casper (Wyoming) Tribune from 2017 to 2018; publisher at the Daily Journal in Park Hills, Missouri, from 2016 to 2017 and director of advertising at the Connecticut Post, from 2015 to 2016. He had previously worked in various advertising positions at the Roanoke (Virginia) Times, where he began his career. He and his wife, Holly, have three children: Chloe, Gavin and Parker, 7. Jackson is a native of Virginia and a graduate of Virginia Tech University.



Veteran journalist named news director at Register Star ROCKFORD — Veteran journalist Corina Curry was named the top editor of the Rockford Register Star on March 23. Curry has worked for the newspaper for 22 years as a reporter. She has covered everything from crime and courts to city government and education. In recent years, she has focused on watchdog journalism and investigative reporting that exposes disparities and inequities throughout the community. "The Register Star has a long history of providing the Rockford area with high-quality, award-winning journalism, telling stories that not only inform and challenge our readers but connect them to

each other and their community in a way that only the hard-working and dedicated journalists of the Register Star can," Curry said. "After more than two decades in this newsroom, I am now a part of that history and a product of it. "During my time in Rockford, I have Corina Curry learned from some of the very best in the business. I consider myself fortunate that in my new role, I will be able to continue to learn from the best — the people I get the privilege of working alongside each and every day. "I'm excited for what the future holds and the


Downers Grove North student is Illinois Journalist of the Year DOWNERS GROVE – Sam Bull, a senior at Downers Grove North High School, has been named the 2021 Illinois Journalist of the Year by the Illinois Journalism Education Association. Bull becomes the organization's 32nd Journalist of the Year since 1989 and third from Downers Grove North High School. Bull serves as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Omega. He also serves as the North student representative on the Community High School District 99 school board. Downers Grove North graduates Natalie White and Abbey Murphy received Illinois Journalist of the Year titles in 2018 and 2017, respectively. The Illinois Journalist of the Year winner receives a scholarship and becomes the Illinois representative in the Journalism Education Association's national Journalist of the Year contest.

DeLoche departs as co-editor of Cass County Star-Gazette BEARDSTOWN – Brian DeLoche, co-editor of the Cass County Star-

Gazette, announced his departure from the newspaper in a column published March 25. DeLoche said in the column he’s spent 40 years in and out of journalism, and that he’s held roles ranging from editor to military photojournalist. His last day was the day the column ran.

Reiland named assistant editor of Daily Law Bulletin CHICAGO – Jordyn Reiland has been named assistant editor of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Reiland has been a key member of the CDLB newsroom for the past 3 years. She joined Law Bulletin Media from the Northwest Herald, where she was the courthouse Jordyn Reiland reporter. As The CDLB’s Daley Center reporter, she covered civil cases filed in Cook County Circuit Court, covered settlements and verdicts, and wrote stories about state and federal appellate court issues. Reiland was promoted to copy and features editor last year, as staff prepared to work remotely during the pandemic.

many ways the Register Star will make a difference in our community in the years to come." Curry replaces Mark Baldwin, who retired in December. She is the daughter of an Indiana native and a Taiwanese immigrant, and is the first person of color to serve as newsroom leader at the Register Star. “Corina has lived and covered the Rockford community for years," said Katrice Hardy, the Midwest regional editor for Gannett. "She understands the issues and people that deserve attention and the spotlight. That institutional knowledge will serve her well as she now leads the newsroom in producing urgent, revelatory and impactful journalism online and in print.”




Q&A: Hearing-impaired reporter reflects on career as watchdog, never plans to retire south when he was just 17 years old. He was so talented, and very demanding of his students. He was a major influence. I did have a year of liberal arts curriculum at a local junior college, but got married and had my children and never finished my degree. How many people do you know who have supported themselves as journalists for 50 years, without a degree from a college or university? Granted, I have not ended up among the elite, and I have always had to work a second job to make ends meet, but I consider myself “rich” in that I have been able to do what I love, and what I feel like I was born to do.

By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Karen Haave does know exactly when she lost her hearing. But she remembers when she fell in love with journalism, and when she finally felt genuinely appreciated. That came when Chris Russell hired her as a reporter at The Vedette in Peotone. Haave grew up in Homewood and lived about 40 years in Frankfort before moving to Monee 10 years ago. She endured sexism nearly half her career, and ableism throughout it. The Illinois Press Association recently emailed her a handful of questions, and she graciously answered each and every one of them. IPA: Fifty years is a long time in this industry. Where have you worked throughout your career? Karen: My first professional writing job was with a now-defunct rock music magazine called Rock Spectacular a little over 50 years ago. Today I am a freelance reporter and photographer for the Vedette, as well as for Nick Reiher at the Farmers Weekly Review. Before that (but after the rock music magazine), I worked for a small chain of local papers (Crescent Newspapers), where I answered phones, typed letters, balanced the petty cash, cleaned the office and made coffee (yep). In the mid-1990s, the Guild tried to organize a union, but the vote failed by a narrow margin. Around the same time, the chain was sold to one of those destroyer-ofnewspapers companies, combining the twice-weekly local with a daily metropolitan paper. The daily metro sent its reporters to the same meetings that the twice-weekly local covered. Everybody went back to their computers after the meetings

(Photo provided by Karen Haave) and filed their stories. I was regular part-time (30 hours weekly) working out of my home at that time, so I went back to my little room there, where my stories all happened. A few years later, in one bloodbath after another, most of us were let go, and the local chain was dropped. What remains of the daily metro (and several other Chicago and suburban papers) is a shell of the great publications that once existed. In 2002, Christopher Russell contacted me and offered me a job writing for him. After all the years of never being recognized for the work I was doing, it was a dream come true to work for him and his family. My assignments were features, board meetings, local issues, events and taking photos. What makes working for Chris so awesome is that he genuinely trusts me and my experience as a reporter. And he just sort of winds me up and lets me go, and whatever I come back with, he’s happy. I was on-staff initially, with Chris’s paper, but in 2008-’09, the economy took a turn and, as you know, papers all over were failing. Chris had to make some changes to keep his papers alive, so

I was designated freelance. There was a paycut, too, so I contacted Nick Reiher at FWR to ask if he needed any freelance help there. I have to say, his response (“Indeed, I do!”) was the most enthusiastic I have ever received. Something that makes this all the more remarkable to me, in retrospect, is that never once has any editor or publisher asked for samples of my work or a resume. Nick was a worthy competitor for some years when he worked for the Joliet Herald News, and we watched each other very closely, so as never to let the other get the jump on a story. (Hey, they didn’t call me “Scoop” back then for nothing!) So he was very familiar with my work. But still, if even one of these men had asked for a resume, they would have noticed that I have no formal education in journalism or photography. I did take journalism in high school, (the only sophomore on the all-junior and -senior staff), and my teacher (Ed Olson) was probably the person who taught me the most about newspapers and actually inspired me to want to be a reporter. He had been the editor of a newspaper somewhere down

IPA: Were you born with a hearing impairment, and if not, how did you develop it? Karen: No. There was never any definitive explanation. My family didn’t even seem to notice until I started kindergarten and had to have a hearing test. The doctor told my mother I had only about 25 percent hearing. My mother told me to “Just pay attention, you’ll hear everything you need to hear.” And to some extent, that turned out to be true. But I had to work at it, often staring intently at people, which drove my mother crazy. (She said it was rude to stare.) That was how I learned to lip-read. Sign language was out of the question, because it only works if everyone around you knows how to sign. I am the youngest of seven children, and nobody else was going to learn ASL, so lip-reading was the only option. For a long time, it was adequate. In 1985, what little natural hearing I had failed, very suddenly and without warning. I woke up one morning, realizing I had slept through my shrill and excessively loud Baby Ben alarm clock.

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HAAVE Continued from Page 25 Thinking I had an ear infection, I went to a specialist who tested me and had bad news. He said, “Your hearing is gone and it is not coming back. You need to get into a sign language program and learn to sign, because you will probably forget how to speak.” Hearing aids were not in the budget, and that doctor did not seem to think they would help. I already knew how to lip-read, so I just continued to rely on that. Eventually, I did get hearing aids, and they do give me some sound that allows me to feel like I am in touch with my surroundings. But it is not the same quality of sound that you have with natural hearing, so I still have to see a person’s face in order to understand what they are saying. But I am grateful that I can get by, because it would destroy me to have to have a sign interpreter with me in order to communicate. I have never really felt like I was part of the deaf community, because I have been able to communicate successfully. IPA: Why did you go into journalism? Karen: I have always loved and appreciated the written word. My mother wanted to be a reporter (back in 1930) and took correspondence courses. But she got married and had seven kids, so it was not practical for her to pursue journalism. I still have her workbook, along with my own, from junior college. IPA: Did you always want to be a journalist, or did you have another career in mind when you were growing up? Karen: Writing comes naturally to me. It’s a gift, and I know it. I think it was just what I was meant to do. But there was a time, when I was in eighth grade, that music and dancing was my favorite thing in all the world. I had a hard enough time convincing my family and friends that I could make it as a journalist, though, so imagine how hard it would have been to tell

them I wanted a career in music. IPA: Did you have any hesitations about going into journalism? Karen: No, I always knew I could do it. IPA: How has doing the job been different for you than for others? Karen: I’m pretty sure you have not had to deal with snarky male coworkers. Other than that, my career spans the time from carbon paper and typewriters, to fax machines, and now, to email. So much is done electronically and is so much easier. We used to have to do all interviews in person, which was incredibly timeconsuming, along with transcribing our notes (actually, scribbles) and remembering what our sources said. Now, with email, there is little chance of misquoting or misunderstanding something. IPA: How have you dealt with sources, in terms of letting them know about your impairment? Karen: When I first started reporting, I hid my hearing issue as much as possible. I was terrified that it could somehow lead to complaints of misquoting or making up information. However irrational that might seem, I just didn’t feel like I could admit that I was profoundly hearing impaired. Once it became common knowledge, a school superintendent in Frankfort refused to talk to me on the record because “You’re deaf. You might misquote me.” It freaked me out and made me very self-conscious for a long time. Now, though, everyone knows I am deaf and many people have to be reminded because they forget. If you talked with me in person, you would say what they all say, “You don’t sound deaf. You don’t speak the way a deaf person does.” Yes, they really

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HAAVE Continued from Page 25 do say that. So I am up-front, and tell them we need to use email, and everyone is OK with it. IPA: You've covered every sort of meeting and event any other reporter would cover. Is that a point of pride for you? Karen: Yes! Anything you guys can do, I can do, occasionally even better. Not too much scares me anymore. Although the Star Wars Festival in Joliet (an assignment from Nick) a couple years ago kind of made me nervous. I have never watched the Star Wars movies – unbelievable, right? – so I didn’t know much about that genre. Nick told me to study up and have some fun with it, so I did.

IPA: How do you feel you've improved as a journalist throughout your career? Karen: I’m not as hard-nosed as I was back in the Watergate era, when I made it my mission to bring powerful men down. Seriously, we all were craving to become the next Woodward-Bernstein tandem. And there was plenty to work with back then, with secret meetings, sneaky deals, extortion (seriously, a village mayor forcing a developer to pay him for building permits), political infighting. I had a reputation for being tough. One of my favorite recollections is the time I walked into a school board meeting, taking the place of the reporter who was on vacation, and the superintendent nudged his assistant superintendent and frowned, saying

“What’s she doing here?” The one thing I have made sure to do is allow everyone to say whatever they need to say to defend themselves, so I also had a reputation for being fair. I really did write stories that made a difference, though, stories that brought about change and got some corrupt politicians out of office. These days, I’m not as sassy, and I am a little more sympathetic when someone gets himself in trouble, although I still write what must be written. I think some of this has to do with the times, in general. And of course, there is my age (75) which has allowed me to experience good and bad in all aspects of my life. You know, just kind of mellowed out. IPA: What do you like to do outside of work? What are your passions? Karen: Wish I had something to say here that would make me sound interesting. Writing is still at the top of the list. I will never retire. I’ve always kind of wanted to write a novel. But I’m not good at fiction, although I have been accused of it. I still love music, classic rock, some opera and symphony.

Because I live in an apartment now, I no longer have extensive gardens as I once did. But I still have a container garden with many different sized pots, and I love growing all sorts of flowers and veggies. I love watching some of the series that you can get on the new streaming services (of which there are way too many!). IPA: What would you tell a youngster who feels limited in any way, but who feels passionate about going into journalism? Karen: Just do it. There are not many newspaper jobs left now, but if you’re passionate about writing, go for it. You might have to get a second job to pay the bills, but don’t let that stop you. Start writing in a journal. Keep writing. Write some more. Find an author whose work you admire and study their style. For me, it was the incredible Roger Ebert, whose choice of movies made me gag, but his essays about them were bliss to read. His vocabulary, his phrases, his sense of humor were inspiring. You will probably need to get a degree, so go to school and study well. And write the truth. Always, write the truth.


Joseph John Miceli Sr. CHICAGO – Joseph John Miceli Sr., 80, of Chicago, passed away March 25, 2021. Miceli retired after more than 40 years as a foreman and laborer for the City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. He also worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. He was a proud and active member of Laborer's Union 1001. He was the beloved husband of Rose Mary, nee Maietta, for 60 years; loving father of Gina (John) Hoffman, Joseph John Jr. (Tammy), Maria (Stephen) Castagneri and Lisa (Steven) Woodson; cherished grandfather of Michael (Alanna), Sean and Nicole Miceli and Delton Hoffman; proud great grandfather of Ryan, Isabella, Brecken, Gage and Dallas Miceli; devoted son of Eleanor, nee Downey, and John Carlo and grandson of Joseph and Mary, nee Sabitano; dearest brother of the late James (the late Geraldine) and half brother of Placito "Pat" and John Miceli, Helen Miceli Swanik and Mary and Dr. Frank Miceli; fond brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend of many. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 300 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60606 or



'It all happened so fast': Daily Herald executive dies rescuing children By BURT CONSTABLE Daily Herald Pete Rosengren, the vice president of sales and digital strategies for the Daily Herald Media Group, died March 28 during a family vacation in Florida after he hurried into the Gulf of Mexico to help his sons and other children being carried out to sea by a rip current. Rosengren, 42, had been appointed to his current position in December after five years as vice president and director of advertising and had been associated with the company for more than 20 years. Douglas K. Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of the Daily Herald Media Group, said Rosengren's sales leadership and technological insights played a key role in helping the company succeed during years of challenge in the newspaper industry. "It wasn't just a job or career. It was in his heart," his wife, Maura Rosengren, said. His boss agreed. "Pete was always there for others — employees, peers, family and friends. That was his DNA," said Scott Stone, president and chief operating officer. "Pete had an oversized personality, quick wit, humor and unique compassion for others. It's no surprise his final minute was spent helping others." Joined by three other families, Pete and Maura and their three sons had driven from their home in Batavia to Florida, for what was expected to be a week of fun in the sun and surf. Instead, Maura spent their 18th wedding anniversary March 29 trying to figure out how to get her husband's body home. He died while saving children struggling in dangerous waters

Daily Herald executive Pete Rosengren, who died March 28 in Florida, poses in this family photo with his wife, Maura, and their sons Charlie, 12, Grant. 7, and Gavin, 14. (Courtesy of Rosengren family) Sunday morning. "They were caught in a rip current and Pete went out to rescue them," said David Vaughan, beach safety director for South Walton Fire District at Miramar Beach, just east of Destin, an island resort community off the coast of the

Florida panhandle. The beach was open, but the water was off-limits with a double red flag warning, the most severe limitation Florida has for water. "We had only had been there a couple minutes. The kids ran into the water right away," said Maura, adding

their sons and others stepped into the waves before she had even set up a beach chair. The children were in trouble instantly. "It all happened so fast. I ran toward the water," Maura said, noting the boys were trying to help each other work their way back to shore and a friend's 9-year-old son was struggling. "We could see one little boy couldn't get in and ... (Pete) went out there," she said, her words interrupted by tears. Her husband was able to get the boy to adults who run the operations for chairs, umbrellas and towels on that private beach, Maura said. Vaughan said Rosengren was on the beach when lifeguards from the nearest tower about a half-mile away arrived and performed CPR before an ambulance took him to a hospital. Lifeguards also pulled two boys from the water, both of whom recovered. The heroism that led to Rosengren's death did not surprise his friends. "That was Pete. Such a hero. He gave you everything he could," said Joe Shaker, a longtime friend who, as president of Shaker Recruitment Marketing, did business with the Daily Herald through Rosengren. "There isn't one person who doesn't have a Pete Rosengren story," Shaker said. "He made you feel special. He lived as we all should live." While the COVID-19 pandemic wore on everyone, Maura said, "I feel this sense of gratitude that Pete worked from home last year." She said their sons Gavin, 14, Charlie, 12, and Grant, 7, loved having their dad involved with their baseball games and everything they did.

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Roger W. Bonham SULLIVAN – Roger W. Bonham, 69 of Atwood passed away at 10:01 p.m. on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at Mason Point in Sullivan. Roger was born Oct. 6, 1951, in Annapolis. He was a son of Berl and March (Tracy) Bonham. He married Kathy Copenbarger on April 8, 1972, in rural Mount Auburn. She passed away Sept. 6, 2015. He later married Susan (Benner) Collins on May 5, 2018, in Atwood. Roger met and married Kathy while attending Eastern Illinois University. They were members of the 1972 Eastern Illinois University Warbler (yearbook) staff. Roger taught English and French at Mahomet in the 1970s. Roger and Kathy owned and operated the Cerro Gordo News from 1981 to 1986, when they sold the newspaper to the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. Roger and Kathy stayed on and managed the business through 1991, when the News-Gazette sold the paper. He then began working as the editor of the Arthur Graphic Clarion until 2019. Roger was a member of the Arthur Rotary Club. He enjoyed taking photos and writing his article in the

Arthur Graphic Clarion, “The Bonham Line.” He enjoyed music at Penn Station on Wednesday evenings. He was a big fan of NASCAR, the Houston Astros, Roger Bonham University of Illinois basketball, and sci-fi. Roger liked all kinds of music, but his favorite was listening to the crackle of classic vinyl. Memorials may be made to the family. He is survived by his wife, Susan of Atwood; two sons, Patrick James Bonham and his wife Donna of Atwood, and Jonathan Wayne Bonham of Champaign; four grandchildren, Christopher, Cherish, Chantell, and Cameron; several greatgrandchildren; two stepchildren, Trina Rogers and her husband Will of Temple, Texas, and Travis Helmka of Bryan, Texas; one step-granddaughter, Sarah; two sisters, Betty Powell of Palestine, and LaDonna Stant of Annapolis, Illinois; and a sister-inlaw, Mary Jo Bonham of Palestine. He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife; one brother, Larry Bonham; one sister, Janet Bonham; and two brothers-in-law, LeRoy Powell and RoyDon Stant.

Lola C. French BATAVIA – Lola Clark French, 98, died peacefully March 17, 2021, at the Michealsen Health Center of The Holmstad in Batavia. Lola was born Feb. 13, 1923, in Mount Sterling, to James R. and Laura Clemons Clark. The fourth of seven children, she grew up in a loving family that valued education and was well-respected in their community. After graduating from Mount Sterling High School, Lola attended the University of Illinois. She graduated in 1945 with a degree in journalism and began writing for the Moline Daily Dispatch. Her career was temporarily put on hold in November 1948 when she married Stephen F. French, Jr., with whom she raised six children. Lola began working again in the late 1960s. Her employers included Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, the Elmhurst Press, and Elmhurst Public Schools. She retired from Elmhurst College as the editor and director of communications in 1986. Lola's devotion extended not only to her family and career, but also to

Yorkfield Presbyterian Church, Laubach Literacy, the Elmhurst Art Museum, and the Elmhurst Historical Museum. A lifelong learner, she traveled and studied both Lola French internationally and close to home. Lola is survived by her children, Douglas (Kay), Stephen III, Laura Ryan (T. Bernard), Richard (Debra), and Kenneth (Laurel); 14 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Additional survivors include her brothers, J. Rolland Clark, Donald Clark (Carol), and George Clark; numerous nieces, nephews,and their children and grandchildren. She had been especially well loved and cared for by her niece, Beverly Thomas (Larry). She was preceded in death by her husband; her daughter, Emily Jane; her parents; her brother, Clemons "Bud" Clark; and her sisters, Virginia White and Ruth Peacock. Please consider a donation to any of following: Brown County¬ IL Historical Society, The Holmstad Benevolence Fund, or Yorkfield Presbyterian Church.

ROSENGREN Continued from Page 28 Pete and Maura met as students at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Pete played on the basketball team. As an alumnus, he served on the school's President's Leadership Council. His love of basketball led him to coach his sons and other kids. Rosengren interned with Paddock Publications, owner of the Daily Herald Media Group, in 1999 while a student at Carthage and then took a job with the company after graduation in 2000. He served in a variety of sales and managerial positions prior to his appointment as vice president in 2015. He worked for the Chicago Tribune from 2011 to 2013. "I knew Pete when he was an intern in the advertising department, and of course he rose through the ranks to become our revenue leader

and manager," Ray said. "Great with clients, technologically savvy and smart. Pete led us through some challenging years, but established a bright future in all of our revenue areas. But more importantly, I know he was a great dad, husband, friend and fellow colleague." Rosengren was the vice chairman of the board of directors for the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce and had served as a member of the board for the Schaumburg Business Association. A memorial fund has been created to benefit his children. To contribute, click here, or go to and search for Memorial Fund for the Rosengren Family. Having met Rosengren in college, friend Brian Ilc of Geneva said they were like brothers, and

Rosengren always set a good example. "I always admired the way he took on his career. And how he was such a family man," Ilc said. Rosengren was the grandson of the late Ann Paddock, wife of Stuart R. Paddock Jr., publisher and patriarch of the company during the second half of the 20th century. "Pete was incredibly energetic, with a large capacity to be helpful to family and friends," said Stuart R. Paddock III, vice president of digital technology and information, who knew Rosengren and his family since Pete was a child. "Pete lost his own father to cancer when he was a young teenager. Through his years, he became the stalwart of his own extended family and to his grandfather's business."




James (Jim) Gordon Bramer DECATUR – James (Jim) Gordon Bramer, 94, left this Earth and found a front-row parking spot in Heaven on Thursday, April 15, 2021. He passed away at his home in Decatur, surrounded by his loving family. He was born on July 25, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Cornelius Martin and Marie (White) Bramer. He and his siblings, Robert, Charlotte, and Richard, grew up during the hard times of the 1930s, moving around to nearly every neighborhood in Decatur. He attended Johns Hill School and Decatur High School. He joined the Navy in 1944 and was stationed in the South Pacific islands. After two years of military service, he began working at the Decatur Herald & Review as a member of the printer's union, where he worked for 30 years. It was there that he met his wife, Janet (Wenger). They were married in 1967 and celebrated their 54th anniversary on March 4 of this year. He loved sports and spent all day every day in the summers playing baseball, basketball, tennis, and numerous other sports in Johns Hill Park. But his lifelong passion was golf, playing with family and friends every chance he got, and in later years, after hanging up his spikes, loved watching baseball and golf on television. He took great joy in watching his grandchildren pursue their passions, hobbies, and careers, and could never ever be convinced that they weren't the most absolutely brilliant kid to have ever attempted that particular pursuit. Jim is survived by his wife Janet; children, Kevin, Kelly (Ann Marie), Jody Hunt (Bill), Eric (Amy), and Jason (Joleen); and grandchildren, Ben (Carlye), Kathryn (Calen), Max, Stephanie, Cale (Hannah), Gabrielle, Wyatt, Charlotte, Grant, and Dane. Memorials can be sent to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Decatur. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family in care of Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Homes at