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January-February 2020

LIVING LEGEND The Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists recently named Odell Mitchell Jr. one of its three latest Living Legends. He has photographed innumerable legends both living (Jackie Joyner Kersey and Ozzie Smith among them) and late – including the opportunity to cover the election of Nelson Mandela. PAGE 8

The IPA Contest entry deadline is in LESS THAN 2 WEEKS! Go to http://www.newspapercontest.com/ Contests/IllinoisPressAssociation.aspx to register and enter by Jan. 31!

SAVE THE DATE! The Illinois Press Association/ Foundation Annual Convention and Trade Show will be May 8-9, 2020, at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield.


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JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

Your public notices should be posted more prominently online; we can help

ublic Notice Illinois continues to be our best defense against legislators who want to move notices to governmental websites. Certain lawmakers contend that everybody has web access, and say that’s where notices should be. That’s all well and good. So public notices are on the internet, but how does one find them? Do they go to each local government’s site to get that information? That’s unrealistic, if not impossible. According to the Illinois comptroller, there are 8,529 units of local government in Illinois, ranging from school districts to mosquito abatement districts. Not every unit of government is going to have a website, and who is going to certify that all units of government are in compliance with the posting of public notices? So, when it comes to the web, all notices are in one place – Public Notice Illinois. Illinois was the first state to require mandatory uploading of notices. It’s legislation that has been copied in many other states. As an industry, we need to do a better job of

making sure public notices are available for visitors to our sites to find. I’m asking that newspapers provide a link on their home page that’s visible and in front of a paywall, so your most recent notices can be found. Some of your websites have public notices on your classifieds SAM FISHER link. That’s great, but we can give you a link to take a visiPresident & CEO tor to the PNI site with your most recent posted notices displayed. This gives the visitor more options to view all of your public notices. If you prefer that visitors stay on your site, we can give you the capability of embedding an iframe on your site that will display the most recent notices posted to Public Notice Illinois. For either option, all you need to do is use the info below and replace the XXX with your three-digit paper ID. Your paper ID is located in the News-

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JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

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New year, new plans for Capitol News Illinois

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year ago, I was feeling very anxious. Opening Day for Capitol News Illinois was about a week away. Sure, the three full-time Capitol News Illinois reporters were already working. And, sure, we’d already written and distributed a handful of stories about new lawmakers. But as far as I was concerned, Capitol News JEFF ROGERS Illinois really didn’t start until the legislative session began Director of Foundation Jan. 28, 2019. We had every reason to believe the news service would be a success. For years, there had been a glaring lack of print reporters and bureaus working fulltime from the Capitol. That’s why the Illinois Press Foundation Board of Directors decided to create and fund Capitol News Illinois in the first place – to provide unbiased coverage of state government to Illinois newspapers that had little or no access to the Statehouse. We also knew that in Rebecca Anzel, Peter Hancock and Jerry Nowicki, we had three outstanding reporters who believed in our mission. Still, you worry. And you wonder. What if that need that appeared so obvious didn’t actually exist? What if our coverage isn’t good enough? What if we distribute stories and very few of them get published by newspapers? We were not sure what to expect. Our anxiety was quelled quickly. The quality of reporting and writing was strong. The volume of news stories was high. Illinois newspapers were publishing Capitol News Illinois stories with a frequency that even we hadn’t planned. Today, as Capitol News Illinois nears its oneyear anniversary, more than 380 newspapers with a combined circulation of nearly 2 million have published our stories. And not just once or twice. There have been nearly 20,000 instances of CNI stories being published by Illinois newspapers since Jan. 28, 2019. When we mark our first birthday next week, we’ll celebrate a fantastic start for Capitol News Illinois! I’m looking forward to that. But I’m also feeling anxious again. Why, you ask? As great as the first year of Capitol News Illinois was, the second year must be better. Running in place is not a strategy. Every organization must have a plan for the future, for how it’s

Thank you to those who donated Memorials in 2019! Memorial Donation for Bernie Judge David and Sara Reed Memorial Donations for Bob Best, Marx Gibson, Byron Tracy, Jim Roberts and John Foreman David and Sara Rered Memorial Donation for Bill Miller Grant from Patch Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation going to improve and grow. Capitol News Illinois is no different. We have a lot planned for 2020. Some of those plans have already occurred. Jerry Nowicki has been named bureau chief of the news service. He will lead the day-to-day operations at our office at the Capitol, focusing on our daily coverage of state government. You can read more about his promotion on Page 4 of this edition. I’m now the editor of Capitol News Illinois. I’ll still be involved in the daily processes of the news service, but my focus will shift more to new content and fundraising. Our redesigned website has also been launched. The new site gives us more flexibility in adding new features and content, and allows for advertising. We have a new intern from the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois Springfield. Ben Orner, a Kent State University grad, joined our team at the beginning of the year and has hit the ground running. Also, as you read this, we are launching an email newsletter that will be sent daily when the Legislature is in session and weekly when it is not. The newsletter will feature links to Capitol News Illinois stories, podcasts and videos. It also will include a quick look at what we expect to be covering the following day. We also plan to use the newsletter to promote (and link) the outstanding coverage our member newspapers provide of state issues. We also plan to diversify our podcasts, provide a lot more video coverage, and add columnists who

A successful NewsMatch fundraising campaign for CNI Capitol News Illinois received more than $22,000 in individual donations between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, making it eligible to receive $20,000 in matching funds from NewsMatch, a national organization that supports nonprofit newsrooms and makes funds available to match individual contributions. Capitol News Illinois was a first-time participant in the NewsMatch campaign, which is held during the last two months of each year. Email appeals were made to employees of Illinois newspapers, as well as graduates of the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield. A social media campaign appeal to news consumers at large also was conducted, and included a promotional video and video testimonials from Capitol News Illinois reporters. If you were one of the many who made a donation to our NewsMatch campaign, thank you! You can give at any time of year, however. Simply go to the Capitol News Illinois website and click on "Support Us." will write opinion and analysis pieces. A greater emphasis will be placed on investigative reporting and breaking news in our reporting this year. We also plan to have a more active social media presence. But perhaps the biggest news we’ve received so far that will propel Capitol News Illinois to a better second year is the awarding of a grant from Report For America that will help us add a reporter and videographer to our team in June. The reporter will write about how state government and legislation impacts ethnic, minority, distressed and rural communities. The videographer will provide video coverage of state issues and legislative sessions. You can read more about the Report For America partnership on Page 4. We also are beginning a partnership with the Illinois College Press Association this year. Student newspapers that are ICPA members will be able to publish Capitol News Illinois content, and CNI will occasionally distribute stories from student newspapers. All of this is very exciting! But it also makes me a little anxious. Just like last year, we feel there’s a demand for the different projects we have planned for 2020. Still, you worry. And you wonder. It’s what journalists do, right?


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Nowicki named bureau chief of Capitol News Illinois SPRINGFIELD – Capitol News Illinois on Jan. 13 announced that Jerry Nowicki has been promoted to the position of bureau chief with the news service. Nowicki joined Capitol News Illinois as a reporter when the Illinois Press Foundation’s news service began covering state government in January 2019. During Capitol News Illinois’ first year of operation, Nowicki was a lead reporter on some of the biggest legislative session issues, including the graduated income tax proposal, a significant increase in the minimum wage, the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana, and the state’s first capital infrastructure plan in more than a decade. “Jerry took the lead on a number of the biggest stories happening in Springfield in 2019, and he also took an unofficial leadership role in our office at the Capitol,” said Jeff Rogers, director of the Illinois Press Foundation. “Jerry is a student of state government who applies a very intelligent and analytical approach to our coverage. That, and his commitment to the civics mission of Capitol News Illinois, will make him a great leader of the daily news operations.”

Rogers has been the interim bureau chief of Capitol News Illinois since its launch. He will continue to work with Capitol News Illinois as its editor, focusing on new content development and fundraising. Nowicki will continue to report on state issues for the news service in Jerry Nowicki addition to his bureau chief responsibilities. “Our first year at Capitol News Illinois has shown a need for more widely available Statehouse coverage and a public appetite for factbased, opinion-free journalism,” Nowicki said. “In the next year and onward, I look forward to working with our growing newsroom to double down on the services we offer while adding new, more innovative offerings as well. “As our Capitol News Illinois team transitions to a new phase, we remain committed to journalism’s highest and noblest standards, grateful for our readers and the trust they give us, and open to innovative ways of bringing the news to consumers.” Capitol News Illinois provides daily coverage

of state government on its website, capitolnewsillinois.com. It also distributes its stories, photos, videos and podcasts to Illinois’ daily and nondaily newspapers. Its stories have been published more than 19,000 times by more than 380 Illinois newspapers with a combined circulation of nearly 2 million. In 2020, Capitol News Illinois is beginning a content distribution partnership with student newspapers that are members of the Illinois College Press Association. It also plans to add daily email newsletters during the legislative session, which begins Jan. 27. In June, Capitol News Illinois will welcome two new reporters through a Report For America grant. One will cover how state government impacts ethnic, minority, distressed and rural communities in Illinois. The other will be a videographer covering state issues and legislative sessions. Capitol News Illinois is funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Illinois Press Foundation and individual and organizational donations.

Capitol News Illinois to add two reporters with Report for America grant SPRINGFIELD – Capitol News Illinois is being awarded a grant by Report for America that will help the Illinois Press Foundation’s state government reporting news service to increase its presence at the Capitol in 2020. The grant will help pay for two additional reporters – one who will report on how state government and legislation impacts ethnic, minority, distressed and rural communities; and one who will provide video coverage of state issues and legislative sessions. “We’re thrilled to be a part of Report for America’s effort to put reporters on the ground where there are gaps in coverage throughout the country,” Capitol News Illinois Bureau Chief Jeff Rogers said. “As the audience reach of Capitol News Illinois has shown during its first

year of operation, there is a real need for more coverage of the Illinois Statehouse. We’re grateful Report for America has recognized that need by committing to adding two full-time reporters to the Capitol News Illinois news team.” Report for America will fund a portion of the pay for the reporters, who will begin work in the Capitol News Illinois newsroom at the Statehouse in June 2020. The positions are partially funded by Report for America for at least one year.

Report for America is a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report for America addresses an urgent need in journalism at a time when news deserts are widening across the country, leaving communities uninformed on local issues and threatening our democracy like never before. “We offer a pretty simple fix for

news holes in communities throughout the country — local reporters on the ground, who hold leaders accountable and report on under-covered issues,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America. “The editors we’ve met during our application cycle have shown us amazing passion, commitment and sharp ideas for how to better serve their local communities.” Here are highlights about the newsrooms, selected through a rigorous national competition: ● Nonprofit newsrooms like Capitol News Illinois account for 47 percent of the total. They include digital publications and public TV and radio stations. ● More than 30 beats involve covering state legislatures. Many of

See REPORTERS on Page 5


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Gavel passed on Illinois Press Association Board Scott Stone, president and chief operating officer of Daily Herald Media Group, became chairman of the Illinois Press Association Board when the gavel was passed from Ron Wallace, who concluded his term as the board's leader during its Dec. 4 meeting at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation office in Springfield. TOP LEFT: Sue Walker, general manager of the Hyde Park Herald, joins in on the applause as Stone receives the gavel. Walker became the board's treasurer during the meeting. BOTTOM LEFT: Illinois Press Association President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Fisher hands a plaque to Stone to give to Ron Wallace (left) for his service as IPA Board chairman in 2019. Wallace is the publisher of the Quincy Herald-Whig. BOTTOM RIGHT: Wallace smiles as he receives the plaque from Stone. Also during the meeting, Don Bricker of Shaw Media became the board's vice chairman. (Photos by Jeff Rogers)

REPORTERS Continued from Page 4 those jobs are the result of a partnership between The Associated Press and Report for America. ● Almost one-third of all positions call for journalists fluent in Spanish or other languages, to cover under-reported communities. Applications are being accepted now until Jan. 31 at reportforamerica.org for the reporting slots. They will be chosen in a selective national competition, with leading journalists, editors and teachers acting as judges.

Journalists and their newsroom pairings will be announced in April. Last year, Report for America drew nearly 1,000 applications for 50 open positions, signaling significant interest among emerging journalists. Among the newsrooms, 47 percent are nonprofits, including digital-only newsrooms, public radio and public TV stations. Several represent “new models” in journalism with innovative approaches to community investment. Others are traditional newspapers

with strong records of public service that publish both daily and weekly. The beats these journalists will cover reflect some of the biggest gaps in coverage in local news today, and some of the top priorities in society. They include stepped up reporting in remote rural areas and over-looked urban communities, and increased coverage of state legislatures and local government, as well as broader issues such as the environment, health care, education, housing, veterans’

issues and aging populations. The dramatic expansion of the corps was made possible by philanthropic leaders including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Google News Initiative, the Ford Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Tow Foundation and many more.


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Foundation awards 3 scholarships to PAR students At its December board meeting, the Illinois Press Foundation Board of Directors awarded three $1,200 scholarships to University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting graduate students Timothy Eggert, Kade Heather and Ben Orner. Timothy Eggert holds a bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in Writing, from Northern Michigan University, having graduated in August. While at Northern Michigan, Eggert was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The North Wind, during his senior year. He covered state and local governments, elections and politics for the weekly publication. He also oversaw the editorial and business operations, managing a 10-editor staff, assigning stories, reviewing the page layout, and editing stories. “My undergraduate studies in English and writing at Northern Michigan University introduced me to the value of differing views and gave me the tools to ask complex questions, practice thoughtful analysis and evolve my writing,” Eggert said. “Three years as a reporter and editor for the independent student newspaper allowed me to utilize those tools and expand my appreciation for community journalism.” His journalistic adviser at The North Wind, Jackie Stark, said, “Tim has an eye for detail and a nose for reporting. Unafraid to ask the tough questions, and also unafraid to seek out help from those who may have more expertise than he does, Tim is exactly the combination of confident yet humble that I believe makes for an outstanding journalist.” Eggert hopes to cover a beat focused on state or local governments, the environments or social health for an Illinois daily newspaper upon graduation. “I expect to use my career in professional journalism to make state government more accessible to Illinoisans, and to bring perspective to confidence to the democratic conversation.” Eggert is a reporting intern with Chicago Daily Law Bulletin this spring. Kade Heather graduated in May from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. While at ISU, Heather worked for the student newspaper, The Vidette, and student radio station, WZND. He covered mostly sports in college, but decided to attend the Public Affairs Reporting program, he said, because “I wanted to advance my education of journalism and under-

The Illinois Press Foundation awarded scholarships to three students - Ben Orner, Timothy Eggert and Kade Heather - during its Dec. 5 meeting of the IPF Board. Pictured at the Springfield office are (from left) IPF Board President Jerry Reppert, Orner, Eggert, Heather, PAR Program Director Jason Piscia and IPF Foundation Director Jeff Rogers. (Photo by Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)

Applications open for UIS Public Affairs Reporting program Young reporters: Do you believe facts matter? Are you committed to providing audiences the accurate, unbiased information they need to be fully engaged citizens? Would you like to hone your reporting and news writing skills to meet the challenge? Then the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield is for you. Our oneyear master’s degree program is a unique blend of classroom study and real-life work experience featuring a six-month internship during which you'll earn academic credit working as a full-time reporter in the Illinois Statehouse press room for the IPF''s Capitol News Illinois service, a large- or medium-sized newspaper or alternative weekly. stand the political world of it in a time that political journalism is crucial.” Heather is from Saint Charles and would prefer to remain in Illinois when he begins his professional career, but said he’s willing to go anywhere

Internships for television and radio stations are available, too. During the internship, you'll receive a $3,510 stipend and a tuition waiver, but more importantly, you'll garner scores of bylines on significant stories about key public policy decisions. With those kind of credentials, the placement record for our graduates is excellent. Sound intriguing? For more information, contact program director Jason Piscia at (217) 2067494, e-mail jason.piscia@uis.edu, visit www.uis. edu/par or follow us at fb.com/UISpringfield.PAR or twitter.com/UISPAR. Applications for fall 2020 must be postmarked no later than April 1. EOE. he thinks would fit best. “I want to help provide the public its right to know the truth and tell stories that make a difference.”

See SCHOLARSHIPS on Page 7


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Illinois Press Foundation Director Jeff Rogers speaks during the awarding of scholarships to graduate students in the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program. (Photo by Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)

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SCHOLARSHIPS Continued from Page 6 John Plevka, general manager of The Vidette, called Heather a leader with an “exemplary work ethic and a drive to excel.” He said Heather met all challenges “quietly and efficiently,” and “possesses the poise, temperament and the overall good humor to grow as a journalist.” Heather hopes to cover anything from local or state government to sports and sports law. And if anyone needs him to sling some papers, he can do that, too. He served as a route driver for The Vidette, delivering bundles of printed Videttes at 6 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. “This is not glamorous work,” Plevka said, “but Kade does it without complaint – even in the dead of a central Illinois winter.” Heather’s reporting internship this spring is with the State Journal-Register of Springfield. Ben Orner grew up in the historic town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, so it’s probably no coincidence he is a lover of history, civics and service. Orner graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Until joining the PAR program, he was a special projects producer at WILX-TV in Lansing, Michigan. While there, his news producer

said, Orner took a leadership role on weekend newscasts. He also has TV broadcast experience in Austin, Texas, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Now, Orner wants to hone his newspaper reporting skills. “In every story I write, I try to bring context and depth, while making sure my reader knows how the story impacts them,” he said. “I want to use my multi-platform journalism skills to help people understand how governments and institutions affect them.” In five years, Orner hopes to be either covering a public-affairs related beat for a newspaper or digital news outlet, or working on some type of projects team at a newspaper, public radio station or TV station. Susan Kirkman Zake, an associate professor at Kent State and the faculty newsroom adviser, has high praise for Orner. “He is the kind of young journalist who makes me optimistic about the future of journalism and its future leaders,” she said, noting that Orner has a “relentless desire to dig and dig until he finds the answers to his questions. … His combination of skills and determination place him in an elite class of students.” Orner is an intern this spring with Capitol News Illinois.


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A LIVING LEGEND BEHIND THE LENS

Odell Mitchell Jr. spent a career telling others' stories through his photos, but his own story is pretty good, too By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association O’FALLON – Living Legend Odell Mitchell Jr. didn’t develop as a photographer in a dark room. From the time he first held a camera at age 17, he developed everywhere he took it. On the eve of his 40th birthday, he anticipated the ribbing he’d get the next day at work. So before leaving

the St. Louis Post-Dispatch office, he grabbed a bunch of negatives and developed portraits of people he’d loved and lost. The next day, a fellow photog predictably offered the prompt, calling Mitchell over the hill. “I walked in and told him to sit down at the table from me, and I’d tell him why I’m happy I’m 40,” said Mitchell, who will turn 65 in Janu-

ary. “This person didn’t make it to 28. This cousin of mine didn’t make it. Here’s a guy who was a friend of my brother’s, [who] got killed.” He spread out seven pictures in all, including his sister’s first boyfriend and a cousin who overdosed and died. Ominously missing, though, was the scene he witnessed another night on his drive home: a scrum of police cars

See LEGEND on Page 9

ABOVE LEFT: Ozzie Smith sheds tears as he gets ready retire from baseball as a St. Louis Cardinal. ABOVE RIGHT: President-elect Nelson Mandela at his victory party in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photos by Odell Mitchell Jr./St. Louis Post-Dispatch) BELOW: Odell Mitchell Jr., worked as a photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 24 years.


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LEGEND Continued from Page 8 in East St. Louis. He thought better of stopping and taking pictures, figuring they wouldn’t make the paper. “The next morning, my brother called me and said, ‘Hey, did you hear about Bud? He got shot. Some guys tried to rob him on 15th and Broadway and he got shot,’ ” Mitchell said. The Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists recently named Mitchell one of its three latest Living Legends. He has photographed innumerable legends both living (threetime Olympian gold medalist Jackie Joyner Kersey and Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith among them) and late – including the opportunity to cover the South Afircan presidential election of legendary philanthropist Nelson Mandela.

It started with a smile

When one of Mitchell’s four siblings, Tommy, brought home a camera from Vietnam, his 17-year-old kid brother was fascinated. Recognizing that, Mitchell’s mother, Brazil, bought him a Mimiay 35mm camera on credit. “We didn’t have disposable income for anything,” Mitchell said. “Not only for a camera, but we didn’t have disposable income for much of anything.” After graduating from East St. Louis High School, he was set to attend Western Illinois University – until he found out he’d have to pay to live in the dorms. So when a football teammate said black students were being recruited to attend Iowa State University, with their way paid, Mitchell jumped at the opportunity. “They promised we had money and that things would be fine,” Mitchell said. “The money they promised they really didn’t have. I stayed because I didn’t have anything else I could do.” He landed on academic probation, reapplied and was readmitted, but wanted to quit school. His mother wouldn’t let him. “She said ‘Junior, you’re graduating from Iowa State’,” he said. “So I just

prised to see it show up on the cover of the Iowa State Daily – the first of hundreds of his portraits that would land on a front page.

Coming home

Members of the Ku Klux Klan are shout down during a protest in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Odell Mitchell Jr./Florida Times-Union & Jacksonville Journal)

Jackie Joyner Kersee competes in the 1988 Olympic Trails in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Odell Mitchell Jr./St. Louis Post-Dispatch) stayed, and I struggled. Things were paid for, but I had a difficult time getting books.” He said part of the reason his grades had suffered was he was going home too often. But a snapshot of a neighbor’s grandchild, smiling brightly on his family’s front stoop, got him noticed by the student-run

Iowa State Daily newspaper. In the picture, the youngster was doing nothing more than smiling. “He was just sitting on my steps, smiling,” he said. “I just shot a portrait of him. You know how kids say ‘Cheese’ and they’ve got their little cheese face on.” He liked the portrait, but was sur-

Mitchell landed a job at the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville a little more than a year after getting his degree in journalism and mass communications. He worked there for about two years before accepting an invitation to join the hometown Post-Dispatch, where he worked for 24 years. At neither paper did an editor ever ask Mitchell to make a point of photographing a particular sector of the community. “Never was told that by an editor,” he said. Race did come up, though. In Florida, the photo editor noted he took photos of only black people during a certain parade. “Then I went to the Post-Dispatch one time I was shooting the VP Fair along the arch grounds and a reporter came to me and told me all the pictures we had in the paper were white people,” he said, laughing. “I shoot what’s the best situation. I don’t shoot thinking I need to get some black people in the paper.” He said some called the Post-Dispatch racist and Communist. “I’d defend the Post-Dispatch as long as I worked there,” he said. Good people were there – including Jerry Naunheim, who worked as an intern when Mitchell was hired. “He thinks he’s smarter than I am because he got hired first,” Naunheim said. Mitchell is also the elder statesman. “Odell is way older than me,” Naunheim said. “He was born in January of 1955, and I wasn’t born until April of … 1955.” They shared many passions – their politics, their faith, and their insistence on finding the soft side of photo

See LENS on Page 15


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ILLINOIS PRESS ASSOCIATION EDITORIAL

Journalism Competition and Preservation Act critical to newspapers' future; thanks, Sen. Durbin, for your support

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ocal news is the bedrock of America’s democracy, holding leaders accountable and keeping residents informed about what’s happening in their communities. Without regular, high-quality news coverage, communities see increased government costs. People who are regular news consumers are also more civically engaged than those who don’t consume news regularly, and are more likely to vote and to donate to causes important to them. Quality news will not be available if news publishers cannot monetize their content and reinvest in reporting and newsgathering efforts. The “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” makes this all possible. The duopoly of Facebook and Google have been chipping away at news publishers’ ability to continue to provide the quality news our communities need. Companies like Facebook and Google routinely profit off of news publishers’ original content. The duopoly earns 70 percent or more of every advertising dollar spent online, leaving publishers with literal pennies to help pay for news. That imbalance is part of why the news industry has lost tens of thousands of jobs in the past decade and why hundreds of communities have lost their local newspapers. The “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act,” which Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, has signed on to support, would grant news publishers a limited antitrust safe harbor to negotiate with the tech platforms for better business terms to support journalism. Through the safe harbor, publishers big and small from Illinois — and all 50 states — would be able to join together to ask companies like Google and Facebook for terms that would permit them to continue to provide their communities with

About the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act creates a temporary safe harbor for news publishers to band together to negotiate with online platforms to protect Americans’ access to trustworthy sources of news online. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act was introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives David N. Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, the chairman of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, and Doug Collins, R-Georgia, the ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary, on April 3, 2019. It was introduced in the Senate on June 3, 2019, by Senators John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, the ranking member of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee. Limited Safe Harbor The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act establishes a 48-month safe harbor for the free press to band together to negotiate with dominant online platforms to improve the access to and the quality of news online. Importantly, the safe harbor is narrowly tailored to ensure that coordination by news publishers is only in the interest of promoting trust and quality journalism. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act allows coordination by news publishers only if it 1. Directly relates to the quality, accuracy, attribution or branding, or interoperability of news; 2. Benefits the entire industry, rather than just a few publishers, and is non-discriminatory to other news publishers; and 3. Is directly related to and reasonably necessary for these negotiations, instead of being used for other purposes. Protects the Free and Diverse Press The free and diverse press — particularly local press — is the backbone of a healthy and vibrant democracy. But the quality journalism they depend on. News publications such as yours would be able to negotiate arrangements with the tech companies that would give you what you need most, so you can continue to give your readers the news they need most. Without the safe harbor bill, not only will news publishers suffer, but so will your readers. Members of your

the control of access to trustworthy news online has become centralized by just two platforms. The Pew Research Center reported in 2017 that the majority of Americans access news through only two platforms — Facebook and Google — noting that “Facebook outstrips all other social media sites as a source of news.” Recent market reports also indicate that these same companies control the vast majority of online referrals for news and the bulk of digital advertising revenue, while revenue for news publishers has plummeted by $31 billion since 2006. Protects the Free Market, Jobs, and the Marketplace of Ideas Free markets depend on an even playing field. But in the absence of a truly competitive landscape, innovation suffers, businesses fail, workers are laid off or have lower wages, and consumers are harmed through less choice and worse service. Instead of competing on an equal playing field, online platforms are able to dictate the terms of how Americans view news online. And as a result of the diminished revenue, thousands of journalists have been laid off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the overall employment of reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts will decline 9% between 2016 and 2026, alongside declines in readership and circulation of newspapers. The majority of Americans are “more concerned” that not enough is being done to address the “relentless spread of fake news on their platforms,” representing “a seismic shift in the public’s perception” in a short time on the issue, according to an Axios-SurveyMonkey poll. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, 63% of people say they can’t tell the difference between good journalism and falsehood online.

communities rely on you every day to help keep them informed about what’s happening in their world, be it information about the roads they take to get to and from work, news about the local school board, how the local sports teams are faring and updates on state legislation. If news publishers can’t afford to pay journalists or continue publishing because they can’t

get a better deal from the platforms, readers are the ones who truly lose. We thank Senator Durbin for supporting quality journalism here in Illinois and across the country, and we encourage the rest of Congress, including Illinois’ full delegation, to sign on to the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” and show their support, as well.


JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

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The Illinois Press Association will once again reward two newspaper advertising professionals at this year’s convention. But this year, the IPA also will be rewarding two standouts in Illinois newsrooms as well! The IPA has added Editor of the Year and Reporter of the Year awards to the list of recognitions that will be made during the convention, scheduled for May 7-8 at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. The IPA also once again will recognize the Advertising Sales Manager of the Year and the Advertising Sales Representative of the Year.

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This award will be presented to an individual who excelled in a leadership role at an Illinois newspaper during the 2019 calendar year. This individual may manage the entire newsroom (executive editor, editor, managing editor) or a department (news editor, city editor, sports editor, photo editor). A nomination must be made by the editor’s supervisor. It can be done electronically with a form on this site, or may be submitted as a letter of recommendation that is no longer than 2 pages in length. Additional letters of support from the editor’s employees may also be submitted. Submissions should include specific examples of management initiatives, content and readership projects, or community involvement efforts by the nominee during 2019. Nomination forms should be completely filled out online or sent by mail to the Illinois Press Association by Feb. 14, 2020. Criteria to be considered include how the editor’s work promoted journalism and the newspaper’s brand, impacted the community, and provided newsroom employees the opportunity to

To Nominate For more information about these awards and to access electronic nomination forms, go to the Illinois Press Association's website, illinoispress.org, and click on "Convention." grow professionally.

Reporter of the Year

This award will be presented to an individual reporter who did outstanding work at an Illinois Press Association member newspaper during the 2019 calendar year. This individual may be a news reporter, sports reporter or a photographer, but may not be an editor or supervisor of others. A nomination must be made by the reporter’s supervisor. It can be done electronically with a form on this site, or may be submitted as a letter of recommendation that is no longer than 2 pages in length. Additional letters of support from the reporter’s peers or sources may also be submitted. Submissions should include specific examples of the reporter’s work during 2019, including breaking news stories, features, investigative pieces, enterprise news series, opinion columns, digital journalism and photographs. Nomination forms should be completely filled out online or sent by mail to the Illinois Press Association by Feb. 14, 2020. Criteria to be considered include the community impact of the reporter’s work, and the skills displayed in the examples of reporting, writing, photography and digital journalism.

See NOMINATE on Page 14


12

ILLINOIS PRESSLINES 

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

Student editor stays on the ball during strike By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For the Illinois Press Association CHICAGO – As contract talks broke down between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools, the editor-in-chief of the Paw Print at Walter Payton College Prep started planning for a strike last fall. Knowing he'd lose access to his newspaper teacher, Michelle Mowery, while she was on picket lines, Will Foster consulted her and started pulling together coverage. "Several weeks before the strike started, it was on our radar," Foster said. "It was something that could be a big school-related news event." When the strike finally ended on Halloween, the 17-year-old high school senior grabbed some candy and spent the afternoon writing a column about what the past two weeks had been like for his fellow students at Payton and across the city. Over Kit Kats and M&M’s – a similar diet to some other Chicago reporters working late that night – Foster recapped the longest CPS teachers strike in decades. "A lot of what I did for my fun Halloween experience was writing my strike recap column for the website, which might not sound very fun, but I felt like I needed to sum up what we as students had kind of felt over the last couple weeks," Foster said during a phone interview. "That gave me extra fuel." Here's how he started the piece: "The strike ended the same way it began, with Lori Lightfoot standing in front of a gaggle of reporters in downtown Chicago. Three Wednesdays ago, when the mayor announced school was canceled the next day because of the Chicago Teachers Union's planned walkout, few in this city would have imagined that by the time students returned to school there would be snow on the ground." He later ticked off a few lingering questions, an insight into the concerns

Walter Payton College Preparatory High School journalism teacher Michelle Mowery and Will Foster, a senior and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, Paw Print, discuss coverage at the Chicago high school. (Photo submitted) of the students whose lives the tentative contract is supposed to improve: 'Will the resources the city has promised in this contract actually make it to schools – and will they improve teaching and learning conditions, as hoped? How will students catch up on the coursework they have missed?" Lightfoot, Chicago’s mayor, reached an agreement with union leaders Oct. 31 to make up five of the 11 school days missed due to the work stoppage. At the Paw Print, a few other students contributed during the strike, while Foster ran the daily coverage, self-publishing and sharing stories to both his personal and newspaper social media accounts.

Back at school Friday, many students and teachers told him they'd appreciated his coverage. "As soon as the word came down that the mayor had canceled school for the next day, I wrote a story about that and then I just decided to write something roughly every day," Foster said. He was also trying to hit the Nov. 1 deadline for early college applications, so he didn't get out on the ground as much as he would have liked to. People sent him photos from rallies, and he watched live streams of news conferences. His eyes "started to glaze over from refreshing Twitter so many times." He got help from a former Paw Print editor, who took many of the

picket line photos Foster picked up. Self-publishing was a little nerve-racking, Foster said, but nothing he hadn't done before. He planned coverage of the ratification vote, when all 25,000 Chicago Teachers Union members decided whether to accept or reject the tentative agreement. He interviewed athletes on Payton's sports teams about what it meant to have their seasons end early. That "weighed heavily on a lot of kids," Foster said. "And college application stress was something that was big." Foster said he turned in all of his materials on time to the University of Chicago, his first choice, and to the universities of Michigan and Illinois, but was waiting on counselors and teachers to submit their parts. Several Illinois and Chicago-area universities made special exceptions on application deadlines for CPS students to help deal with strike-related application problems. "Most of the colleges are being pretty understanding, which is good, but it did definitely cause stress for students," he said. It was a balancing act, he said. "At times my parents had to tell me, 'Maybe save the Paw Print 'til after you finish (your applications),' ” he said. At first, students were excited about the time off from school, but then it became a "surreal routine," with announcements every day that school was closed the next, he said. "I just tried to keep covering it and contextualize it for kids, what the arguments were being made," he said. "It felt like a big responsibility. I had to get it right. I wanted to because I want it to be factual, I wanted to be fair to both sides and obviously it was a heavily charged issue. Even within my school there were a lot of different opinions on the strike, who was to blame, who should do what. I wanted to do factbased, objective reporting that informed people what was going on."


JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

ILLINOIS PRESSLINES

13

Putting the unity in community journalism Frey retires as managing editor in Kankakee, continues uplifting projects By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For the Illinois Press Association KANKAKEE – Mike Frey’s career as the watchdog of Kankakee has come to a close. His career as a champion of the smallish city he’s called home for half a century will go on indefinitely. Frey, 56, is retiring after 37 years at the Daily Journal, where he started as a sports writer in April 1982. But he’ll keep writing the editorials and, come February, he’ll again be emceeing the I-KAN Regional Spelling Bee – the passion project he’s helped organize and see through for many years. “It’s a win-win-win situation,” Frey said of the bee. “It’s a feel-good night, and you need some of those every so often in this business. I look forward to it every year, and I admit I’ll miss it. But at least in the short term, I won’t have to miss it at all.” Frey rose to the rank of sports editor before moving to news side in 1999. He took the helm as managing editor in 2012. Now he’ll hand the reins to his successor, 41-year-old Misty Knisely. And he’ll do so gladly. “By noon the first day she was here, I said, ‘She’s going to be good,’ ” Frey said. A true journalist’s manager, Frey said Knisely’s approach to leadership will make the transition a smooth one. “She has a demeanor that I think is helpful,” he said. “There’s no question who’s boss around here, but she’s not Atilla the Hun. She’s collaborating in her approach, she uses the buy-in philosophy.” “I try to work with people the way I want to be worked with,” Knisely added. In addition to the managing editor transition, senior reporter Lee Provost, 56, has become community editor, Business Editor Chris Breach, 59, took over as associate editor, and photographer Tiffany Blanchette, 29, rose to the rank of photo editor. Knisely was managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune in Logansport, Indiana, from January 2013 to August 2016, and after that she got a look at the other side of the news cycle as manager of marketing and communications with the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance. Why return to the newspaper industry, with its challenge of monetizing digital revenue and widespread consolidation of operations? “I figured out I belong in a newsroom,” Knisely said. “I’m a firm believer that if you put out a good product, the readers and the advertisers will come.”

After 37 years working at the Daily Journal in Kankakee, the past seven as managing editor, Mike Frey retired late last year. But Frey will continue to write editorials for the newspaper, among other tasks. " I can do the things I enjoy doing, and not do the things I don’t enjoy as much – the bureaucratic stuff, the paper-pushing," he said. First things first, though, she had to bring certain aspects of the Daily Journal newsroom into the 21st century. She quickly unraveled its hornet’s nest of an email system. “I’d get 82 emails in an hour in some cases, and she’s cleaned that up,” Frey said. “She’s figured out things around Misty Knisely here in a very short amount of time, things I haven’t figured out here yet and that I don’t know I ever would.” What he’s figured out over the years, and what’s irreplaceable, is his relationship with the community. Frey and his parents, Richard and Nichola Frey, moved to Kankakee when he was just 6. They still live in town and have been an encouraging force all his life. “They have had a great influence in my life,” he said. “Being raised by decent people makes all the difference, and I’ve had that advantage.” Frey got his degree at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and after a brief stint at the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas, he came home.

He and his wife, Cindy, married 36 years ago, and they have two children, Angela, 35, and Robert, 23, two grandchildren, Kaya, 17, and Olivia, 12, and a grand-Chihuahua named Bo. “I like Bo, but I don’t want Bo to know that,” Frey said in his gravelly but affable tone. Over the years, Frey has coached his literal kids and those of his proverbial extended family throughout the community, so it only makes sense that he’s pursuing his substitute teacher certificate. He also plans to take a crack at doing some writing of his own volition, but as he figures out what exactly is next, over the next six months he’ll keep writing editorials and working passion projects such as the bee and the Citizen of the Year spread – among other tasks, if he’s needed. “I can go out and cover ballgames,” Frey said. “I can be a jack of all trades and a master of none. I can do the things I enjoy doing, and not do the things I don’t enjoy as much – the bureaucratic stuff, the paper-pushing. I leave that to Misty now. I think she’s overjoyed by that.”


14

ILLINOIS PRESSLINES 

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

AROUND THE STATE

Belleville News-Democrat moving to new downtown home Republished from the Belleville News-Democrat BELLEVILLE – The Belleville News-Democrat is moving back to Public Square in Belleville. The Belleville NewsDemocrat's new address will be 23 Public Square, on the second floor of the Mathis, Marifian & Richter building. The newspaper's new home is near the site of the old Belleville News-Democrat building that burned down 121 years ago on Public Square. "It shouldn't surprise you that we are remaining downtown, where our roots ran deep," Jeffry Couch, the BND's general manager and editor, wrote to readers in the Jan. 14 edition. "We looked all over Belleville, both inside the city and along its edges, after we announced the sale of our current building and intention to move. During our search for a new location, we never strayed far from downtown. "Our commitment to you — all of

The Belleville News-Democrat will move to the Mathis, Marifian & Richter building at 23 Public Square in downtown Belleville this spring. (Photo by Mike Koziatek, mkoziatek@bnd.com) our readers and the communities we serve — traces back to Jan. 16, 1858, when the Rev. Williamson F. Boyakin published the first edition of the Belleville Weekly Democrat. It continued more than 40 years later, when that fire destroyed the old News-Democrat building on Christmas Eve in

1898, and then-owner Fred J. Kern quickly moved the newspaper to 120 S. Illinois St., our headquarters ever since." The BND's new home will be by the city's iconic foundation, across from the St. Clair County Building and at the center of the city's biggest com-

munity events, Couch said. "Yes, we will miss this old place at Lincoln and Illinois, the work home of hundreds of BND employees through the years," he wrote. "Many memories and friendships were born here. Generations of reporters, photographers and editors in our newsrooms in this building chronicled local news and history. Lots of change happened within these walls over the decades. As readers' needs changed, so did the BND, over and over and over again. "But it is important to remember that the Belleville News-Democrat is so much more than the building at 120 S. Illinois St. The BND is the local journalism we produce so that readers are informed and equipped to participate in civic life. It's our devotion to holding public officials accountable and being a watchdog over your tax dollars. It's our support of community organizations and events and the marketing services we provide to businesses."

NOMINATE Continued from Page 11

Advertising Sales Manager of the Year

This award will be presented to an individual who has excelled at his/her job during the 2019 calendar year. This individual must supervise at least two sales representatives. A letter of nomination from the publisher should be submitted on maximum of two pages and should include very specific, thoughtful reasons for nomination. Nomination forms should be completely filled out with thoughtful, specific answers and must be sent to the Illinois Press Association by February 14, 2020. Criteria to be considered include measurable results of this person/staff’s efforts including year over year sales, development of sales staff, new ideas, products, sections and contests, number of (new) accounts, community/association/company involvement.

In addition to the nomination form, employee and/or advertiser feedback may be submitted with the nomination. You do not need to submit the nomination according to a specific circulation class; only daily (publishes at least four days per week) or weekly. All retail, display, classified, inside and outside supervisors, managers, directors and vice presidents will be considered.

Advertising Sales Representative of the Year

This award will be presented to an individual who has excelled at his/her job during the 2019 calendar year. This individual’s primary responsibility must be selling advertising. A letter of nomination from the Advertising Manager should be submitted on maximum of two pages and should include very specific, thoughtful reasons for nomination. Nomination forms should

be completely filled out with thoughtful, specific answers and must be sent to the Illinois Press Association by February 14, 2020. Criteria to be considered include measurable results of this person's efforts including year over year sales, number of accounts, special section sales, reduction in errors (credits), how this person impacted sales through presentations and specs and community / association / company involvement, etc. In addition to the nomination form, employee and/or advertiser feedback may be submitted with the nomination. You do not need to submit the nomination according to a specific circulation class; only daily (publishes at least four days per week) or weekly. All retail, display, classified, inside and outside sales representatives will be considered.


JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

ILLINOIS PRESSLINES

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AROUND THE STATE

Northwestern student newspaper sparks debate CHICAGO – Student editors at the newspaper covering Northwestern University faced two waves of criticism over their coverage of protests in response to an event featuring former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. First, student activists criticized them for publishing photos of protesters on the suburban Chicago campus. Within days, editors at The Daily Northwestern apologized, but their editorial prompted a second round of criticism from journalists around the country who said they shouldn't feel any guilt about using basic reporting strategies. In the editorial, posted online Nov. 10 and printed Nov. 11, editors said they shouldn't have tweeted photos of student protesters being blocked

by campus police as they tried to get inside the Sessions event the previous week. The photos were later deleted. Editors said they didn't want students to be punished by the school or harassed online. The eight editors who signed the editorial also acknowledged removing a protester's name from a story about the event at the person's request, and said they were sorry for using a student directory to text people who protested at the event and ask them for interviews. "While our goal is to document history and spread information, nothing is more important than ensuring that our fellow students feel safe, and in situations like this, that they are benefiting from our coverage rather than being actively harmed by it," the statement read. "We failed to do that last week, and we could not be more sorry."

Professional journalists criticized the students' take as wrongheaded, inexperienced and an ominous sign for the profession's future. Others suggested the students were right to consider the effects of interviewing and photographing protesters but communicated that goal poorly.

New Trier News celebrates 100-year history NEW TRIER – More than 80 current and former New Trier News reporters, editors and photographers spent the morning of Dec. 21 celebrating the student newspaper's 100year history at an alumni celebration. Features Editor Simren Dadwani, a junior from Northfield, shared the excitement of preparing for the big day.

"We've been busy pulling some of the top stories from each decade,” Dadwani said. “It's been really interesting to see what topics made the paper throughout the years." Dadwani and other current staffers further explained how today's hot topics such as vaping and school safety aren't that different from the concerns of yesteryear. "While vaping is certainly a popular topic today in our newspaper, smoking was just as hot of a topic in the past,” Dadwani said. Wilmette's Ron Pomerantz, Class of 1972, stopped by for a visit, showing off his old-school Nikon camera used during his time as a staff photographer. He entertained students with stories of how wax was used during the layout process – just slightly different from today's digital age.

LENS Continued from Page 9 subjects, and respecting them. “We never want to victimize the victims,” Naunheim said. “We want to be sensitive to how our presence would make a victim feel.” Both men took a second buyout offered by the Post-Dispatch, in September 2007. They’re both still working and own photography businesses, but both admit leaving journalism was hard. “You don’t miss the deadlines and stuff like that, but you miss doing the stories and hanging out with certain people,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes it’s time to move on.”

‘Get out of the dark room’ Some photographers romanticize the dark room, the process of developing photos. Mitchell and Naunheim spent many years helping each other edit their photos, and countless hours in the dark room. Mitchell does not miss that room. “You don’t miss the chemicals, you don’t miss the smell, you don’t miss any of that stuff,” he said. “The dark room was just one of the tools you’d use. The main thing in photography was capturing the events, and getting the pictures that would tell the story. You wanted to get out of the dark room. As a journalist you want to be out looking for more stories. You don’t want to be stuck in the dark room.” In addition to his photography, Mitchell teaches at

Blackburn College in Carlinville and at St. Louis Community College’s Merrimack campus. Next semester, he’ll be at the Forest Park campus. He marvels that Blackburn still has a dark room class – which he’s trying to get rid of. “Nobody’s going to go in a darkroom anymore for a job and do black and white printing,” he said. But the program is in the art department, he said, practically audibly shaking his head. “Sometimes in art departments, people like processes,” Mitchell said. He and Naunheim still get together for hours at a time to talk shop, and to talk life – before and after print journalism. Mitchell lives in O’Fallon with his wife, Linda, who has her own nonprofit, the Metro East Literacy Project. Their daughter, Aviva, 36, is a musician in Brooklyn who’s a member of the band Echo Bloom, and she also works with Brooklyn Children’s Choir. Odell “Mickey” Mitchell III, 34, lives in Chicago, where he has his own law practice. Mitchell’s greatest awards are in his family photo albums. Just the same, that Living Legend award stands apart from others. “It’s very humbling,” he said. “You’re not doing it for recognition. You’re doing it because you love what you do.”

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ILLINOIS PRESSLINES 

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

AROUND THE STATE

Tribune Publishing offers employee buyouts Republished from Chicago Tribune CHICAGO – Two months after hedge fund Alden Global Capital became the largest shareholder in Tribune Publishing, the Chicago-based newspaper chain announced a buyout program to reduce employee head count and expenses. Notice of the voluntary separation offer was sent to all Tribune Publishing employees Jan. 13, but only those employed for eight or more years are eligible. Details of the scope and terms of the buyout were not immediately disclosed, but participation is designed to “avoid turning to company-wide reductions of the workforce as a last resort,” Tribune Publishing CEO Tim Knight said in an email to employees. “While it is our desire to retain all of our talented employees, we must confront and plan for the significant

financial hurdles ahead,” Knight wrote. Knight did not immediately respond to an interview request. Alden, a secretive New York hedge fund with a reputation for dramatic cost-cutting across its growing media empire, took a 32 percent stake in Tribune Publishing in November. Two Alden representatives subsequently were added to the newspaper company’s board, expanding it to eight members. As part of that agreement, Alden is restricted from increasing its stake in the company to more than 33 percent until June 30. Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, is offering the voluntary separation as the industry struggles with secular revenue declines in the digital media age. While Tribune Publishing has achieved growth in its digital-only subscriptions, it contin-

ues to receive a “significant amount” of its revenue from its declining legacy print business, Knight said in the email to employees. “Since we remain committed to extending the life of those products and services and to serving our home delivery subscribers, we need to anticipate continued print revenue declines by reducing our expenses,” Knight wrote. Tribune Publishing had about 4,100 full-time employees at the end of 2019, according to the company. In addition to the Chicago Tribune, Tribune Publishing owns the Baltimore Sun; Hartford Courant; Orlando Sentinel; South Florida Sun Sentinel; the New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia; and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk,

Virginia. Launched in 2007, Alden owns about 200 publications through an operating company now known as MediaNews Group, formerly Digital First Media. The chain has come under fire for sweeping layoffs at its newspapers, including major dailies such as the Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, as well as smaller weeklies. The Chicago Tribune Guild, the union that represents newsroom employees at the Chicago Tribune and suburban publications, issued a statement Jan. 13 regarding the buyout offer. “We’re still learning about the buyout offer company executives announced this morning and gathering the information we need to help our members make good decisions,” the Guild said.

CEOs of new Gannett: Digital ‘pivot’ needed Republished from USA Today New Media Investment Group and Gannett finalized their merger Nov. 19, putting top executives in position to move ahead with plans they believe will transform the new company's local and national news brands, including USA TODAY, into a reinvented digital media powerhouse. GateHouse’s $1.1 billion takeover of USA Today publisher Gannett creates the largest U.S. media company by print circulation and one that will vie for the nation's biggest online news and information audience. The new company's CEOs – Mike Reed, who will lead the overall public entity under the name Gannett Co., and Paul Bascobert, who will lead an operating company called Gannett Media Corp. – told USA TODAY in a joint interview that they have a compelling opportunity to reinvent the business and expand digital revenue.

The company faces significant challenges – namely how to counteract the news industry's severe print revenue decline with new sources of digital dollars. The more than 250 daily publications that are part of the new Gannett – such as the Detroit Free Press, The Columbus Dispatch, The Arizona Republic and the Austin AmericanStatesman – and several hundred weekly publications have cultivated online brands in local markets. Now, Gannett needs to find ways to turn those connections into more revenue. Bascobert outlined a strategy based on lead generation in local markets – similar, he said, to the approach taken by home services site Angie's List and Yelp, a reviews and directory service. Need a plumber, for example? A Gannett publication could help you find one and then earn a fee for helping make that connection. "This is really us beginning this pivot toward

more of what I would call a software-based business model" rather than "an advertising-based business model," said Bascobert, who pursued a similar model while president of XO Group, owner of wedding planning site The Knot. His vision would represent a significant overhaul. In the first nine months of 2019, more than 51% of the combined company's revenue came from advertising and marketing services. But a wholesale reinvention is necessary because of "the collapse of the newspaper advertising model," which is "the most fundamental business problem facing local news," said Jim Friedlich, CEO of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit that promotes local journalism innovation and owns The Philadelphia Inquirer.

See GANNETT on Page 17


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AROUND THE STATE

Daily Herald awarded Report for America grant

Du Quoin Weekly and Pinckneyville Press merge

CHICAGO – The Daily Herald has been awarded a grant by Report for America to partially fund three journalists who will expand the newspaper's suburban news coverage. The grant will help pay for two reporters to beef up local news coverage in undercovered suburbs. A third reporter will focus on suburban state legislative campaigns in 2020 and local elections in the suburbs the following spring. Report for America, an initiative of The Ground Truth Project, was founded in 2017 following the model of Teach for America or AmeriCorps and has grown rapidly since then. The Daily Herald's Southern Illinois Local Media Group also was selected by Report for America for funding for a reporter to cover the town of Chester, south of St. Louis. Report for America pays half a reporter's salary for a year, with the possibility of a one-year extension. The nonprofit requires news organizations to fundraise to generate some of the remaining expense. Journalists seeking to join the program can apply through Jan. 31 at reportforamerica.org. Corps members will attend Report for America's intensive training in June before joining their newsrooms.

PINCKNEYVILLE – The Du Quoin Weekly and Pinckneyville Press will streamline their operations as a countywide publication. The move was spurred by mounting costs, including increased print and mailing costs along with the incremental increase to minimum wage, according to Pinckneyville Press Editor Jeff Egbert. He said more and more readers have been requesting news from both sides of Beaucoup Creek. All the readers who are subscribers to both publications will have their subscriptions extended to reflect the amount of their remaining paid subscriptions to both newspapers. Additionally, the combined circulation of the new Weekly-Press will now have four times the reach of the two papers individually, Egbert said.

Haase and his father, Walter Haase, Sr., had been at the helm of the Star-Times for 87 years. The Star-Times will continue publication under the guidance of new owners, John and Susan Galer of Hillsboro.

Alton Telegraph adds TV publication, drops 'What's On'

STAUNTON – Walter Haase, longtime publisher of the Staunton Star-Times, retired Jan. 1. Haase was publisher for 57 years and an employee of the Star-Times for 60 years.

ALTON – The Telegraph is partnering with NTVB Media Inc., a leading publisher of TV entertainment and listings magazines, to offer TV Weekly. The publication is the nation's leading magazine for television listings and will provide Telegraph subscribers comprehensive information about what's on television. A free trial issue was included in the first two Sunday editions of the Telegraph in January. The paper, in turn, stopped printing the weekly "What's On" section. TV Weekly is a subscription magazine offered to The Telegraph's readers and subscribers at a highly discounted rate off of the cover price. The publication features 48 pages of expanded content, including channel guides, puzzles (including crosswords and Sudoku), complete live sports listings, horoscopes, feature stories, a streaming guide and A-to-Z movie listings.

to Google, Facebook, other online giants or other service providers. "Building a new local marketplace business at scale requires a longterm commitment of expertise and financial resources," Friedlich said in an email. "None of this will be easy," he added, but if Gannett can generate sizable revenue from local marketers, "it will benefit not only their news properties but the industry as a whole.”

In the short term, though, the success of the merger is linked to the company's plan to shed $275 million to $300 million in overlapping costs on an annual basis within 18 to 24 months. That's crucial to paying off a $1.8 billion loan from private equity firm Apollo Global Management that New Media used to help finance the acquisition. Those cost savings will come from

Staunton Star-Times will be under new ownership

Prophetstown Echo moves to Morrison office MORRISON – The Prophetstown Echo, a weekly newspaper bought by Shaw Media last spring, moved into the company’s Morrison office at the turn of the year. Shaw Media also acquired four daily newspapers in the county in the spring. The weekly Whiteside County newspaper will continue to be published on the same schedule that has been in effect for decades.

Journal-Republican purchased MONTICELLO – The new owners of News-Gazette Media – Champaign Multimedia Group – became the new owners of The Piatt County Journal-Republican in November. CMG officials say the new ownership means a renewed commitment to the area's local, weekly newspapers. The company is now the owner of 46 newspapers, most of them weeklies. CMG is a subsidiary of the Illinois-based Community Media Group, a family-owned, privately held multimedia company which owns and operates daily and weekly newspapers, direct mail shoppers, and other print distribution products in six states.

GANNETT Continued from Page 16 The new Gannett, which offers digital marketing services through brands like ThriveHive, ReachLocal and WordStream, will need to continue down the path of becoming a sophisticated digital marketing provider, Friedlich said. When local businesses need help reaching potential customers, Gannett's representatives need to be able to help them. Otherwise, they'll go

a wide variety of areas, including corporate functions, news operations and what Reed called "centralized" services where there is significant duplication. He said the overall cost savings goal is "very, very reachable," in part because it's only 7.5% to 8.5% of the combined company's total revenue, compared with 10% to 15% in a typical corporate merger.


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Helfrich is news editor at Ogle County Newspapers OREGON – Ogle County Newspapers and Shaw Media have hired Jeff Helfrich as Ogle County news editor. Helfrich, a Rochelle native, graduated from Ohio State University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree of arts in journalism. His background includes experience at the RockJeff Helfrich ford Register Star and the Journal Standard of Freeport. Helfrich was born and raised in Rochelle. Along with his passion for local journalism, Helfrich's specialty is feature writing with much of his experience gained in sports writing.

Richardson joins the SJ-R as its new executive editor SPRINGFIELD – Leisa Richardson joined the the State Journal-Register as executive editor on Dec. 2. Richardson worked for the Indianapolis Star in several editing roles over the past 19 years, most recently as regional planning director, responsible for planning daily enterprise

news coverage. She also worked with editors to find innovative ways to produce and share content across the USA Today Network with an emphasis on high-impact content that Leisa Richardson matters to readers. Prior to the Star, she worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Commercial-News in Danville. As the SJ-R's executive editor, Richardson oversees all newsroom operations and leads the newspaper's award-winning editorial staff, which has been recognized by state and national associations for excellence in reporting and photography. Richardson is also the National Association of Black Journalists 2020 conference program chairwoman.

News Media Corporation announces promotions ROCHELLE – Longtime News Media Corporation Publisher John Shank has been named the company's new chief operating officer, and JJ Tompkins has been named chief revenue officer. Shank, who has spent his entire 31-year multimedia publishing career with NMC, is based in Rochelle and will oversee the company's entire oper-

ation, while continuing in a dual role as Illinois group publisher. He replaces Nickolas Monico, who recently left NMC to pursue other industry opportunities. Shank began his NMC John Shank career as a reporter and later served as editor of the Rochelle NewsLeader, which has been the company's flagship publication since 1975. From 1992 through 2009, he was the general manager of the Ogle County Life JJ Tompkins newspaper. In 2009, he was promoted to Illinois group publisher covering six locations in the state. Tompkins, who specializes in new revenue generation and promotions, will be leading efforts to develop both digital and print opportunities across all of the NMC operations. He began his multimedia publishing career in 2001 after graduating with a business and marketing management degree from the University of Arizona.

Hunt editor at Breese Journal BREESE – Bryan Hunt has joined the Breese Journal as its editor. Hunt spent 22 years at the Morning

Sentinel in Centralia, starting with the paper as a photographer and darkroom technician in July 1987 and transitioning into reporting. He most recently served as editor of the Carlyle Union Banner and covered Clinton County news for the Banner and the Sentinel while with Centralia Press Ltd.

Cheryl Wolfe retires from Woodford County Journal EUREKA – Woodford County Journal Editor Cheryl Wolfe retired Dec. 31, bringing her 39-year career at the weekly newspaper to a close. Wolfe's extensive portfolio of award-winning stories has contributed to her having one of the most recognized names in communities throughout Woodford County. Her news stories, features, editorials, and columns earned her numerous awards in multiple categories from the Illinois Press Association, National Newspaper Association, and the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association throughout her career. "I always enjoyed writing and I wrote my first 'book' in longhand, which was really just a long story, when I was 10 years old,” Wolfe said. “But I never expected to make a career out of it. I never expected to be able to say I've had an award-winning career either.”

AROUND THE STATE

Pantagraph, Herald & Review websites undergo a redesign BLOOMINGTON – The award-winning websites for The Pantagraph in Bloomington and Herald & Review in Decatur now have a redesigned, cleaner structure, featuring bigger headlines, bolder photos and a streamlined format that's easier to navigate with a click or swipe. There is more white space and a fresh look and feel throughout. On stories, related content is more prominent, as are slideshows, video and multi-

media. Content is easier to share and distribute on social media. The latest sports, entertainment, lifestyle and opinion content also is featured prominently.

Paddock's Town Square now nation's biggest Chamber guide publisher ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Paddock Publications-owned Town Square Publications has acquired Metro-Media Inc. of Fairway, Kansas, making Town Square the nation's largest publisher

of Chamber of Commerce guides. The deal closed the first week of January. Paddock also owns the Daily Herald. The acquisition broadens Town Square's Chamber relationships across the country, adding in particular to partnerships in states such as California and Texas. Unlike with past acquisitions by Town Square, MetroMedia will remain a standalone division of TownSquare. The staff of MetroMedia will be led by David Small, the former co-owner and a veteran of the Chamber publishing industry. He will remain based in Kansas.


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PRESS PEOPLE

Winterland to oversee Pantagraph paper group BLOOMINGTON – Barry Winterland, of Bloomington, has been named general manager of the Central Illinois Newspaper Group for Lee Enterprises, which includes The Pantagraph. The move is part of a restructuring of the organization, which also includes the HerBarry Winterland ald & Review in Decatur, Journal Gazette/ Times-Courier in Mattoon-Charleston and Woodford County Journal in Eureka. In addition, he will continue to serve as regional finance director of Lee properties in Twin Falls, Idaho; Elko, Nevada; and Carbondale. Publisher Michelle Pazar is no longer with the company. Winterland had been regional finance director of central Illinois since 2012. A Lexington native, he joined The Pantagraph in 1989 as business manager and has served in various capacities since that time. He holds his undergraduate degree and master of business administration degree from Illinois State University.

to drive through Rantoul when I'm in the area always starts with that optimistic smile and ends with a sad heart,” Werner said. “So much has changed.” Her mother used to write a column for the Rantoul Press called “Chirp

and Chatter,” but she found the archives didn’t go back far enough to find any of the columns. She then saw a request for a columnist. “My nostalgia kicked into overdrive, as I wondered if maybe I could follow in my mother's foot-

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New columnist starts writing with ties to Rantoul's past RANTOUL – A Rantoul native and Rantoul Township High School graduate who lives in Washington, D.C., is now writing a column for the Rantoul Press. J.A. Werner’s father was stationed at Chanute Air Force Base, and eventually her parents retired in Rantoul. She left the area in her 20s and moved to Washington, D.C., after visiting her friend and her husband (also from Rantoul). She’s been there ever since. Over the years, her visits to Rantoul have diminished, especially with the death of her parents. “The pull

steps,” she said. Appropriately, Werner’s column is called “Chirp & Chatter 2.0,” in which she’ll write about the community’s rich history. She is the self-published author of "The Cellomaker" series.

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JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

PRESS PEOPLE

Audience director named for Central Ill. Newspaper Group BLOOMINGTON – Josh Harmon has been named audience director for the Central Illinois Newspaper Group for Lee Enterprises, which includes The Pantagraph. Harmon has worked in the newspaper industry for 25 years, including 15 in Champaign with the News-Gazette. Most recently, he has been executive planning Josh Harmon director for a group of Gatehouse newspapers in Central Florida. Before that, he was regional audience development and operations director for River Valley Media Group in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, for Lee Enterprises. The Central Illinois group also includes the Herald & Review in Decatur, the Journal Gazette/ Times-Courier in Mattoon-Charleston and the Woodford County Journal in Eureka. General Manager Barry Winterland also announced that Kat Kat Cantrell Cantrell, who has been interim audience director, will be circulation operations manager for Central Illinois.

Newspaper editor releases debut novel, 'Tango Atlantica' MARIAN – Peter Spitler, editor of the Pinckneyville Press and Du Quoin Weekly, has written and published his first novel, “Tango Atlantica.” Spitler, of Murphysboro, is a familiar name to southern Illinois newspaper readers in Du Quoin, Randolph County and beyond, known for incisive local journalism covering everything from sports to history to courtroom drama. The book is a fictional take on

events leading up to the creation of "Project Skywater," a 1961 geoengineering project funded by the U.S. government that proved it is possible to make artificial changes in the atmosphere. With scientists on that project predicting the ability to "create" a hurricane in 40 years, Spitler's timeline of the book, the year 2005, makes it plausible. The actual writing took about 18 months and three full drafts.

Poet joins Carmi Chronicle staff as columnist, writer CARMI – Carmi-White County High School teacher Erin Pennington has joined the Carmi Chronicle as a regular columnist and writer. Pennington’s chapbook of poems, "Something to Say," was published in April 2019 by Finishing Line Press of Georgetown, Kentucky. Pennington was a part-time professor of English at Rend Lake College from 1996 to 1999. In 2000, Pennington and her daughter, Taylor Pennington-Jones, moved to Carmi for her initial position as 10th-grade English teacher. Pennington was also a weekly writer for The Carmi Times from 2012 until 2019.

“There are members of this newsroom who were not yet born when Les started here at The Southern. And, it's not just in our little newsroom. Everybody knows Les. And I do mean everybody.” English said Winkeler will continue writing his Outdoors content and will also continue writing a sports column. “At least we'll still have that,” English said.

New reporter joins The Vienna Times and Goreville Gazette 2nd retirement for veteran GOREVILLE – The Vienna Times and Goreville Gazette started off the Pana News-Paladium reporter new year with a new full-time staff reporter. Jordan McBride came to the staff from Shawnee Development Council, where he served as a program manager for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and Trade Adjustment Assistance programs. McBride received a Presidential/ Chancellor Scholarship from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2011. He completed his studies in journalism and technical writing in 2015. McBride is active on the Southern Illinois music scene as a writer and performer.

Longtime Southern Illinoisan Litwiller adds responsibilities Sports Editor Winkeler retires at Hearst newspaper group CARBONDALE – After nearly 31 years at The Southern Illinoisan, Les Winkeler has retired. Winkeler spent about the past 15 years as sports editor. When he was not covering high school or SIU sporting events, he could be found in nature, working on pieces for the Les Winkeler paper’s Outdoors page. Executive Editor Tom English calls Winkeler the “office dad.” “He's the one a lot of us look up to,” English said.

implement digital best practices. For six months she led a team of seven journalists in a national investigation of sexual abuse connected to Boys & Girls Clubs over decades. Before working for Hearst, she spent nearly two decades as a photographer, writer, editor and community engagement editor in small community newspapers, covering three counties with a staff of three. She also was a morning show co-host and news anchor for a top 40 radio station.

ALTON – Lisa Yanick Litwiller has been named director of audience for Hearst Community Newspapers, including The Telegraph in Alton, The Intelligencer in Edwardsville, and several newspapers in Illinois, Michigan and Texas. In her new position, Litwiller will develop and execute an audience strategy for the community newspapers working with digital producers, editors and writers on innovative, new ways of storytelling. For the past year, Litwiller has helped Hearst Connecticut Media newsrooms engage audiences and

PANA – Anticipating her retirement on her 80th birthday in September, co-workers at the Pana News-Palladium told veteran reporter Millie Meyerholz that she would need to download her brain to a hard drive. Though she did stay a few weeks past her birthday, Meyerholz retired, for the second time, after 53 years in the news business with the PN-P, on Oct. 29. She continues to be a correspondent for the paper. When asked what she would miss most about being in the newsroom, Meyerholz did not hesitate. "My fellow workers and the people who come in,” she said. “Even the people in the courthouses – judges, state's attorneys, and staff. It's like an incredible number friends." Meyerholz is an award-winning journalist, receiving accolades from the Illinois Press Association for feature stories written through the years. She’s been co-recipient of Volunteer of the Month from Peoples Bank & Trust of Pana, and Best Demonstrators at Pana Chautauqua Days, involving Pana Pioneer Heritage Guild activities. Though she began as a news correspondent, she has worn many hats and carried several titles at the PN¬P, including photojournalist and senior reporter, the title with which she retired this time, and which was bestowed long before her first retirement ¬ officially in February 2005.


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OBITS

Jim Kirby PALOS HEIGHTS – Jim Kirby, a former outdoors columnist for The Regional News in Palos Heights and other newspapers over the years, passed away Nov. 15, 2019, at his home in Palos Park. He was 92. He retired from column writing in 2018. Jim was an Army veteran of World War II and served in the Air Corps. He worked as an industrial designer in addition to his job writing about hunting and fishing. He was a member of Palos Memorial American Legion Post 1993, Palos Gun Club, Green Acres Sportsman Club and was a founding member of Palos Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. Jim was the beloved husband of the late Mary C. (nee Speese); devoted father of Meg (Tom) Noone and Kim Kirby; loving grandfather of Shannon Aardema, Heather Yandel, Kelli Molck, Kerbi Seabolt; and great-grandfather of eight. He was a special friend of Lenora Nape.

Marvin I. Weinstein MORTON GROVE – Marvin I. Weinstein, who spent much of his life traveling the world, embarked on his final journey Nov. 12, 2019. He was 82. Mr. Weinstein, a resident of Morton Grove, was born in Chicago on June 20, 1937, to Abe Weinstein and Eleanor Szymanski. Marvin I. Weinstein He graduated from Mendel High School and attended DePaul and Northwestern universities. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1958 to 1962. Mr. Weinstein worked at the Chicago Sun-Times for 38 years, as a sports writer and copy editor, and later as a features writer and copy editor. He visited more than 80 countries, and wrote frequently for the Sun-Times Travel section. He liked adventurous travel involving hiking, trekking and bicycling. He

trekked through places as diverse as India (which he visited five times), Tuscany, the Andes and Nepal, and biked through Bavaria and Oregon. Mr. Weinstein is survived by his wife, Virginia Van Vynckt; children, Lian Weinstein and Daniel Weinstein; nephew, Steven (Amber) Ploense; two great-nieces, Emily and Elise Ploense, and honorary daughter, Kathy (Mark) Jensen. He was preceded in death by his mother, Eleanor Weinstein.

Joseph Aaron CHICAGO – Joseph Aaron, the longtime publisher and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Jewish News, for which he also wrote a weekly column, died Nov. 16, 2019. "He loved that (the newspaper) gave him the forum to tell it like it is," said his brother, Maury. "He said whatJoseph Aaron ever was on his mind, regardless of whether or not it was controversial and regardless of whether it was a family friend. He said what he believed and he did not hold back." Aaron, 64, died of a suspected heart attack outside a restaurant in Jerusalem, his brother said. He lived in Jerusalem while also maintaining a home in the West Rogers Park neighborhood, his brother said. Born in Chicago, Aaron grew up in West Rogers Park and graduated from Hebrew Theological College in Skokie. He earned a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 1978. Aaron began his career as a reporter for Lerner Newspapers and later was the editor of JUF News, the monthly magazine of the Jewish United Fund. In late 1994, Aaron left the Jewish United Fund to start the Chicago Jewish News, which today has a circulation of about 40,000. Denise Plessas Kus, the newspaper's production manager, said Aar-

on's weekly columns "showed that he was proud of his Jewish community and every once in a while saddened when it didn't live up to what he thought they could be." "Over the many years, I regret not clipping Joe's editorial columns that made me cry, made me laugh and made me think, for it was these columns that I wish the world could read," she said. "There was so much clarity and compassion. He looked for the good in people." One theme Aaron often explored was the positives for Jewish people in the U.S. today, compared with how Jews have been treated at other times in history, said Rabbi Meir Shimon Moscowitz, regional director of the Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois. Moscowitz is the son of Aaron's longtime friend, Rabbi Danny Moscowitz, who died in 2014. "He didn't like people who always found the negative in others," Moscowitz said. "He liked people who found the positive in others. And he kept going at it for years and years, which is not easy. And he wasn't afraid to say what he thought. He was very open and direct." On a lighter note, Kus recalled Aaron's frequent mentions in his column of his fear of dogs. Despite that, "he always asked about my dog and even welcomed her to the office a few times," Kus said, "as he shut his office door." Aaron recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of Chicago Jewish News. Aaron is survived by another brother, Fred; and two sisters, Susie Alter and Sharon Aaron.

Benjamin Tuttle CENTRALIA – Benjamin Tuttle, longtime carrier of the Centralia Sentinel, died at his residence Dec. 1, 2019. Tuttle had delivered newspapers for the Sentinel for 47 years. Sentinel Circulation Director David Hatcher said he had known Tuttle for 14 years.

"Ben was a very good carrier," Hatcher said. "He never got any complaints from his customers. When you did hear from a customer (about him), it was nothing but nice." He served as a carrier until 2018. Born April 10, 1964, in Nashville, Illinois, Tuttle began delivering for the Morning Sentinel when he was a young boy. Tuttle also delivered the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for many years and worked at Nashville Lawn and Garden, and Yachts to Sea for many years. He later owned and operated The Wash Bay in Nashville. A 4th Degree Knight, Tuttle served as treasurer for the Knights of Columbus Council 4384. He was also a member of the St. Ann Catholic Church. Mt. Vernon Sentinel News Editor Ray Albert worked with Tuttle for five years when Albert was circulation director from 2013 to 2017. "He was one of the best, if not the best carriers we had while I was circulation director," Albert said. "His customers loved him, he was very reliable, he delivered his papers every day on time, and we got very, very few complaints, if any, on Ben." Albert said Tuttle was someone who other carriers could look up to due to his great work ethic. "For him to deliver the Sentinel for over 40 years is really mind-boggling," Albert said. "He probably was one of, if not the longest tenured carriers the Sentinel has ever had. He started delivering papers as a boy and just kept with it. He'll be missed. He was a great guy." Tuttle is survived by his wife, Michelle, whom he married Aug. 30, 1990. In addition to his wife, Tuttle is survived by his two daughters, Jennifer and husband Shane, and Rebecca and special friend Cody; one granddaughter, Alana; two brothers, Joseph and wife Deb and Patrick; two sisters, Kathleen and Barbara; father-in-law and mother-in-law Marlyn and Margaret; and various nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.


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Luis Rossi CHICAGO – Luis Rossi, a Uruguayan immigrant pivotal in Chicago's renowned Spanish entertainment and media landscape, has died. He was 71. Rossi died Jan. 2, 2020, from pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Alma Rossi. He spent Christmas at home surrounded by family and Luis Rossi friends. "We celebrated his birthday on Christmas Eve, and then we had family over for Christmas," said Alma Rossi. "His last days were calm. He went quickly. He didn't suffer much." Rossi was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014, she said. He was in remission after initial treatments, but his condition worsened about two years ago, and he had been receiving chemotherapy. Rossi's death was first reported by his former newspaper, La Raza. Mr. Rossi bought La Raza in 1983 and sold it in 2003. In those 20 years, he transformed the small weekly into one of the most important Spanish media outlets in Chicago and across the Midwest. In the late 1980s, Mr. Rossi met Ivan Fernandez, a Cuban entertainment impresario who became part-owner of the Aragon Ballroom in Uptown in 1994. Rossi would promote Fernandez's events at the Aragon across Spanish media outlets and together they transformed the theater into a staple tour stop for some of Latin America's biggest acts. Rossi bought an ownership stake in the Aragon in the early 2000s, Fernandez said. And in 2014, venue operator Live Nation also became part-owner of the 93-year-old theater, which changed its name to Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom in August. Rossi "was always a serious person, a pleasure to work with," Fernandez said. "His death is a loss for our

industry and for the community at large. I think he's someone that's going to be missed for a long time." Rossi is survived by his wife and his adopted son, Bryan Rossi.

Franz Schulze LINCOLNSHIRE – Franz Schulze, a prolific Chicago art critic and educator who chronicled the lives and work of two of the 20th century's most consequential architects, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, died Dec. 9, 2019, at the Radford Green assisted living facility in north Franz Schulze suburban Lincolnshire. Schulze, who previously lived in Lake Forest, was 92. The cause of death was complications due to infections, according to his sons Matthew and Luke. In addition to his work on Mies and Johnson, Schulze was highly regarded for his book on the Imagist artists who dominated Chicago's art scene after World War II. As a freelance art critic for the Chicago Daily News and Chicago SunTimes from the 1960s to the 1980s –and as a contributor to the nationally circulated magazines ARTNews and Art in America – Schulze reached a broad audience. He also shaped the views of hundreds of students as a professor of art at Lake Forest College, where he began teaching in 1952. Officially retired in 1991, he continued to teach as an emeritus professor. In recent years, alumni of the school endowed a scholarship in his honor. "His writing and thinking was, at its best, sparkling," said Edward Windhorst, who co-authored a revised edition of Schulze's Mies biography that was published in 2012. "He really dazzled you with his skill at observation and his love of language and the use of it to convey what he thought." Tall, mustachioed and dapper, with a penetrating voice that added weight

to his observations, Schulze cut a distinctive figure. "He told me many times he loved strutting on the stage of the lecture hall," Windhorst said. Schulze was born in 1927 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, about 45 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. His family moved to downstate Pekin, then in 1942 to Chicago's North Side, near Wrigley Field. A year later, Schulze entered the University of Chicago at age 16. The degrees that followed – a bachelor of philosophy from the University of Chicago (1945), and a bachelor and master of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1949 and 1950) – laid the foundation for Schulze's career as an artist, art historian and art critic. His 1972 book "Fantastic Images: Chicago Art since 1945," examined the work of Chicago artists like Leon Golub, whose paintings conveyed emotional intensity through grotesque representations of the human figure. In a nod to this tendency, the artists, who departed from the abstract expressionism that then prevailed in New York, were dubbed the "Monster Roster." Schulze wrote that their work should be recognized as "an activity of some essential and serious existential import" even though it was "anti-rational to the point of perversity" - and, thus, a sharp departure from Chicago's tradition of logic, clarity and reason in modern art and architecture. In 1985, Schulze grappled with the legacy of the architect who personified that tradition - the German-born emigre Mies van der Rohe, whose credits included such masterworks as New York's Seagram Building and Chicago's 860880 Lake Shore Drive high-rises. Appearing 16 years after Mies' death and at a time when postmodern architects were assaulting Mies' approach to architecture, Schulze's "Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography" etched a sharply defined portrait of Mies, the man, and Mies, the architect. Tribune architecture critic Paul Gapp called it "the most comprehensive book ever

written about the master designer and, by any measure, the best. … Mies is drawn as the immensely talented giant he was, but also as a man of excesses, selfishness and the kind of single-mindedness that seems always to be freighted with arrogance." Mies' grandson, Chicago architect Dirk Lohan, credited the author with meticulous research and the ability to put Mies into the context of early 20th century Europe and its other leading modernists, like the Swissborn Le Corbusier. "He knew some things that I didn't even know," Lohan said. Schulze's 1994 biography, "Philip Johnson: Life and Work," charted the ever-shifting aesthetic preferences of its subject, who did much to popularize modernist architecture with the landmark "International Style" show of 1932, then championed a revolt against it in the 1970s. Schulze also was the first biographer to recount in detail Johnson's nearly decade-long foray into right-wing politics, including his fascination with Nazi spectacle. "It is much to Franz Schulze's credit that he does not duck this great unpleasantness – the persistently ugly yin to the celebrated yang of Johnson's reputation," author Ross Miller wrote in a Tribune review of the book. Johnson, who died in 2005, reportedly disliked the book, leading to a rift between author and subject. "Philip Johnson does not remember me in his prayers," Schulze once told the Tribune. Schulze wrote or edited more than 10 books, including a guide to Mies' Farnsworth House, a history of Lake Forest College titled "Thirty Miles North" and "Chicago's Famous Buildings," a guide to landmark structures that he co-authored with Illinois Institute of Technology professor Kevin Harrington. Besides his two sons, he is survived by two grandchildren. Marriages to Marianne Gaw Schulze and Stephanie Mora ended in divorce. His companion of 25 years, Manya Schaff, died in 2015.


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Ward Just WAUKEGAN – Ward Just, an acclaimed journalist and author with roots in Waukegan, died Dec. 19, 2019, at age 84. Just leaves behind a journalistic legacy that began in his early 20s when he was a reporter for his family's newspaper, the Waukegan News-Sun, from 1957 to Ward Just 1959. Just was briefly a student at Lake Forest Academy before transferring to Cranbrook Boarding School in Michigan, according to the "International Who's Who Authors and Writers" publication. He then went on to start his reporting career in Waukegan. Just's interest in writing didn't come from only his father, Franklin Ward Just, and his grandfather, William L. Just, who owned the Waukegan News-Sun. In 2006, Just told the Chicago Tribune that his mother, Elizabeth Swift Just, also helped him cultivate that love. "One of my earliest memories was when I was 16 or 17, I think, she gave me a volume of the collected short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald," Just said. "She admired greatly his work. I was a little bit young for a volume like that, but I have to tell you I devoured it." In an obituary in the Washington Post, Just was quoted as saying he struggled to make friends as a boy and threw himself into books and, eventually, journalism. According to the Washington Post, "An early stint at his family's newspaper, the Waukegan News-Sun, ended when he was fired for wearing shorts in the office." Stories from friends told to the Vineyard Gazette, a newspaper on the island of Martha's Vineyard, where Just lived, recount how Just came up with stories for his fictional works, which came after he ended his journalism career. In an interview with NPR's Scott Simon, Just said his novel "An Unfin-

ished Season" was somewhat autobiographical. It tells the story of a young copy boy working for a tabloid newspaper in 1950s suburban Chicago. Just's wife, Sarah Catchpole, told The Associated Press that he died Dec. 19 at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He had been suffering from Lewy body dementia. A native of Michigan City, Indiana, Just had covered overseas conflicts for Newsweek before becoming one of the first hires by Washington Post Managing Editor Ben Bradlee, who started his job in 1965. Assigned to cover the Vietnam War, Just wrote hundreds of stories and survived wounds sustained from a grenade thrown during an attack by the North Vietnamese. He returned to the United States in 1967, and the following year covered the presidential election won by Richard Nixon and published a book that openly questioned the war, "To What End? Report from Vietnam." Over the next 50 years, Just was a prolific author of politically and socially conscious fiction. His influences including Hemingway and Henry James, "Echo House" was a National Book Award finalist in 1997, and "An Unfinished Season" was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005. His other novels included "The American Ambassador," "A Dangerous Friend" and "Exiles in the Garden."

Robert Cooper CHICAGO – In more than 25 years with the Chicago Reader, Bob Cooper worked as the production manager for the alternative weekly newspaper, guiding the transition from artfully fitted together waxed strips of text to the computer age. Dave Jones, who was Robert Cooper production director, said he and Cooper worked closely together for years. Both enjoyed being part of a diverse

staff and part of the free alternative's efforts to tell long-form literary-style stories outside mainstream media. "We really had a sense of mission there in the heydays of the alternative press," Jones said. "Putting out some stories that other papers wouldn't touch. It felt kind of missionary in that respect." Cooper fit in well. "He was a very countercultural guy," Jones said, "[but] solid as a rock, extremely dependable." Cooper, 68, died Dec. 21, 2019, in Astoria Place in Chicago after a long battle with Parkinson's disease, according to his wife, Sandra Goplin. The two, who lived in the Avondale neighborhood, were together since 1985 and married in 2001. Cooper grew up in Wildwood, an unincorporated area in Lake County, and attended Warren Township High School in Gurnee. His interest in the arts was kindled in high school, according to his brother, Wayne. "Once he got to high school, he started drawing and making art and playing music," his brother said. He also became involved in school plays. His interest and performances in plays and musicals continued as he began studies at Northwestern University. He eventually transferred to Illinois College in Jacksonville, where he got a bachelor of arts degree. Cooper joined the Reader in early 1977, and with a break in the mid1980s, continued there until he retired about 2006, his wife said. He was a master at manipulating those long one-column wide strips of copy called galleys. "It was all very old-school until about 1982 or 1983, when we started shifting into computer stuff," Jones said. Anne Marie Harm, who started in late 1986 as a production assistant under Cooper, said when she was a new - and slightly scared - production assistant, she learned how little she knew of the skills known in those days as keylining and paste-up. "What stood out, Cooper was always a safe harbor," she said. "Always

peaceful, always calm, always positive and pleasant. I could really trust him, go to him no matter what." Jones said that peaceful approach gave the man he called "Coops" time and energy for pursuits outside the office that included music – he was a guitarist in several bands – and writing, both science fiction and children's stories. Few if any of those stories ever found a publisher, but one of his children's stories became a book collaboration with an illustrator. "He was very happy when he went to a local bookstore and it was there on the shelf," Wayne Cooper said. Cooper’s wife and his brother are his only direct survivors. Another brother, Randy, died in 2016.

Harrison Church LEBANON – Harrison Leon Church, former and longtime editor and publisher of the Lebanon Advertiser newspaper, died Nov. 8, 2019, at age 78. Harrison was involved in a number of avocations throughout his life. He was especially interested in amateur radio and the Boy Harrison Church Scouts, in which he held the rank of Eagle Scout. He was widely published in a number of periodicals, a licensed lawyer, and lifetime journalist who returned to Lebanon from North Dakota in the mid-1970s to publish and edit the family newspaper, The Advertiser. He was known throughout his 40 years as the local publisher as an outspoken skeptic of the government, and a man of principled opinion. He is preceded by his parents, Leon Harry and Helen Church, nee Saegesser, his parents-in-law, Arthur and Dorris Feddersen, aunts, and uncles, other relatives and friends. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Harriet Lois Church, nee Feddersen; they were married Oct. 27, 1988, in Lebanon.


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JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020

Profile for Illinois Press Association

JANUARY/FEBRUARY PRESSLINES  

The January-February 2020 edition of PressLines.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY PRESSLINES  

The January-February 2020 edition of PressLines.

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