THE END OF 2020 SAW SOME LONGTIME JOURNALISTS LEAVE THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY: MARK BALDWIN, DAVE REYNOLDS, SANFORD SCHMIDT AND BERNARD SCHOENBURG. n STORIES INSIDE n
Maintaining legal status in challenging times
020 was a year that none of us wants to revisit. The pandemic has forced many of our members to make tough decisions given the revenue declines. Illinois Press Association legal counsel Don Craven and I have had many conversations with members about how to maintain status as a legal newspaper given the challenges of not only revenue declines but also what happens when COVID-19 hits and leaves nobody to “put out” the paper. Statute requires that newspapers publish 50 of 52 weeks annually, and that has been difficult for some during the pandemic. The statute does have an “Act of God” clause that gives latitude to the frequency requirement, but it’s written in the context of natural disasters or labor disputes. Using the pandemic as reasoning has never been tested and consequently we can’t give members definitive advice. But there’s no doubt that the current health crisis has had an impact just like the reasons mentioned in the statute. The statute does, however, give the latitude of dropping page count to a minimum of 4 pages per edition, provided that each page is no less than 100 square inches of printed matter (as opposed to a page that is 10x10 in size). Additionally, the pandemic has accelerated newspaper mergers and consolidations. Careful consideration should be given to any merger or consolidation of titles. Most importantly is to understand that it will impact your ability to
maintain legal status as the primary publication in a community (county/city/ township) if you vacate or merge that title. Each newspaper can have only one point of publication. So, careful consideration should be given when developing your plans. Illinois requires that newspapers that merge either SAM FISHER into an existing title or into a newly created title include President & CEO successor language, which simply means that the new publication is a successor to the one that was merged. We advise newspapers that are planning to merge or consolidate titles make sure that they note either in the banner or masthead (publisher’s info box) that this publication is a successor to the merged or consolidated title(s). This should be done with the first issue, and we advise that you continue to run the successor language for at least 3 months. We also urge you to publish a story that clearly indicates what you are doing. The Legislature wants every effort made to inform readers about publications changes. As always, if you have any questions or need help don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 815-8782545 or Don at 217-544-1777, hopefully before final decisions are made and implemented.
OFFICERS Don Bricker | Chair Shaw Media, Crystal Lake 900 Community Drive Springfield, IL 62703 Ph. 217-241-1300 Fax 217-241-1301 www.illinoispress.org
Sue Walker | Vice-Chair Herald Newspapers, Inc., Chicago
The IPA contest is open, but the deadline is approaching! The IPA Excellence in News and Advertising contests are open! Register here with association code IPA2020. Editorial Rules, Advertising Rules and Instructions can be found here. The contest is open to Illinois Press Association dues-paying members. Winners (including placements) will be announced via email after judging is complete, excluding general excellence and sweepstakes. General excellence and sweepstakes winners will be announced during the IPA/IPF Virtual Convention in early May. (Check out Pages 10-11 for information about Editor/Reporter Awards and Advertising Sales Awards.) The contest will remain open through Jan. 29, 2021, at 5 p.m. All entries must have been published within the calendar year Jan. 1, 2020 – Dec. 31, 2020. Please call 217-241-1300 with any questions.
DIRECTORS Stefanie Anderson Paddock Publications Inc./ Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group David Bauer Hearst Newspapers, Jacksonville
Ginger Lamb Law Bulletin Media, Chicago Jim Slonoff The Hinsdalean, Hinsdale
Dorothy Leavell | Treasurer Crusader Group, Chicago
Durrell Garth Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group
Ron Wallace Quincy Herald-Whig
Scott Stone | Immediate Past Chair Daily Herald Media Group, Arlington Heights
Margaret Holt Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago
Nykia Wright Chicago Sun-Times
IPA STAFF | PHONE 217-241-1300 Sam Fisher, President & CEO Ext. 222 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandy Pistole, Director of Revenue Ext. 238 - email@example.com
Ron Kline, Technology & Online Coordinator Ext. 239 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Spoonmore, Chief Financial Officer Ext. 237 - email@example.com
Cindy Bedolli, Member Relations Ext. 226 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Rogers, Director of Foundation Ext. 286 – email@example.com
ILLINOIS PRESSLINES is published bimonthly for $30 per year for Illinois Press Association members by the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703. Jeff Rogers, Editor © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Volume 27 January/February 2021 Number 1 Date of Issue: 1/26/2021
Mike Kramer remembered for his dedication President of Law Bulletin Media, recipient of IPA’s Distinguished Service Award died Dec. 7 By MARC KARLINSKY and JOHN McNALLY Law Bulletin Media Mike Kramer, the president of Law Bulletin Media, died Monday, Dec. 7, at home surrounded by his family after a battle with T-cell lymphoma. Kramer, 69, spent his life in the news publishing business and joined the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in 1997, rising to publisher of the newspaper in 2007 and as company president in 2015. Beyond work at his own company, Kramer filled his time serving in the communities his publications covered. He chaired the government affairs committee for the Illinois Press Association, receiving the IPA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019. Earlier in his career, as owner of the Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Kramer served as president of the Edina Morningside Rotary Club and chaired a referendum group for his local school district. Kramer was born in downstate Danville and raised in Gibson City. At Monmouth College in western Illinois, he met Ann Doherty, his wife for the past 46 years. Don Craven, an attorney in Springfield who serves as legal counsel for the Illinois Press Association, worked with Kramer on many legal and legislative issues throughout their careers. He says Kramer’s generosity and kindness was rooted in life and work. “He never forgot where he came from,” he said. “He was a Gibson City kid. He reflected those values throughout everything he did.” The Kramer name was long associated with newspapers in central Illinois. Mike’s grandfather operated papers in Warsaw and Dallas City, and Mike’s father and uncle expanded the family empire to include the Gibson City Courier, the Piatt County Journal-Republican and eight other smaller weekly papers. Fresh out of college, Mike started as a reporter for the Journal-Republican. He moved to Minnesota, where he was hired to manage the Minnesota Newspaper Association. In 1985, Kramer launched the Minnesota Real Estate Journal, then spent the next decade starting similar publications in San Francisco and Los
Law Bulletin Media President Mike Kramer died Monday, Dec. 7, after battling with T-cell lymphoma. Kramer is remembered by colleagues and industry partners as a greater communicator and leader. (Law Bulletin Media file photo)
IPA creates Michael Kramer Legislative Award The Michael Kramer Legislative Award has been established by the Illinois Press Association Board of Directors in honor of Mike Kramer, president of Law Bulletin Media who passed away in December. Mike spent his career advancing public policy critical to the newspapers of Illinois. This annual award will recognize individuals or organizations whose legislative efforts have ensured access to an open and transparent government, which is so fundamental to our industry and democracy. Mike spent his life in the news publishing business and joined the Law Bulletin in 1997, rising to publisher of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer magazine Angeles. Mike Szeliga, a sales manager with Law Bulletin Media, began working for Kramer in 1992 at the Minnesota Real Estate Journal. Szeliga always was impressed with Kramer’s willingness to trust the young people who worked for him. “He promoted a lot of young people in their
in 2007 and as company president in 2015. Beyond work at his own company, Kramer filled his time serving in the communities his publications covered. He chaired the government affairs committee for the Illinois Press Association, receiving the IPA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019. The award will be presented annually during the IPA convention. Nominations will be open in February. The Government Relations Committee which Mike led for many years will recommend a recipient to the IPA Board for approval. careers and challenged them,” Szeliga said. “Mike was all about giving people a chance.” The Kramer family has deep ties to the Macfarlands, the fourth-generation owners of Law Bulletin Media.
See KRAMER on Page 4
How does a newspaper respond to requests to ‘expunge’ their websites and archives? F
rom our friends at Capitol News Illinois: Gov. JB Pritzker issued 9,219 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions on Thursday, New Year’s Eve, while announcing the Illinois State Police had expunged all eligible records at the state level for marijuana related arrests. Since the passage of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act in 2019, Pritzker has issued pardons in 20,236 marijuana cases. Pritzker previously issued 11,017 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions on New Year’s Eve 2019. This news is sure to be followed by many requests to newspapers to delete stories from archives and websites, to allow folks to clean up Google searches. Newspapers routinely get requests, often along these lines: “I was arrested for possession of marijuana, in a very small amount, more than 5 years ago. I paid a small fine. Now that history is causing me grief in my search for a new job. Prospective employers ‘Google’ my name, and the first thing
on the list is your story about my arrest/conviction. Can’t you help me move on with my life?” When those requests come to me, I provide the following advice. The answer in most if not all instances is “No.” Only if there was an error in the story should you consider this option. The story published by DON CRAVEN the newspaper fairly and IPA Legal Counsel accurately reflected what happened at that point in time in the community. The newspaper did its job — it accurately recorded the events as they occurred. It is our role to tell, and archive, the history of our communities. It is not our role to rewrite or erase history. I suggest that newspapers respond to these requests with a simple question: Please inform us if there are any factual inaccuracies in the story
that appears on the website. The answer is most often that there are no inaccuracies. At times, the story could be updated — a conviction could be overturned on appeal, or a charge for which a person was arrested could be amended or dropped altogether. If there are potential edits or corrections, certainly the newspaper can make that an option. Obviously, that defeats the requester’s purpose, because it will simply add to the list of bad things on Google. That should not dissuade you from making the offer to either correct any error that was made, or to update a story that should legitimately be updated. There are law firms and other online firms that claim to specialize in assisting people in cleaning up their online profiles. Methods differ, from polite requests, to rather constant cajoling, to outright threats of litigation. If you find yourself in such a situation and need assistance, please call the IPA, sooner rather than later.
Bulletin and we became associates, which was the start of a closer working relationship and the beginning of becoming best of friends,” he said. Kramer stepped into the role of publisher for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer magazine in 2007. Under Kramer’s guidance, CDLB won the Illinois Press Association’s annual General Excellence award in 2014. In 2015, Kramer was named president of Law Bulletin Media. “Much of Mike’s success and leadership came from his integrity coupled with his many years of publishing experience,” Macfarland said. “Mike was a caring individual and always made time for anyone who wanted it. He was a wonderful leader who had an open-door policy. You could approach him with personal or business issues and would
never make you feel like you are imposing on him.” Kramer worked closely with Sam Fisher, the IPA’s president and CEO. Fisher will remember Kramer as one of the industry’s best communicators and leaders. “Mike was everything that newspapers are supposed be. He embodied everything and understood the value of what we do,” Fisher said. “He believed in the value of building relationships — with your readers and community. (He did that better) more than anyone else I know.” Kramer is survived by his wife, Ann; his daughter, Megan; his son, Andrew; grandchildren Emma, Jackson, Sadie and Natalie; his brother, Mark; his sister, Lisa; and the family dog, Piper. A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Village Church of Gurnee, and the family will conduct a private burial in Gibson City.
KRAMER Continued from Page 3 In the early 1990s, Kramer partnered with Sandy Macfarland — now the CEO of Law Bulletin — to form the Real Estate Information Network, an association of commercial real estate publications. When the Minneapolis market waned, Kramer approached the Macfarlands to propose a new arrangement: The Law Bulletin would take ownership of the Minnesota publication and use it as a model for other state publications. The deal was signed in 1997, placing Kramer in charge of the company’s real estate publications. He was promoted to vice president at Law Bulletin in 2002. Sandy Macfarland met Kramer 35 years ago and quickly became a friend. “After running our own businesses for many years, Mike decided to sell his Real Estate Publishing business in Minnesota to the Law
Chairman's gavel 'passed' on Illinois Press Association Board
Don Bricker (right), chief operating officer of Shaw Media, became chairman of the Illinois Press Association Board when the gavel was passed from Scott Stone (left), who concluded his term as the board's leader during its virtual meeting Dec. 2. Stone is president and chief operating officer of Daily Herald Media Group. He remains on the IPA Board as past chairman.
Martin, Mcfarland end terms on IPA Board
The Illinois Press Association Board also on Dec. 2 honored outgoing members Wendy Martin (left) and Sandy Macfarland (ight), whose terms have ended. Martin is editor of the Mason County Democrat in Havana and the Fulton Democrat in Lewiston. Macfarland is chief executive officer of Law Bulletin Media in Chicago. In addition to Don Bricker becoming chairman of the IPA Board in 2021, officers approved during the virtual meeting were Sue Walker as vice chairman and Dorothy Leavell as treasurer. Walker is vice president and general manager of Herald Newspapers Inc. in Chicago. Leavell is publisher and editor of the Crusader Group in Chicago.
Reppert, others re-elected as officers of IPF Board
SPRINGFIELD â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The Illinois Press Foundation Board of Directors re-elected its officers for 2021 during a virtual meeting Dec. 3. Jerry Reppert, publisher of The Gazette-Democrat in Anna, remains president of the IPF Board. Also elected to another leadership term on the board were Vice President Jim Slonoff, who is co-owner and publisher of The Hinsdalean in Hinsdale; Treasurer Nathan Jones, a retired newspaperman who lives in Girard; and Secretary Charlie Wheeler, retired director of the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Ginger Lamb joins board of Illinois Press Association SPRINGFIELD – Don Bricker, chairman of the Illinois Press Association Board of Directors, is pleased to announce Ginger Lamb has joined the IPA Board. Lamb is the vice president and publisher of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer. She joined Law Bulletin Media in May 2016 from the Arizona Capitol Times, an award-winning nonpartisan news and information service for lobbyists, and public affairs and business professionals in Phoenix, where she served as vice president and publisher. Before that, she served as vice president and publisher of The Daily Record in Kansas City, Missouri, and as editorial director of The Daily Record in Rochester, New York. She is a past president of the Arizona Newspapers Association and served as its legislative committee chair. She is also a past president and board member of the American Court and Commercial Newspaper Association.
Lamb serves as a board member and secretary for the Public Notice Resource Center. Lamb chairs the IPA’s Government Relations Committee. “Ginger’s experience Ginger Lamb and knowledge of the business will add greatly to the board,” said Sam Fisher, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association. “Her leadership on the Government Relations Committee has been outstanding, and I’m excited to have her on the board.” A native of Barker, New York, Lamb graduated from the State University of New York, College at Brockport and Niagara County Community College, where she received the President’s Medallion and was inducted as a Distinguished Alumnae. Her husband, David, is a design drafter for Michael Baker International.
Does your nondaily newspaper publish editorials? The Golden Quill contest is for you! The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors’ Golden Quill contest (best 12 editorials) deadline is Friday, Feb. 1. All newspapers of less-than-daily frequency (published fewer than five days per week) are eligible to enter. Entries must have been published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. The entry price for each submission has been lowered this year. More information is available on the ISWNE website.
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Like your news organization, Capitol News Illinois continues to adapt and evolve to changes T he pandemic and the resulting economic crash have forced many changes at news organizations throughout the state. As editor of Capitol News Illinois, director of the Illinois Press Foundation, and the lead person on communications for the Illinois Press Association, I have a daily connection to editors and publishers at newspapers of all shapes and sizes in every part of the state. It has been a difficult year, seeing all that you went through in 2020. But while there was a steady flow of bad news in the Illinois newspaper industry in 2020, I prefer to look at the past year in a few different ways. First, the resilience and ingenuity of editors, reporters, publishers, ad directors and ad reps was on display. The many ways that you all adapted on both the editorial and business sides made me proud. But I wasn’t surprised. Second, the importance of good, trusted journalism is even more evident in this era of “fake news” and a pandemic. Newspapers are helping their communities through these difficult times. This also is not a surprise. Finally, the past few months have forced every industry and workplace to find new ways of doing business. Some of those changes will be permanent, because they actually strengthen the business model. I think we all understand that significant changes in our industry have been needed for some time. Among many other things, I prefer to look at 2020 as year of opportunity – when crises began to shake newspapers into some difficult but necessary changes that will ultimately make our industry stronger. The landscape for Capitol News Illinois and statehouse reporting is also changing. The Illinois Press Foundation started the nonprofit news service in great part to fill a void left by the exit of bureaus and reporters from the state Capitol in Springfield. Our hope is that this effort helps spark a return of reporters and bureaus from around the state to the statehouse. While some see Capitol News Illinois as a threat to making obsolete other reporters and news organizations covering state government, we don’t see it that way. How we see it is that increased coverage creates an increased interest in state government. That increased interest ultimately necessitates more resources deployed to covering state government.
That theory has certainly been put to the test in the first two years of Capitol News Illinois. Longtime statehouse reporters Bernie Schoenburg and Doug Finke retired in 2020, taking with them a vast reserve of institutional knowledge. A bureau that had a full-time reporter also left the Capitol in the past year, and JEFF ROGERS there are three organizations that are no longer providing Director of Foundation internships for students in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield. None of these are bright spots, certainly. But the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights has rejoined the PAR program, and this spring has its first intern in a long time. The Chicago Sun-Times rejoined the program in 2020 and has an intern for a second consecutive year. Quincy Media launched a broadcast bureau at the Capitol in 2020, and also has an intern this spring. These are all welcome developments. And just a few days ago, we learned that Lee Enterprises has hired a reporter to cover state government for its Illinois newspapers – all of which have been strong partners of Capitol News Illinois. So that landscape is constantly changing. Would we love to see more newspaper companies like Lee Enterprises return to devoting more resources to state government reporting? Absolutely! Would more news organizations devoting resources to state government reporting force changes in approach for Capitol News Illinois? Perhaps, and probably likely. But just as you do at your news organization, Capitol News Illinois will face this ever-changing landscape with adaptability and continue to grow and thrive. nnn Speaking of the Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS, Capitol News Illinois is fortunate this spring to have two interns working as fulltime reporters! We have had one intern each of the past two spring semesters. This year, we have both Grace Barbic and Tim Kirsininkas working
with us. They’ve already made strong contributions and had a baptism by fire of sorts with the General Assembly having a wildly fast-paced and newsworthy lame duck Grace Barbic Tim Kirsininkas session during their second week on the job. We’re happy to have two young, rising stars on our team. However, we have two PAR interns in great part because there are more students than there are print organizations. There are 7 print journalists in this year’s program and only 5 print news organizations. The hope is that the PAR program continues to rebuild to a larger number of students. But there also is a hope that more print journalism internships are made available to those students in the future. nnn Another area where change is going to be needed in 2021 for Capitol News Illinois is fundraising. We have been fortunate to have had significant financial support for the first few years from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the Illinois Press Foundation. And while our hope is that those financial partnerships continue in the future, we cannot count on it. We must establish a more robust and diverse funding base for CNI to continue its work in the coming years. That was always the plan. One way Capitol News Illinois could get on firmer footing financially is through increased donations from the newspapers that publish the content daily and weekly. If each newspaper, as it prepared its 2022 budget later this year, considered Capitol News Illinois as a news service like others it pays and donated a few thousand dollars, a huge difference would be made. Let’s say every daily newspaper in Illinois made a $5,000 donation to CNI – and looked at that as a budget expense for a service it uses so frequently. That alone would essentially pay for a year of CNI operations. A $1,000 donation from each of the nondaily newspapers in Illinois – also seen by the newspaper as a budget expense for a news service it uses frequently – would fund another year-plus of operations.
See ROGERS on Page 8
Building relationships, revenue opportunities with Revenue Exchange, Sales by the Book
started working at the Illinois Press Association as director of revenue on May 26, 2020. It’s been a great time, but it’s also been a challenge. You know why. COVID-19! My newspaper experience started back in the early '90s as an advertising sales executive for the Bureau County Republican in Princeton. This was during a time that one might say things were good for newspapers. It was a new career for me, and I enjoyed the challenge of helping clients find creative ways to do business through the print products I represented. I liked watching them get results from the advertising that I helped them create. It wasn’t that difficult. In the late '90s, I transitioned into the advertising director role to help my team do the same. Each year, we kept things growing by adding and revising new sections and promotions. Things started getting tougher in sales, and we had to sharpen our sales skills by improving relationships and networking with others within our group to find new revenue opportunities. The Illinois Press Association was also crucial
in helping us find training opportunities and new ideas. Most of all, I found in the IPA a network of ad people who shared ideas and worked together to grow business. utilized the SANDY PISTOLE IIPA as an ad director at the Director of Revenue Bureau County Republican, Morris Daily Herald and NewsGazette Community Newspapers. Now, fast forward to 2020-21 and the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a tough time, for sure. It’s hard! It’s also an exciting time for us to look at different ways to do business. We have to adapt to new ways to reach our clients, serve them and build our relationships. And the good news is that the Illinois Press Association staff is here to help you figure things out, find new revenue opportunities, find ways to build relationships, help you find cost-
Get involved! Want to be part of a Revenue Exchange Round Table or Sales by the Book session on Zoom? Contact Sandy Pistole, IPA director of revenue, at 815-685-6948 or firstname.lastname@example.org. saving tools, and most of all connect you to a network of like newspaper people to share ideas and work through this together. We need each other! In the past 7 months I’ve been busy working on getting to know our members and learning how we can help them adjust to our current business climate. I’ve also been working on ways we can help you network. Here are a couple current projects: Publishers and ad directors have asked for ways to find new ideas or refresh old ideas. In January, February, and March, I will be hosting several Revenue Exchange Round Tables via Zoom. These sessions will be 45-60 minutes
and will have 6 to 12 similar-sized newspapers from around the state on each call. Participants will be encouraged to bring their best print and digital revenue producing ideas. This is open to all members, and I will do as many as it takes. Sign up today by sending me an email. From each session, participants will select the best ideas to share during the “That’s My Idea” exchange in May during our annual convention In October last year, I introduced “Sales by the Book.” This is a biweekly 45-minute Zoom where we review a sales book and discuss ways to improve our sales skills. You can jump in any time and currently we are discussing “Sell: The Way Your Customers Want to Buy,” by Dale Carnegie and Associates. In the next few months, watch for upcoming training opportunities and our virtual convention. Please contact me at 815-685-6948 or email@example.com with questions, to share ideas, and to sign up for the Revenue Exchange Round Tables or “Sales by the Book.” I would love to hear from you, and I am happy to be here for you!
ROGERS Continued from Page 7 Expect further communications of this sort from us throughout the year as we look to grow our funding base. nnn Our year-end NewsMatch fundraising campaign is another way that we grow that base. Our 2020 campaign ended Dec. 31, and I am happy to report that we will be receiving the maximum match from the national NewsMatch organization of $12,500. While we fell short of our overall campaign goal, we did receive more than the $12,500 we needed to raise and earn the full match. A special thank you to John Lampinen, senior vice president of Paddock Publications and
editor of the Daily Herald, and Chris Coates, Lee Enterprises’ central Illinois editor, for the video testimonials they recorded for our NewsMatch fundraising appeals! Thanks also to PAR Director Jason Piscia for doing the same! We can do better in our 2021 NewsMatch campaign, and we will. That will require CNI to build more relationships with individuals and organizations with an interest in state government coverage. That work is underway. It will also require the further establishment of Capitol News Illinois as a standalone news source in addition to one that provides contents to daily newspapers. This is work that will have
to become more of a focus in 2021. But here, again, IPA member newspapers can help the cause. How? By sharing with CNI the digital reach of its content on your own websites, for instance. Promoting Capitol News Illinois and its need for funding in your print and digital products would help, too. Occasional shout-outs to CNI on your social media platforms would also be great. Much of this is happening now, but more of it happening moving forward can help as we promote our partnership with newspapers in fundraising campaigns. You’ll all be hearing more about this in the coming months as well.
Unprecedented times, but the IPA is prepared
n Jan. 13, the 102nd General Assembly was inaugurated and the first year of the two-year General Assembly began. But it didn’t happen without some drama first. No business could come before the Illinois House until a speaker was named. And for the first time since 1997, that speaker isn’t Michael Madigan. Speaker Madigan couldn’t survive his first serious challenge since he began as House speaker in 1983. He had served in that role ever since, with the exception of 1995 through 1997 when Republicans took control of the chamber. But in the past few months, with the cloud of a ComEd scandal over his
head, 19 House Democrats pledged that they would not support Rep. Madigan for another term as speaker, leaving him short of the 60 votes required. Ultimately, Rep. Madigan couldn’t get the support he needed and suspended his candidacy. The other declared candidates, Reps. Ann Williams, Stefanie Kifowit and Kathleen Willis, also fell short in closed-door, unofficial voting by House Democrats. Rep. Jay Hoffman also received votes in those caucus sessions. In the end, on the last day of the lame duck session of the 101st General Assembly, it was apparent that Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, had the support he needed to get the 60 votes. And hours
later, Welch was the new speaker in a stunning and historic turn of events. But this year’s process has nothing over the one in 1975, when House Democrats voted 97 times over the course DAVID of a week before MANNING Bill Redmond received the Government Relations required 89 votes to become speaker. At the time, there were 177 members in the House. That number was cut back to 118 as the result of a Constitutional amendment that passed in 1980. The protracted speaker election of 1975 is fascinating history for political junkies. The short version is that Rep. Redmond became the compromise candidate supported by both Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and Gov. Dan Walker, but a member from Southern Illinois, Clyde Choate, had enough supporters to prevent Redmond from the required votes and refused to back down. It wasn’t until a group of House Republicans crossed over to support Redmond that the stalemate was broken. One interesting fact: Only one current member of the Illinois General Assembly was present for the 1975 drama — Michael Madigan. While House Democratic leadership was not determined until the lame duck session, the other three caucuses had already elected their leaders. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate President Don Harmon were both elected as leaders by their respective caucuses. Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady has been replaced by Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Lake Zurich. Brady resigned his seat effective Dec. 31, 2020. So now, attention shifts to the
102nd General Assembly. The November 2020 election resulted in no shift in power from the three-fifths veto-proof majorities enjoyed by Democrats in both chambers. Senate Democrats picked up one seat to improve their majority to 41-18. House Democrats lost one seat for a narrower majority of 73-45. Despite these modest changes to the majority/minority makeup of the Legislature, 36 members of the upcoming General Assembly won their first full terms in November. An excellent biography of these new and relatively new members was published by the Legislative Research Unit.
ISSUES TO EXPECT IN 2021 Public notices The 2020 legislative session, although cut short due the pandemic, saw no shortage of bills directed at the public notice requirements in Illinois law. School districts, counties and municipalities have all sought legislation which would allow public notices to appear on various websites in lieu of the permanent, verifiable and accessible publication requirement in current law. Although these measures were all successfully defeated in 2020, a renewed push is anticipated in 2021.
Graphic arts Illinois’ huge budget shortfall due to the pandemic, lack of federal assistance, and the failure of the Constitutional amendment related to the graduated income tax, has legislators and the administration looking under every stone for revenue. Talk of “closing corporate tax loopholes” has begun to surface. IPA worked very hard in 2017 to pass a permanent reinstatement of the Graphic Arts and Machinery
See MANNING on Page 10
Enter your nominations for editor, reporter of the year Editor of the Year This award will be presented to an individual who excelled in a leadership role at an Illinois newspaper during the 2020 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 this nomination form, 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 2020. Nomination forms should be completely filled out online or sent by mail to the Illinois Press Association by Feb. 19, 2021. 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 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 2020 calendar year. This individual may be a news reporter, sports reporter or a photographer,
MANNING Continued from Page 9 not on the table, a battle between manufacturing tax exemptions and other legislative budget priorities could be shaping up.
New taxes There has been much talk about tax increases to make up the current budget shortfall. Although nothing has surfaced as of this writing, one date to watch for is Feb. 17, when the governor delivers his budget address. While the current chatter swirls around a general income tax increase, it is not unthinkable that new taxes, such as an advertising tax, could be rolled out.
FOIA Dozens of bills amending the Freedom of Information Act are submitted each year, and 2021 promises to be no exception. Some might seek to enhance the Act (in areas such as police records) and others might seek to diminish it.
Municipalities in particular have complained about the costs and hours associated with complying on requests, particularly from citizens. The IPA is prepared to engage in all these proposals.
Lobbying will be different As the General Assembly convenes for the regular session, the days of a capitol building crowded with lobbyists and school kids and rallies are gone for now. Even the members will be permitted to the floor of the chamber only in limited numbers. The IPA is prepared for this. We have every legislator’s cellphone number and, so far, they are still answering! The distribution of IPA members throughout the state is a huge asset that many interest groups do not enjoy. So many of our members have relationships with their local officials. Let’s be prepared to use these relationships in these unprecedented times!
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 this nomination form, 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 2020, 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. 19, 2021.
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.
Make your nominations! For additional information or questions, please call Jeff Rogers at 217-241-1300. Official nomination forms and letters of recommendation can either be mailed to the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703 or emailed to jrogers@illinoispress. org by February 19, 2021. You do not have to use the electronic nomination form, but all of the information on the form must be included with your nomination.
Enter your nominations for advertising sales awards Winners, like those of editor and reporter awards, will be recognized during May convention Advertising Sales Manager of the Year This award will be presented to an individual who has excelled at his/her job during the 2020 calendar year. This individual must supervise at least two sales representatives. A letter of nomination from the publisher should be submitted. It can be done electronically on this nomination form or may be submitted as a letter of recommendation that is no longer than two pages in length. Please 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 19, 2021. Criteria to be considered include measurable results of this person/staff’s efforts including yearover-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 2020 calendar year. This individual’s primary responsibility must be selling advertising. A letter of nomination from the Advertising Manager should be submitted on this nomination form or may be submitted as a letter of recommendation that is no longer than two pages in length. Please 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 19, 2021. Criteria to be considered include measurable results of this person's efforts including year-overyear sales, number of accounts, special section sales, reduction in errors (credits), how this
Changes made to foreclosure notice publication requirements An amendment to state statute has shifted the responsibility of ensuring publication of a notice of mortgage foreclosure to the plaintiff or its representative. That burden previously was with the circuit clerk. The General Assembly has amended Section 2-206(a-5), which deals specifically with foreclosures. It does not impact other public notices. As is often the case, it seems it is taking time for those who work with these notices every day to become aware of the change to the statute. Although it is now the responsibility of the plaintiff (usually a financial institution) or its law firm to secure publication of a mortgage foreclosure notice, the
statute now requires the circuit clerk to mail a copy of the published notice to each defendant at the addresses in the affidavit. This must be done within 10 days of the notice’s first publication. The plaintiff’s law firm should provide a copy of the first weekly publication to the clerk. Because that duty is non-delegable, it must be done by the circuit clerk’s office and may not be assigned or contracted to a third party. Click here for more details about the statute amendment and its implications. If you have any questions about this matter, call me at (217) 544-1777 or email me. - Donald M. Craven, P.C. Illinois Press Association legal counsel
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.
Make your nominations! For additional information or questions, please call Sandy Pistole, Illinois Press Advertising Service at 217-241-1300. Official nomination forms and letters of recommendation can either be mailed to the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703 or emailed to spistole@ illinoispress.org by February 19, 2021. You do not have to use the electronic nomination form, but all of the information on the form must be included with your nomination.
Coates named president of Illinois Associated Press Media Editors BLOOMINGTON – Chris Coates, Central Illinois editor of Lee Enterprises, has been named president of the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors. The IAPME is a professional organization encompassing newspaper members of The Associated Press in Illinois. A Trenton, Michigan, native, Coates started as a reporter in Los Angeles after graduating from Columbia College in Chicago. Chris Coates He later was an editor at the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, the Sioux City Journal and The News Journal in Delaware, part of the USA Today Network. He came to Central Illinois in 2017. He oversees the newsrooms of The Pantagraph in Bloomington, the Herald & Review in Decatur, and the Journal-Gazette & Times-Courier in Mattoon.
Delivering for the paper Newspapers activate communities, post offices to stay in business shout it down.” Dickerson understands the frustration. He’s a member of the local Kiwanis Club that had to postpone its Fourth of July fireworks and parade, even though it was on the hook for the bill of the fireworks display. The club got creative and postponed it until December, when people parked their cars downtown and stepped out for the inspiring show that lit up the night. “After the show was over, people blew some hot air into their hands and got back into the car,” Dickerson said. “It was something the community really needed. There were cheers afterward.” Here some other ways newspapers have gotten creative and kept their doors open.
By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association GALENA – Jay Dickerson, advertising manager of The Galena Gazette, spends an inordinate amount of time talking with customers who don’t think they can advertise in the weekly paper anytime soon. “Even in the pandemic, we’re still working to engage the community,” he said. “We’re still working to keep up those relationships that are based on trust and based on communication.” Trust is an important word these days, and Dickerson is banking Jay Dickerson on in-depth, factbased reporting as the fastest way to get through and recover from the pandemic. See: the Jan. 6 front-page centerpiece penned by the Gazette’s publisher, P. Carter Newton, complete with a picture he took of Bill Bingham, coordinator of the Emergency Medical Service District, getting the COVID-19 vaccine. “We’re covering how the vaccine is being accepted in this community and how it goes through this community and restores some normalcy.” The paper just began an advertising campaign that features not just local officials, but also regular people talking about how they’re committed to getting the vaccine. Tom Osborne, editor of the Robinson Daily News and the Lawrenceville Daily Record, said tamping down rumors and misinformation is a steephill climb in his rural coverage area, which is seeing about 15 to 30 news
They saved the Bee
The cover of the Jan. 6 edition of The Galena Gazette included coverage of first responders and others in Galena receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. "We're covering how the vaccine is being accepted in this community and how it goes through this community and restores some normalcy," said Jay Dickerson, the paper's advertising manager. cases per day. “The cornfield hasn’t completely insulated us from everything,” he said. “From the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve stressed getting out as much information as we
can. There was a segment of the community that met the pandemic with some skepticism and didn’t think it was happening here, because our numbers were so low. We have a consistent group that’s trying to
Desiree King shudders to think what would have happened if her hometown newspaper, the New Berlin Bee, would have closed its doors as was planned in early summer. “We would be in a news vacuum,” said King, who gets her national news from CNN and NPR. “It’s so easy to take what the Bee covers for granted. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” When South County Publications announced that it would shutter the Bee, King and fellow community member Julie Rector stepped up and convinced Connie Michelich, South County Publications’ managing editor, to give them a year to save the Bee by drumming up more subscribers and advertisers. King said she’s seen some new ads, and last heard subscribers were up a touch.
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DELIVERING Continued from Page 12 King commended Michelich for bumping up the paper’s price, “which I think helps them. I don’t think that deterred people from subscribing.” She cherishes its coverage of government meetings and happenings with the school district – particularly since she has children, who are being home-schooled. It’s also the newspaper’s responsibility to also report on the pandemic and instill faith in the vaccine rollout, although King said she hasn’t seen much coverage in the Bee. Similar to Osborne, King is
consistently troubled by encounters in the small community. “I talk to people who you think are reasonable, and then the pandemic comes up, and they don’t think it’s a big deal,” she said. “It is shocking, and it makes you question whether you should be spending any time with them. Are they wearing their masks and being responsible?”
Going postal Talk about a win-win-win. When the Alton Telegraph and
Edwardsville Intelligencer shifted from traditional newspaper carriers to the United States Postal Service, it saved money, while bringing the post office more revenue. Denise Vonder Haar The subscribers? They started getting their paper on time, every day. “And they don’t have to go out and find it in the bushes, wet or in the snow,” said Denise Vonder Haar, the newspapers’ publisher. The Intelligencer was already a six-days-a-week afternoon paper, so it was only the Alton paper’s subscribers who had to adjust when the weekend edition was combined, and when the paper started arriving in the afternoon rather than the morning. Better than it not arriving at all, which Vonder Haar said was happening far too frequently. After all, her team was struggling to find and keep carriers. She said they’d typically have 10 routes open at a time. The Quincy Herald-Whig made the move to the USPS, as well, while also eliminating the Monday print edition. Subscribers had always gotten their paper in the afternoon during the week, but the weekend papers used to be delivered in the morning. As Publisher Ron Wallace had hoped, people who bristled at the change seemed to get over it. He saw about an 8 percent downtick in subscriptions. He’d expected worse. “It was the initial shock and their way of speaking their mind with their wallet,” he said. “And now we see a lot of those people coming back.” It turns out that whereas sometimes weekday papers were first being delivered in late afternoon, bordering on the evening, postal carriers were delivering them around noon.
Going nonprofit Dan Haley, executive editor and publisher of Growing Community Media, couldn’t have envisioned how
fortunate it was when he pulled the trigger to dissolve the Wednesday Journal company and transition to the nonprofit model. “Thank God we did this when we did it,” he said. Dan Haley After all, it’s a long process, and not one for the faint of heart. He began it almost 2 years ago and leaned heavily on lawyers to get Growing Community Media, which still publishes The Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside BrookfieldLandmark weekly, fully recognized as a 501(c)(3). “If we had not been in this model at the time of the pandemic, with the effect that had on our advertising base, we would be in serious trouble, or we would be out of business,” Haley said. The nonprofit model isn’t likely a good fit for the largest family-owned or publicly traded media outlets, Haley said. “Could this happen with a midsized family-owned company? Maybe it could,” he said. “It might be the only path, but it is a hard choice to give up ownership of something that you and generations of your family have built, and that you’d like to pass on to another generation.” Making the move would require getting all shareholders on board with the outlet’s mission and shifting to relentless fundraising. But Haley can attest that it works. Growing Community Media just wrapped up its end-of-the-year fundraising through NewsMatch. It brought in $200,000 for November and December. There were a few large donors, a lot of small ones, and even people who donated for the second time in 2020. “It’s very gratifying to see readers send money, and to send notes saying this is important, and to keep going,” Haley said. “I think we’re inventing something pretty unique. Whether it’s going to work, … who the hell knows?”
Tough decisions guy retires Rockford Register Star's Mark Baldwin reflects on 40-year career in journalism By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association ROCKFORD – In 2012, Mark Baldwin was greeted in the Register Star newsroom by wringing hands. Financial realities were bearing down and forcing newspapers to get leaner, fast, or edge anxiously toward their demise. Like most newspaper chains, the Register Star’s owner, GateHouse Media, was going through mass layoffs and buyouts. “I had to deliver a lot of bad news, and he had to absorb the news and deliver the news,” said Paul Gaier, then the publisher of the Register Star. “Whereas others have gotten jaded, Mark was able to sit back and say, ‘OK we have to make these changes, because the business is changing, but you know what? These aren’t easy decisions, but they’re the right decisions.’ He always does the right thing, regardless of what that means.” Baldwin announced the week of Dec. 14 that he was retiring at the end of the year, capping 8 years as executive editor at the Register Star, and a 40-year legacy in journalism. For him, doing the right thing has meant hiring a diverse workforce and developing talent. It’s meant stepping down from the Register Star’s (literal) tower and meeting the community on its level, giving back when possible, and being willing to join every corner of the community during a civil rights reckoning. It’s meant embracing the media’s role in one of the greatest battles it’s ever had to fight: a massive decline in media literacy.
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Executive Editor Mark Baldwin participates in the Rockford Register Star Editorial Board meeting with Gov. JB Pritzker and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara on June 6, 2019, at 99 E. State St. in Rockford. Baldwin retired at the end of 2020 after a 40-year career in journalism. (Photo by Scott P. Yates/rrstar.com staff)
BALDWIN Continued from Page 14 Those hurdles are taller than collapsing advertising revenue, in Baldwin’s estimation. “The greatest challenges aren’t going to be economic. They’re cultural,” he said. “You’ve spent years now being battered by accusations of fake news. People often misunderstand our role, people whose world view is not amenable to our role. Our role is not to confirm your comfortable view of the world.”
Expanding the comfort zone Corina Curry had nearly 20 years of experience as a reporter when Baldwin, who’d settled into his office after about a year with the Register Star, called her into his office. She’d been covering City Hall for several years. He wanted her to take on the education beat. Her head spun. “I wasn’t sure why he was doing it,” said Curry, who’s been with the Register Star since 1999. “As a reporter, your mind goes to, ‘He must not be happy with what I’m doing.’” With newsrooms being decimated industrywide by financial hardships, it’s become more and more common for such decisions to be made, and then for the reporter to be tossed back into the proverbial pond and told to sink or swim. “That’s definitely not something we do here,” Curry said. “He’s always very supportive and nurturing, and challenging to reporters. He’s always wanted to give them opportunities.” Baldwin saw plenty of opportunities the newsroom was missing on the education beat, Curry said. “He helped me get settled, and he put a lot of confidence in me,” Curry said. “He told me I was going to do this really well. ‘I picked you to do this because I have a lot of confidence in you.’ “I think he saw how my skill set fit well with the sort of stories he wanted to see out of that topic, and it led to some of the best work I’ve ever done.” In 2017, the national journalism society Sigma Delta Chi gave
ABOVE: Executive Editor Mark Baldwin greets Gov. JB Pritzker during the Rockford Register Star Editorial Board meeting on June 6, 2019, at 99 E. State St. in Rockford. (Scott P. Yates/rrstar.com staff) BELOW: Demonstrators approach the City Market Pavilion where officers from Park District Police (left) Rockford Police (right) and Metro Enforcement (not pictured) block the pavilion entrance to demonstrators on Aug. 21, 2020, in Rockford. A Metro Enforcement officer initially blocked a Register Star reporter from entering the public space but quickly backed down after the reporter's colleague vouched for him. The Park District and Rockford Police departments were not involved in the incident. (Scott P. Yates/ Rockford Register Star)
Curry one of its coveted awards for excellence in journalism for her coverage of racial inequities in Rockford’s public schools. “Corina’s work made people uncomfortable, in the best possible way,” Baldwin said in a Register Star
report on the award.
Taking a stand on civil rights Baldwin wasted no time weighing in on a tragically common incident that unfolded in August at the city’s popular downtown market.
On Aug. 21, Register Star reporter Shaquil Manigault, who is Black, was denied access to the market by a security guard, until photographer Scott Yates confirmed he was, in fact, a reporter. Baldwin zeroed in on the security guard’s language. “I don’t believe you,” Baldwin’s editorial response reads, using italics for emphasis. “That comment may be the most infuriating part of the incident because of the way it denied one man the benefit of the doubt for one reason only, the color of his skin. And that’s wrong,” it continues. “Yet encounters like that are all-too-routine for people of color, whether they’re professionals like Shaquil or students, teenagers or old folks. And it shouldn’t take a white colleague, classmate or friend to make things right.” Urban planner Michael Smith and dietician Jody Perrecone are two community members who, along with Baldwin, round out the Register Star’s editorial board. Smith marvels at Baldwin’s rapid, thoughtful responses to what’s happening in the community, with which Baldwin has established a deep connection. “That editorial was quick,” Smith said, laughing a little with appreciation. “He can turn on a dime to make sure the organization and the content therein reflect the times we’re living in.” The Register Star has doggedly covered civil rights protests in the past year, and Baldwin has firsthand knowledge of the target that fair and balanced coverage paints on journalists’ backs. He said he recently received a crude piece of hate mail at his home, “even though my address is nowhere to be found. That was a first.” Baldwin said the letter’s return address was a local police department, and that its contents attacked the paper for spotlighting a local demonstrator.
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BALDWIN Continued from Page 15 “Even though we’re being intimidated, we have to cling to what’s true: It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “Some people would say this is crusading, but I just don’t agree. The press in this country is a child of our constitutional values.” Baldwin has always insisted his team cover its community holistically – which means not just covering festivals and events centered around people of color’s traditions and history. “There’s an awful lot of coverage of communities of color that’s been the bread and circuses variety,” Baldwin said. “You cover festivals, or Cinco de Mayo or Juneteenth. That’s not journalism for the community. That’s journalism done by nice white people.”
Teaching media lliteracy Another steep-hill climb for journalists is the battle against misinformation that, in a single
generation, transformed from snail mail crawling to small audiences to tweets instantaneously poisoning large wells of public discourse. “We need to build better news consumers,” Baldwin said. “Democracy doesn’t work unless we agree that facts are facts. The industry has a big role in helping to build that more discerning news consumer.” About 5 years ago, he and nowretired Opinion Page Editor Wally Haas began taking the Editorial Board on the road, meeting with the community in various neighborhoods, at library branches and other community centers. “It’s very important to reach the corners of the community that oftentimes don’t see upper-middleclass professionals,” Baldwin said. “It was important to meet with diverse people in the community, and not necessarily people who subscribe to
the newspaper. We shape the news environment more than any other news organization.” And they do it from a literal tower, he pointed out. “We work in a downtown tower next to the Rock River,” he said. “It’s kind of a fortress, and it can be intimidating. If anybody’s going to get out of their comfort zone, it ought to be us. We have to wield our influence with some level of humility.” Baldwin urged said tools are available for publications that are reexamining how they’re doing their job, even going through self-evaluation and training on media literacy. It’s become common for even down-the-middle journalists to retweet information without properly vetting it. “Some of the outrageously false falsehoods are pretty easily debunked by individuals who take the time to read horizontally, as they say in the news literacy movement,” Baldwin said. “Check sources to confirm what you’re reading.” He recommended the News Literacy Project, specifically. “It’s the leading advocate and provider of training tools,” Baldwin said. “There’s some great free material, and they want local partners.” He’s introduced the group to educators in the Rockford area. “You have to be very intentional about [media literacy] and make it a priority,” he said. “The First Amendment assumes a news-literate public.”
Retirement plans Baldwin will have to give up at least one of his crusades in retirement, including his seat on the board for News Leaders Association, which is working to help newspapers align the diversity of their newsrooms with the communities they cover. NLA was formed when the Associated Press Media Editors, for whom Baldwin was a longtime board member, merged with the American Society of
News Editors in 2019. In August, Gannett, which merged with GateHouse in late 2019, pledged to achieve NLA’s ambitious goal by 2025. The city of Rockford is 22 percent Black. While the Register Star’s newsroom is 17 percent Black, its two most recent hires have been women of color. Without the pressure of putting out a daily newspaper, Baldwin will have a lot more time on his hands – which bodes well for the community in which he and his wife, Cindy, call home. “He’ll actually have the time to use his connections,” Smith said. During his time in Rockford, Baldwin has been involved with many groups, including 815 Choose Civility, a project through which the media, public and private sectors address civility and civic dysfunction. The project was born from Transform Rockford, a nonprofit creating and executing a strategic plan addressing the city’s socio-economic shortfalls. “How do we as humans and neighbors get better at talking to each other about issues that are contentious – race, education – issues that can get really heated?” Smith said. “[Baldwin] believes very deeply in being able to have civil conversations, in an informed manner.” “He’s been able to really defuse situations when they’ve gotten heated,” said Smith’s wife, Jennifer, who is engagement director for the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. The Smiths and the Baldwins became close friends after meeting at church about 5 years ago. “He’s someone you can come to, and he always has a level head about those situations, including hyper-political situations in the community,” Jennifer Smith said. “It doesn’t hurt that he has an excellent sense of humor. He’s a person who sees people who want to be involved, and people with talents and connects them with opportunities.”
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Thank you to these 2020 • Benton News, The • Blue Mound Leader • Bureau County Republican (Princeton) • Cairo Citizen, The • Carbondale Times • Carmi Chronicle • Carroll County Review, The (Thomson) • Chatham Southeast Citizen (Chicago) • Chicago Weekend • Courier, The (Carterville) • Daily Gazette (Sterling) • Daily Register, The (Harrisburg) • DeKalb Chronicle • Dispatch, The (Moline)
• Du Quoin Evening Call • Elburn Herald • Fairfield Wayne County Press, Inc. • Franklin County Gazette (West Frankfort) • Free Press Advocate, The (Wilmington) • Free Press-Progress (Nokomis) • Galena Gazette, The • Gallatin Democrat & Ridgeway News (Shawneetown) • Gazette-Democrat, The (Anna) • Gilman Star, The • Girard Gazette, The • Hancock County Journal-Pilot (Carthage)
• Herald News, The (Joliet) • Herald & Review (Decatur) • Hinsdalean, The (Hinsdale) • Hyde Park Citizen (Chicago) • Independent, The (Herrin) • Journal-News, The (Hillsboro) • Macoupin County EnquirerDemocrat (Carlinville) • Marion Republican, The • Marion Star, The • Morris Herald-News • Navigator, The (Albion) • News-Gazette, The (Champaign) • Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake) • Northwest Suburbs Daily Herald (Arlington Heights)
• Northwestern News (Palmyra) • Pana News Palladium • Panhandle Press (Raymond) • Pantagraph, The (Bloomington) • Pickneyville Weekly-Press • Quincy Herald-Whig • Randolph County Herald Tribune (Chester) • South End Citizen (Chicago) • South Suburban Citizen (Chicago) • Telegraph, The (Dixon) • Times, The (Ottawa) • Vienna Times, The • Virden Recorder • Woodstock Independent, The • Yorkville Kendall County Record
BALDWIN Continued from Page 16 Baldwin said for all of Rockford’s socioeconomic struggles, it’s a city with a great entrepreneurial spirit and prized infrastructure such as Chicago Rockford Regional Airport and the Rock River. “People are proud to be from Rockford,” Baldwin said, “and there are some sharp people in positions of political leadership who are bent on doing the right thing, and frankly have been unafraid of making tough decisions.” One initiative he’s particularly excited about is the city’s agreement with Rockford Promise to use casino revenue to invest $1.5 million annually into scholarships at Northern Illinois University. Michael Smith said Rockford Promise for the past 15 years has funded scholarships at Rockford College, a 2-year institution. “In a community where educational attainment isn’t as strong as it could be, [the NIU scholarships] are a big deal,” Baldwin said. He said his chief goal in retirement is as hyperlocal as it gets. “I’m looking forward to getting reacquainted with my long-suffering wife,” he said. “The only reason this has worked is because of her.” After a career in journalism and consulting that’s taken him throughout the Midwest and New York, Baldwin said he’s dropped anchor in Rockford. It’s easy to skip over to the city and catch a flight to see their three daughters, in Missouri,
Wally Haas (right) opinion editor of the Rockford Register Star, listens as Mayor Tom McNamara (left) proclaims the day Wally Haas Day on Jan. 28, 2020, at the newspaper’s office in Rockford. The day marked the 40th anniversary of Haas' employment at the newspaper. Mark Baldwin (middle), the executive editor, listens as well. (Scott P. Yates/rrstar.com staff) Albuquerque and Singapore – that is, once travel is safe and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. A year of hiring, coaching, counseling and editing via Zoom is hardly the way an editor of Baldwin’s ilk would like to go out. But he said the
stars have aligned for his retirement, and he has seen the silver lining in the pandemic. “We’ve actually learned, the pandemic has taught a lot of us that we don’t need to consume as much as we thought we did,” he said. “We can live smaller and, in some ways, happier.”
Farewell from Bernard Schoenburg: Thanks for the experiences, your help Editor’s Note: This column from retiring reporter Bernard Schoenburg was published by The State Journal-Register of Springfield on Nov. 27. By BERNARD SCHOENBURG SPRINGFIELD – I had no plans to end up where I did – on the front page of The State Journal-Register in August 1985, when my future wife, Kim, and I were caught on top of the double Ferris Wheel at the State Fair. The ride came to a jolting, shaking stop after being hit by a driverless crane. We weren't hurt, but while we were very thankful for the rescue, I don't recommend climbing down a fire truck ladder from about 10 stories in the air as a form of recreation. Little did I know that 5 years later, I'd become a member of the staff of the SJ-R. And who could have guessed I would stay more than 30 years? During my first 10 years in the business, at The Pantagraph of Bloomington, I got thrown into commuting to Springfield to cover some Statehouse session days starting in 1977. That newspaper moved me to the Statehouse full-time in 1982, and I stayed through late 1986. It was then a move north. Springfield native Kim did her family practice residency in Oak Park and I worked in downtown Chicago at The Associated Press. For me, it was close to where I grew up, in Evanston. Then it was back to Springfield, where I was hired into one of multiple newsroom openings at the SJ-R in 1990 and Kim started a dream-come-true practice of medicine alongside her dad, Dr. Stuart Yaffe, who retired in 2017. Being the political columnist, in addition to regular reporting duties, was added to my job description in mid-1992.
Bernard Schoenburg (left) is pictured in the photo on the right with his future wife, Kim, caught on top of the double Ferris Wheel at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield in August 1985. The photo was published on the front page of The State Journal-Register, a newspaper for which Schoenburg would begin working five years later and stay for more than 30 years until his retirement late last year. Journalism was something I fell into while at the University of Illinois at Champaign, when a course piqued an interest that was reinforced by two years writing for The Daily Illini. Journalism, indeed, has provided a stream of interesting experiences. I got to ride in an RV with Gov. Jim Thompson up the old U.S. 51 north of Bloomington to mark the announcement of the construction of what would become Interstate 39 – built to bring speed and safety to travelers north to Rockford and into Wisconsin. I got to go to Japan on The Pantagraph's dime – twice. Once was to visit Bloomington-Normal's Sister City, Asahikawa. On the second, with a delegation from Illinois, I took a side trip to visit a Mitsubishi plant like the one that was to be built in Normal. I got to witness the pro- and antiEqual Rights Amendment rallies at the Statehouse in what was at the time the deadline year of 1982. Some people fighting for the
amendment fasted for weeks in the Statehouse rotunda. Others, who had chained themselves to the brass rail outside the Senate chamber, returned after their arrest and release to spray animal blood on Statehouse floors. I was still reporting in 2018 when Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the wording – 38 are needed to get it in the Constitution. I saw the sweep of the state in a 1994 campaign day with Gov. Jim Edgar, going from a $500-a-plate breakfast in Chicago to a traditional Johnson County GOP gospel sing at Vienna High School. I watched as an emotional Edgar told a hushed Governor's Mansion gathering in 1997 that he wouldn't seek a third term. I got to watch George Ryan rise to speaker of the House, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and governor, then get sentenced to jail for corruption. I also interviewed him just this year about his engaging book
on his moves toward halting the death penalty in Illinois as revelations of wrongful convictions mounted. In Chicago with AP, I covered what was then a rare but horrible event – a school shooting – in 1988. Chicago Police Officer Irma Ruiz and a custodian were killed, as were two clerks at a nearby store. Another Chicago school is named for Ruiz. On a lighter note, I got to cover the announcement that Michael Jordan would grace a Wheaties box. I asked what he was being paid for the honor. He wouldn't say. I watched a super-charismatic campaigner – Democrat Rod Blagojevich – become a self-absorbed governor who was ultimately impeached and imprisoned – only to be let out by action of President Donald Trump. It was just an indication of conflict to come when during his first veto session, in 2003, he accused lawmakers of spending "like a bunch of drunken sailors."
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SCHOENBURG Continued from Page 18 This was even as he used state planes to shuttle back and forth from Chicago each day of session. The flights, he said, made him "guilty" of wanting to "go home and see my 7-year-old and kiss my baby." I was the only reporter to cover a 2003 news conference where an unlikely prospect for the U.S. Senate, state Sen. Barack Obama of Chicago, got the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers for the Democratic nomination to the post. After he got that nomination, I interviewed him as he was working on a speech he would give at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. That speech, which I witnessed while covering the Illinois delegation, catapulted him not only
to the Senate, but to national fame. With urging from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, of Springfield, his two terms as president would follow. I saw Gov. Pat Quinn rise from an outsider agitating on behalf of consumers to state treasurer, lieutenant governor and, upon Blagojevichs's expulsion by the legislature, to governor. I saw the rise of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who everyone assumed would be the richest Illinois governor ever. I helped document the pain caused by a couple years with no state budget – a product of what seemed Rauner's neverending fight with Democrats running the legislature. I challenged statements Rauner made, like his repeated obvious falsehood about the Mitsubishi plant
that had closed in 2016. "No one would even take the plant if we gave it to them, because our regulations are so hostile to business and our taxes are so high," he'd say. That was a shocking proclamation, given that a smiling Rauner had been at the plant in early 2017 with RJ Scaringe, CEO of startup automaker Rivian, which purchased the plant with help of the Rauner administration. That plant is now scheduled to produce, among other vehicles, 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon. Then there was Gov. JB Pritzker. Who thought anyone could outspend Rauner? Pritzker did, and had a successful first legislative session. He's also had the once-in-a-century pandemic to deal with, and he continues to try to navigate the state through the health and economic crisis it has brought. I saw House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, rise to that office in 1983, using the handle of the gavel to gently tap the House to attention. In my adopted home of Springfield, I've covered two Langfelders, Ossie and son Jim, as mayor. I saw the amazing rise and tragic fall of Mayor Tim Davlin, whose smile and charm stormed the city, and whose death by his own hand was a shock that still resonates. Former Mayors Karen Hasara and Mike Houston remain respected voices. And late Alderman and Mayor Frank Edwards and his wife, Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards, left us too soon in a tragic plane crash. Through it all, I've seen the media landscape change. I was sent to seven national political conventions – six when I was with central Illinois newspapers. That kind of investment by local papers has waned. And I've watched the number of reporters at the Statehouse shrink. I've also seen the rise of nontraditional media operations, and I applaud one of the latest, Capitol News Illinois, for filling gaps by providing important coverage for papers across Illinois.
I've also used the platform of my column to raise questions about media outlets borne from groups with an agenda. As everybody now knows in the age of the internet, not all printed words are the same. And with the outgoing president planting the idea that legitimate news organizations are "fake" if they report things he doesn't like, I've seen politicians and plenty of regular folks parrot those thoughts as they choose to read and watch sources that match their biases. Getting conflicting sides in a story is often difficult. And readers should seek information from outlets where reporters do that work. I am tremendously thankful for those who have helped with stories – by answering difficult questions, sharing thoughts and emotions, or merely returning phone calls. It has been an honor to work with colleagues in the press who have amazed me with their good work. After 44 post-college years on deadline, I took an offer from Gannett, which now owns The State JournalRegister, to exit as of Tuesday. At 66, I'm looking forward to whatever the next phase holds. The 24/7 news cycle, mixed with the rise of social media with a pandemic thrown in, has made being a reporter trying to keep up with events not dissimilar from someone riding a roller coaster – or perhaps a double Ferris Wheel that takes a jolt. Kim was beside me on that ride in 1985, and I've been blessed to be beside her all these years, raising son Sam and daughter Elly – who have great lives in Chicago and New York, respectively. I hope, in the changing media landscape, that others can continue to have careers that provide such varied and wonderful experiences, as they work to inform people of important as well as fun things. Thanksgiving is just passed, and I'm feeling it. For my family, for my colleagues, for my friends, and for all those sources who helped along the way, thank you.
20 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Journal Star sports writer, Dave Reynolds, says farewell after 38 years Editor’s Note: This column from retiring Journal Star sports reporter Dave Reynolds was published by the newspaper on Nov. 28. By DAVE REYNOLDS PEORIA – After 38 years of covering sports at the Journal Star, the time has come to say farewell. As is occurring throughout many companies these days, mine recently offered employee buyouts, of which I have accepted. Thus ends my long career at One News Plaza. It's been a great ride. When I arrived in Peoria from the Des Moines Register in November 1982, the Peoria Civic Center had just opened its doors. Bradley men's basketball and the Peoria Prancers – the forerunners to the Rivermen – were the dual tenants. The predecessors to the Peoria Chiefs – the Suns – would launch a professional baseball franchise the next spring. The St. Louis Cardinals had just won the World Series. It was a great time and place for a young sports writer to put down roots. I've been fortunate through the years to witness great moments – the Sweet 16 run by Bradley basketball, the Braves' two Valley tournament titles, World Series games with the Cubs, Cardinals and White Sox, three MLB All-Star games, the Peoria Chiefs' epic ninth-inning comeback to win the '02 league championship, the Chicago Bears' playoff victory in the dense Chicago fog, the Manual boys basketball four-peat. The list goes on and on. Of course, the people around the events – the athletes and coaches, of course, but also my readers and newspaper colleagues – provide
Dave Reynolds works at his desk at the Journal Star office in Peoria. (Journal Star file photo) the most personal and long-lasting memories. These eyes witnessed so many college basketball games over the years. I've covered all 950 BU men's contests played since my first one at Georgia Southern in 1990 when I became the Bradley beat writer. I've seen Bradley play in 37 states, Canada, the District of Columbia and a few from my computer screen due to travel restrictions. Old-timers might remember that I staffed many Illinois State and Western Illinois games for six years before taking over the Bradley beat. Who can forget the memorable 2006 NCAA tournament when loyal Bradley fans never sat down during the entirety of the Braves' upset victories over Kansas and Pitt? After the Pitt victory put them into the Sweet 16, Bradley players thanked their supporters by leaping into the stands with hugs and high-fives. Years later came a more personal memory. Seemingly countless readers, Twitter followers and colleagues, locally and beyond,
supported me over an access incident with the Bradley athletic department as the men's basketball team prepared for the 2019 NCAA tournament. Fans of the Braves and the First Amendment alike stood by me in a most astounding weekend I'll long appreciate. And yes, for those who continue to ask, we moved on and the working relationship improved. There were three decades' worth of wintry drives to Des Moines, Terre Haute, Carbondale and all Valley points in between covering Bradley games. On other courts, spirited racquetball games with former BU coach Joe Stowell (who usually won), play-by-play announcer Dave Snell and then-Sports Information Director Joe Dalfonso were an integral part of the '90s road trips. The old coach's many hijinks – from finagling first-class airplane seats to circumventing long restaurant waits – always provided plenty of colorful moments along the way. Nonconference highlights were the
Braves' upset of an ACC champion Georgia Tech team in 1995, the 2006 near upset and bloody brawl at fourth-ranked Villanova and the Las Vegas triumph over Illinois in 2009. The great memories of being on press row for all 30 MVC tournaments in St. Louis culminated in the Braves cutting down the nets for the last two as Bradley returned to Valley respectability after a long drought. And who can forget Deon Jackson's ESPY-winning game-winning heave in '96? Every one of those Arch Madness spectacles was a first-rate event presented by Doug Elgin and his Valley staff. One baseball moment I won't forget is the 1989 Cubs' divisionwinning celebration in Montreal, still the wildest and most sustained locker room bash I've ever seen. I can still see a wild-eyed Dwight Smith dashing over to us previously dry scribes and spraying us liberally from his bottle of Korbel. This job afforded me the opportunity to meet and interview legends such as Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial and Michael Jordan. In Jordan's case, I covered his first professional game when the Bulls played a 1984 exhibition in Peoria and again 11 years later when the world champions returned to Carver Arena. And who wouldn't enjoy breaking bread and sharing drinks with the likes of Harry Caray, Don Zimmer and Jerry Reinsdorf in spring training? In Harry's case, many drinks. Of course, Harry's buddy, Pete Vonachen, was one of my favorites. Nobody could spin a yarn like Pete, whose vast legacy was topped by his resurrection of pro baseball in Peoria.
See REYNOLDS on Page 21
Storied newsman ends 47 years at The Telegraph REPUBLISHED FROM THE TELEGRAPH OF ALTON ALTON – His first assignment was covering a Southwestern school board meeting, and he wrote that story on a manual typewriter. On Dec. 30, longtime Telegraph court reporter Sanford Schmidt cleaned out his desk, retiring after a 47-year career that spanned several generations of evolution in the newspaper business. He noted that the past year in particular has seen a lot of change. “It’s good that I’m getting out,” he said. “It’s been an odd year, and at 75, it’s too old to be doing this.” From the technology to the philosophy of news coverage, he said everything has changed. “We had mechanical typewriters. Somebody would cut newsprint into 8-by-11 sheets, and we’d use carbons (carbon paper),” he said. “When we got electric typewriters we thought we were really high-tech.” It was also a lot noisier, with a lot of yelling and shouting as well as teletype machines “that were always pounding away,” he said. Newspaper reporters had a reputation as “rough-and-tumble
Long-time Telegraph reporter and editor Sanford Schmidt takes a break while cleaning out his desk. Schmidt retired Dec. 30 after 47 years of covering news for The Telegraph. (Credit: The Telegraph of Alton) guys,” Schmidt said. “Everybody smoked, including me,” he said. “It was a noxious atmosphere.” Reporters were also known for their drinking. Schmidt said one of his bosses told him he finally quit
“when he woke up one morning and his car was about that far (he gestured 6 inches) from a cliff.” The newsroom was not the only place where there were great changes. When Schmidt started there were several dozen workers in the “back
shop” where a Linotype machine used molten lead to create type for the printing presses. That was eventually replaced with phototypesetting and computer typesetting, where the phrase “cut-and-paste” came from. Today, the work of a dozen composing room workers – as well as several editors – can be done by a single editor using a computer from anywhere with an internet connection. There has also been a great deal of change in newsroom philosophy, Schmidt said. When he started, the paper had dozens of reporters in multiple bureaus with a major emphasis on government reporting. They would spend most of their nights at meetings and the mornings calling or going to local police departments for crime news, he said. “We covered damn near everything,” he said. “There wasn’t anything too trivial to cover.” “[Former editor and publisher] Steve Cousley considered it his duty,” he said. “They considered it their responsibility to do it.” Schmidt worked part-time for The Telegraph before joining the
See SCHMIDT on Page 22
REYNOLDS Continued from Page 20 How fortunate I was to watch a kid named Shaun Livingston – who I coached in baseball when Shaun was 7 years old – grow up to become a veteran of 15 NBA seasons and win three world championship rings with Golden State? That pride in Peoria also included witnessing firsthand the successful journey of a young baseball player from Limestone High School develop into a big league star whose 612 home runs rank eighth on the all-time list. Five years later after he retired, I was proud to cast my Hall of Fame ballot for Jim Thome. Nearly 90 percent of my Baseball Writers Association of America peers concurred and Thome earned the prestigious honor of becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
So many talented co-workers at the Journal Star have come and gone. Men no longer with us such as Paul King, Dick Lien, and Gary Childs helped shape my career. And of course, Kirk Wessler, my former editor and longtime press row companion who gave me the license to tell stories in my own way. The talents and hard work of every other writer and editor, who reported the games of central Illinois and beyond, made our sports section the most comprehensive in the state. It was an honor to work with you all, but especially with hockey writer extraordinaire Dave "Cleve" Eminian, who has always had my back. And then there's my wife and best friend, Linda. She's been a pillar of encouragement and
organization for nearly 40 years while supporting the crazy night and weekend hours and wacky travel schedule of a sportswriter as we raised our family. Now that she, too, has wrapped up her work career this month, we are looking forward to discovering a new normal together. Ironically, my last day at the paper is Dec. 8, prior to tipoff of Bradley's home opener at Carver Arena. COVID restrictions allow for just one PJS reporter in the building. So it's time for me to deliver a bounce pass to my Journal Star sports colleagues who will take it from here. Thanks to everyone for reading my stories during the past 38 years. It's been a pleasure to have you turn those pages with me.
22 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
SCHMIDT Continued from Page 21 staff full-time in June 1973. After graduating from Alton High School in 1964, he went to the University of Pennsylvania and majored in business. “I had no business going to an Ivy League school majoring in business,” he said. “A lot of guys were just hanging around avoiding the draft, including me. After a while I got tired of hanging around so I finally dropped out and joined [the U.S. Army]. “If you joined, you get your choice of training,” he said. “If you got training in a field that didn’t involve shooting people, or people shooting at you, you had a better chance of survival. By then the war was very unpopular, and nobody wanted to die in Vietnam.” He eventually ended up in Vietnam, working in logistics. “It didn’t take a lot of courage where I was,” he said. “The place was full of generals and doctors.” After Vietnam he and his wife, Barbara, moved to Fort Hood, Texas, and he worked at an Army desk job until he got out of the service. He went to Southern Illinois UniversityEdwardsville, where Schmidt said he did well in everything except photography. “I was good at the academics, but I was a terrible shooter,” he said, adding he would occasionally have to take photographs for the newspaper. “Every time the photographers got film from me, they’d roll their eyes,” he said. “After a while they told me not to take any more photos.” At The Telegraph, Schmidt worked in several different bureaus, and also as an assistant city editor and city editor, before landing on the court beat about a decade ago. He said it suited him. “Civil cases can get boring,” he said. “Until the courthouse closed [because of COVID-19] we covered the initial filings, but we seldom covered trials because they took so long.” It was also difficult because most cases were settled out of court with
no details being made public, he said. “I spend my time in criminal, because there are more stories and it’s much more interesting,” Schmidt said. Schmidt said a former literature teacher said something that influenced his preferences. “He said, ‘Throughout history, evil has been considered interesting, and virtue is considered boring,’” Schmidt said. “That stuck in my mind.” The other element to good stories is conflict, he said. He said one of his
bosses, Elmer Broz, wanted “a good lead, something with conflict and a hook in it.” “People criticize us for trying to attract attention,” Schmidt said. “But if we didn’t, nobody would read it and we’d have been out of business a long time ago.” Schmidt said one of the most important lessons he learned is to ask questions, something that is often hard for young reporters. “You’d have holes in the story because you didn’t ask any
questions,” he said. “I always asked questions after every meeting. You just wanted to establish that habit, and sometimes you’d ask a question that led to more questions. “I think that’s difficult for everybody,” he said. “Middle-class kids are not raised to ask questions of people who are older, and that’s one of the things you have to do.” With his desk cleaned out, he plans to spend time with his family: his wife, two daughters and their grandchildren.
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David Zalaznik, Journal Star photojournalist, reflects on long career Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Note: This column from retiring photojournalist David Zalaznik was published Dec. 1 in the Journal Star of Peoria. By DAVID ZALAZNIK Journal Star, Peoria PEORIA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; With my final day at the Peoria Journal Star being Dec. 8, I was offered the opportunity to choose my favorite photograph from my 32-year career here. It's impossible to boil down 32 years of photography to one image. But what is possible, what remains with me while looking back at my body of work, is a feeling of respect. Examples that I feel David Zalaznik were successful include a yearlong examination of the challenges and rewards of a farm life through the Kenny Mahr family in Farmington; and a close look at how Caper Brown, severely burned in a fire when he was a child, tried to create a life for himself despite the horrific injuries he had suffered. In 1996, I spent a period of months with members of the migrant community in Princeville and ended the work riding with a migrant family to Del Rio, Texas, on the return home. Important work requires the time to develop relationships with the subject, to earn their trust and reward that trust with honesty and integrity. Barry Locher, with whom I interviewed fresh out of college for a position with Copley Newspapers, was photo editor at the Springfield State Journal-Register. He has been a great mentor, both professionally and personally, for more than 30 years. He recently died of pancreatic cancer. His wife, Debra Locher, said her
ABOVE: T.J. and Chelsea Williams sit with their children, Quinnton, 3, Myles, 6, and Aidan, 10, in front of their Washington home Nov. 23. The Journal Star journalist who took this photo, David Zalaznik, was asked to choose his favorite photograph as he was retiring after 32 years with the Peoria newspaper. Zalaznik chose this photo because "it's impossible to boil down 32 years of photography to one image" and because the photo "is more typical of the day-to-day routine of a staff photographer. LEFT: In this 2013 photo, Zalaznik covers a standoff in the North Valley of Peoria. (Photo by Adam Gerik/Journal Star)
husband often quoted a concept from the late poet and activist Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." So I selected a photo from a very recent assignment that is more typical of the day-to-day routine of a
staff photographer. T.J. and Chelsea Williams sit with their children, Quinnton, 3, Myles, 6, and Aidan, 10, in front of their Washington home Nov. 23. I've always wanted to make people who find themselves within the frame of my camera feel respected. From the time I arrived to the time I left was no
more than 15 to 20 minutes. I cannot look at the photo without smiling and being overwhelmed with respect for this family. And the last words from Mr. Williams as I left: "Look out for the dog poop!" It may not be Maya Angelou, but it's sage advice to carry for the next 30 years.
24 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Stopping the presses at The Vidette ISU’s newspaper going online-only, overhauling organizational structure By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association NORMAL – Each week, John Plevka sits down with his blue gel pen and critiques the weekly edition of The Vidette. It used to be daily. He felt like it found its sweet spot in 2015, when financial realities forced the paper to publish only twice weekly, before the screws tightened in August 2019 and it became a weekly. On April 27, 2021, the last physical edition of the 132-year-old Vidette will be printed. “My blue ink is going to be pretty blurry. There’s going to be a bunch of tears,” said Plevka, a former (Peoria) Journal Star executive editor who has served as general manager of The Vidette since 2012. Plevka said student managers are forming John Plevka a plan to print a special commemorative edition in late April or early May. The Vidette will report exclusively on its digital platforms – its website, social media channels, newsletters and app. Plevka said financial strains were bearing down long before COVID-19 gripped the nation. “I’ve been sounding these sirens for several years,” he said. “We didn’t just find out we had a financial problem.” The university gave Plevka and Business Manager Madeline JeanCharles non-renewal notices in June. As of July 1, 2021, the traditional advertising department, run by students and a part-time professional business adviser, will be eliminated. ISU’s NPR affiliate WGLT, led by General Manager R.C. McBride and also part of the communications
program, will take over business and administrative oversight. As of now, all that is etched in stone is that printing operations will cease. Stephen Hunt, executive director of the School of Communications, said an adviser will be retained to oversee The Vidette, and it will be determined in the spring whether that’s Plevka – who’s leaning toward accepting a potential offer to stay on. “There are going to be some hellish growth pains,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of talented kids coming back. I’d like to kind of hold their hand through that next year.” A committee made up of Plevka, Hunt, an administrator from the College of Arts and Sciences, McBride, faculty members, journalism professors, and others, formed in August and began laying out the plan for The Vidette’s future. “They have done an incredible amount of thoughtful work in a short period of time to produce an excellent plan moving forward,” said Diane Zosky, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The Vidette was actually folded into the communications department in 2011, but The Vidette still paid its own bills, Plevka said. His chief concern is that as the newsroom is tied more closely to communications curriculum, it’s going to lose access to talent. Previously, all that was required to work for The Vidette was taking six credits at ISU. While details are being ironed out, students will be required to take communications courses to work for The Vidette. Plevka is optimistic the university will find workarounds for English majors to work for The Vidette, given how closely the major dovetails with journalism. He’s more concerned about losing the political science
and even the biology majors who have played important roles at the paper previously. Many of them have even shifted gears and carved out careers in journalism, Plevka Diane Zosky said. “With those courses being elective for them, they’ll have to ask themselves the question, can they afford to do that?” he said. “Those kind of folks are probably going to be disappearing. The Vidette has prided itself on being a big tent, and inviting to everyone.” Hunt addressed those concerns in an email Dec. 8, stating the program can manage enrollment in key production courses by removing course blocks, which would allow English majors, for example, to continue to work for The Vidette. The university’s studentrun news broadcast, TV-10, is entirely run through the School of Communications curriculum, but it has a registered student organization, Student Television Workshop, that is open to all majors across campus. “We’re thinking of something similar for The Vidette,” Hunt said. When Plevka transitioned to ISU in 2012, The Vidette’s budget was $1 million. It’s now around $250,000. He’s cut an IT position, reduced Jean-Charles’ hours, and pared down the number of paid student employees. The once-fiveday newspaper dropped its Friday edition in 2013, went down to two days in 2015, and became a weekly a year ago. The last fiscal year The Vidette finished in the black was 2013. It’s projected to finish more than $200,000 in the red when the calendar flips to July next summer.
“Looking back, I do feel we could have been a little more proactive on this, potentially as far back as 4 or 5 years ago,” Plevka said. The Vidette is Stephen Hunt hardly on an island, as financial hardships led by advertising decline, exacerbated of course by the pandemic, have resulted in student newspapers throughout the Midwest reining in their print frequency. The Daily Northwestern at Northwestern University went from printing five days a week to reporting online-only, at least for the time being. The Courier at Western Illinois University has committed to going online-only not just this school year, but for good. The Vidette has won General Excellence in the Illinois College Press Association competition 2 of the past 3 years. Plevka said he’s hopeful the university will grandfather in current Vidette staff next fall, for them to not be required to take communications courses. He’s also “pushing hard” for the university to continue paying a staff of at least a half-dozen students. Currently, about a dozen are on the payroll. “If they’re not going to reward those folks, that’s when the thing will really come unglued,” he said. “I don’t want to be around to see that. Then it becomes a class, and some students will be half-assing it. It’s a shitload of work to be an editor. It’s great experience, and there’s value in doing it. You can’t have a student adviser as editorin-chief. It takes away from the learning experience.”
U of Chicago makes free speech its hallmark Media literacy, thorough event planning emphasized on hyper-tolerant campus By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association CHICAGO – No American university is more committed to free speech on campus than the University of Chicago, according to a recent FIRE student survey. Whether or not faculty and administrators are Spider-Man buffs, they subscribe to the sage advice of Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.” “This is important: Our faculty are not the kind of faculty that will just invite a speaker to come and have free reign,” Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen said. “It’s usually a defined program, where it’s an atmosphere for those ideas to be challenged.” The university scored highest out of the 55 universities that took part in the survey conducted by The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit focused on protecting free speech rights on campuses. The survey covered universities’ openness, how willing they are to invite a speaker to address controversial issues, self-expression and administrative support. Geoffrey Stone, an Edward H. Levi distinguished law professor who’s filled various leadership positions at the university during his 47year tenure, says the university has emphasized First Amendment rights since its inception in 1890. In 2014, the university’s president, Robert Zimmer, addressed a nationwide trend of free speech challenges at universities by enlisting Stone and other distinguished professors to draft a statement clearly spelling out that under virtually no circumstances would the university prohibit free speech. The “Chicago Principles” have since
Anton Ford, a philosophy professor associated with UofC Resists, leads chants during a 2017 event on the campus of the University of Chicago featuring Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Donald Trump. (Photo Credit: Feng Ye / The Chicago Maroon)` been adopted by 70-plus universities, including Princeton, Columbia, and multiple Big Ten universities, including the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Geoffrey Stone which ranked 42nd in the survey. The University of Wisconsin was a notch above at 41st, and the U of I-Chicago was 44th. The universities effectively lopped off the first half of the principles, which pertained to the University of Chicago specifically, but kept the universal elements. Stone said arrogance often gets in the way of sharing intellectual property among higher education, “so adopting another’s statement is hard to do.” Further, he said, universities have to be prepared for students and faculty who oppose expression of free speech from opposing or extreme
viewpoints. “It takes a good deal of courage, frankly,” Stone said. “It does piss off a lot of people.”
Media literacy is key The crux of the “Chicago Principles” is summarized nicely in the document’s reference to a dissenting opinion from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in a Sedition Act case in 1918. “... The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas – that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the free competition of the market,” the dissent reads. Stone said free expression was integral to desegregation, interracial marriage, and the women’s rights movements. “They would have been flatout rejected without hesitation at
different times in the past,” he said. He said the university was among the first to offer benefits for gay marriages. “At a point in the past, Michele Rasmussen that would have been regarded as absurd,” Stone said. “Because we have allowed the advocacy of those challenging positions, we’ve learned and changed our minds about things. We always have to be open to challenges.” The difference today, he readily concedes, is the speed at which information, and misinformation, travels. Five years ago, Stone began teaching a Freedom of Speech course that keyed on vetting information. “We live in an environment where it’s more important than ever for people to be skeptical,” Stone said. As baseless claims and conspiracy theories flood the media – both social media and broadcasts and print publications – consumers must scrutinize the content. “Our students are living in that society. That’s the reality of the world we’re living in,” Stone said. He said shielding students from misinformation fails to prepare them for the real world. Three years ago, the university retooled its orientation program to emphasize media literacy to new students as soon as they arrived on campus. Not coincidentally, the university borrowed heavily from the orientation program of Purdue University – one of the first institutions to adopt and adapt the “Chicago Principles.” “We sort of returned the favor,” Rasmussen said, laughing.
See FREE SPEECH on Page 26
26 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
FREE SPEECH Continued from Page 25 “It’s not too preachy, and it brings some abstract concepts down to a level students can understand,” Rasmussen said. “It’s not effective to have a bunch of talking-head administrators.” It was obviously difficult to conduct orientation virtually, she said. Another challenge has been meeting students at their level, given that about two-thirds of the University of Chicago’s students are graduate students. “One could argue they’re even more diverse than undergrads,” Rasmussen said. “They represent different age groups, some have families, and they’re from different countries.” Rasmussen said interactive modules have been built, and much of the First Amendment work has been folded into curriculum and separate exercises. For instance, the law school had its students write a speech code. “It ended up looking a lot like the ‘Chicago Principles,’ ” Rasmussen said.
Infrastructure keeps events ‘on the rails’ Controversial figures are more than welcome to speak at a campus event – as long as they’re willing to be rebutted. Many such events at the University of Chicago have failed to materialize, because speakers have refused to take part in a debate or a Q&A session. “It wasn’t because of the political views,” Rasmussen said. “They weren’t willing to have the back-andforth discourse.” She said the university has “hundreds, if not thousands” of speakers on campus, and that faculty and administration collaborate to know what’s on the calendar and plan each event in such a way that “it doesn’t go off the rails.” They designate protest areas, train
staff to de-escalate situations, and provide ample security. Disrupting events is not allowed, and if interrupters persist, they’re removed. “We take events management and planning very seriously,” Rasmussen said. “When you see a lot of events on a college campus that goes off the rails, when you dig a little deeper, it’s usually because of bad planning of the event. You need to do that work up front to ensure you have the kind of event you want.” She said the university has “had plenty of dust-ups over the years,” but its employees will neither be gagged nor disciplined for exercising their First Amendment rights. “That just doesn’t happen at the University of Chicago,” she said. “This is not the kind of place where you’re going to see administrative overreach.” Stone conceded it’s challenging to tell students and faculty they will hear ideas they find offensive, even revolting. “That’s not easy, and the reason they have to learn to do that is they cannot trust anyone in positions of authority to decide what ideas cannot be spoken,” he said. He and Rasmussen emphasized the university provides “safe spaces”, which are spelled out in the principles as various student organizations. “You don’t have to just sit there, take it, and feel upset,” Rasmussen said. “There are places you can take your concerns, and get support. We do have safe places, where students can step out of a controversial situation.”
‘A slightly cynical point of view’ Rasmussen said there isn’t a threshold at which the university will determine a point of view too outrageous to be allowed on campus. That doesn’t sit well with Caroline Kubzansky, a fourth-year senior who’s worked for The Maroon student newspaper since she set foot
on campus. She’s now the managing editor, and is skeptical of the university’s motivations. “I take a slightly cynical point of view on the university’s Caroline Kubzansky emphasis on free speech,” she said. “The university’s efforts have struck me as a marketing scheme.” She said a culture of curiosity is a good thing, and that universities deserve credit for thinking outside the box, and outside the domain of scholars. But she thinks the university’s policy is perhaps too tolerant. “[The Chicago Principles] is a way of saying that people don’t immediately tar and feather
conservatives for what they have to say,” she said. “Sometimes it might be too good at not tarring and feathering people with reprehensible viewpoints.” The university does not require its professors to provide content warnings before they introduce content that’s bound to be offensive to some, if not repulsive or potentially incendiary. Kubzansky said that while she respects the policy, she’s grateful all the professors she’s had alert their students. “Most professors who care about that stuff will put it in anyway,” she said. “In the circles I run, it’s called manners. Try not to blindside someone with something offensive. “The world is awful enough as it is.”
Shaw Local News Network launches new website network CRYSTAL LAKE – The Shaw Local News Network has launched new websites to provide news to Northern Illinois readers with increased immediacy. The ShawLocal.com network also is available on app stores and includes all of Shaw Media's local news coverage from its 53 Illinois newspapers and magazines. Coverage on ShawLocal.com includes award-
winning publications, such as the Northwest Herald, Dixon Telegraph, Sterling Daily Gazette and Kane County Chronicle.
Also included in the Shaw Local app are Friday Night Drive, which covers prep football across the region, and Starved Rock Country, which promotes tourism in the greater La Salle County area. For a limited time, all content is available free on the Shaw Local app. Existing subscribers can now also access all content across the Shaw Local News Network.
AROUND THE STATE
Repurposing newspaper boxes to collect worn US flags
Raymond News kicks off new year early
HOMER GLEN – When Homer Glen Trustee Keith Gray heard that newspaper vending boxes were being removed from the sidewalks of Chicago, he got an idea. What if the village could repurpose the boxes? For a community whose motto is “Community and Nature in Harmony”, it seemed only fitting that Homer Glen recycle the newspaper boxes and keep them out of landfills. Gray picked up two Chicago Tribune newspaper boxes and began to retrofit them into a box where residents could discard worn and torn U.S. flags for proper disposal. Because the boxes once held newspapers, they are weatherresistant and will protect the flags from additional damage. Also called honor boxes because customers were on the honor system to remove just one paper from the stack, they will be repurposed to a box that will ensure honorable treatment of the U.S. flag, Gray said. Gray, whose career is in graphic arts, created flag decals to cover the Chicago Tribune logo and advertise that the box is meant to collect and honorably retire flags. Graphics were also created to recognize the service of the late Ron Boehm, the founding post commander
RAYMOND – The new year started early for The Raymond News, which published Volume 81, Issue One on Nov. 26. The milestone is reflected in the masthead. The paper acquired its name in the early 1990s, but its origins reach farther back, to 1881, when The Raymond Independent was founded by M. G. Sisson. Joseph W. Potts was the first editor, and his family acquired the newspaper 8 years later. Tessie Moore Potts gets the christening credits for the name the paper bears today.
Keith Gray of Homer Glen redesigns a Chicago Tribune newspaper box to be a receptacle for worn U.S. flags. (Photo submitted by Keith Gray) of Homer Glen American Legion Post 2011. One box was installed Nov. 13 outside the Homer Glen Village Hall. A second box will be likely be installed outside one of the fire stations. "The whole idea is to be respectful of the flag," Gray said. "Flags are not supposed to be thrown away. They are supposed to be disposed of properly." When the flag boxes fill up, members of Boy Scouts Troop 63 will retire the flags according to the U.S. Flag Code, which requires that flags be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. Troop 63
Scoutmaster Jim Zacharias said the Boy Scouts learn different elements of the U.S. Flag Code such as folding the flag correctly, performing proper flag ceremonies and respectfully retiring the flag. "One of the aims of Scouting is to develop good citizenship within a Scout," Zacharias said. Troop members will use the fire pit at Shady Oaks Camp in Homer Glen for the retirement ceremonies. Troop member Thomas Lorkiewicz, 16, is working toward the rank of Eagle Scout and recently renovated the Shady Oaks firepit and surrounding area.
Papers combining to form Record Herald News ZION – Mt. Zion Region News with the Southern Piatt Record-Herald have merged and are expanding the weekly paper to make room for the additional content. This combined paper will be called the Record Herald News, and will continue to cover Piatt, Douglas and Moultrie counties, in addition to Macon County. The Mt. Zion Region News opened 62 years ago, and according to a story in the paper, its parent company, Better Newspapers Inc., decided that with facing difficult financial realities, combining the papers is the best option going forward.
28 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Chicago Tribune to exit Prudential Plaza Will move newsroom to printing facility north of the city's downtown CHICAGO – The Chicago Tribune and its parent company will relocate out of Prudential Plaza at the end of January, leaving the city's largest newspaper without a downtown office less than 3 years after its exit from the landmark Tribune Tower. The Tribune newsroom will move to the Freedom Center printing facility along the Chicago River north of downtown, employees were told in a memo Jan. 11. The Tribune's move comes almost a year into a near shutdown of downtown Chicago offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also follows years of cost-cutting measures by the Chicago-based newspaper company. Because of the pandemic, it's unclear when large numbers of journalists will move into the
Freedom Center space, the company said. Employees were told to retrieve their personal belongings from Prudential Plaza by Feb. 28. In August, the Tribune reported its parent company was in negotiations with Sterling Bay to get out of its 137,000-square-foot lease in the two-tower office complex overlooking Millennium Park. For months, Tribune Publishing's brokers from Jones Lang LaSalle have been showing the space to potential tenants. Tribune offices in Chicago have remained open throughout the pandemic, but they've been lightly used since March. The Tribune moved to One Prudential Plaza in June 2018, after 93 years at Tribune Tower on North Michigan Avenue.
The Chicago Tribune Freedom Center is seen June 8, 2019, from the Chicago River in the River West neighborhood. The newsroom will relocate its offices to the printing facility. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)
AROUND THE STATE
Quincy Media put up for sale PEORIA – The 95-year-old company that owns 22 television and radio stations – including two TV stations in the Peoria area, one in Rockford, another in Harrisburg, and one in Quincy – is for sale. Family-owned Quincy Media Inc. announced the decision to its employees in a Jan. 7 email. Quincy Media bought WEEK-TV Heart of Illinois ABC, both based in East Peoria, about 5 years ago. It also owns and operates WGEM-TV in Quincy, WSIL-TV in Harrisburg and WREX-TV in Rockford. The Quincy Media board of directors decided to market the company after much consideration, according to the email from Ralph Oakley, its president and CEO. If an agreement with a potential
buyer is reached, it probably will become final sometime in the later part of this year, Oakley said. For now, he said no changes in operations are anticipated. Oakley stated the company hopes most if not all current employees would have the opportunity to continue under a new owner. Quincy Media's flagship operation is the Quincy Herald-Whig newspaper, and it also owns the Hannibal Courier-Post in Hannibal, Missouri.
Fairfield Wayne County Press starts 156th year FAIRFIELD – On Jan. 1, the Fairfield Wayne County Press entered Volume 156, and its 156th year of publication. The Press is the lineal descendant of the first newspaper in Fairfield,
the Independent Press, established in Fairfield around 1852 by A. A. Stickney, with John M. Walden as editor. The paper passed through a number of hands, with changes of names, until the Civil War. For a time during the Civil War, the paper was suspended for short periods, finally becoming the War Democrat. At the close of the Civil War, C. W. Sibley owned the paper. In December 1865, the War Democrat was sold to David Wright Barkley, then 23 years of age, and a few weeks later on Jan. 1, 1866, the paper was renamed the Wayne County Press with a new volume, No. 1.
Hedge fund offers to buy Tribune CHICAGO – Hedge fund Alden, Tribune's largest shareholder, has offered to buy the rest of the
newspaper publisher at a price that values it at $520.6 million. Alden sent a letter to Tribune on Dec. 14, according to a regulatory filing posted Dec. 31, 2020, offering $14.25 per share for the stock of Tribune it doesn't already own. Alden owns 31.6 percent of Tribune shares. The hedge fund said it had not received "any feedback" to its letter, which it described as a "preliminary inquiry." Alden bought its stake in Tribune in November 2019 and has three seats on its seven-member board. Tribune publishes nine major daily papers, including the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun. Alden controls a major U.S. publisher whose papers include the Denver Post, Orange County Register and Boston Herald.
AROUND THE STATE
COVID-19 concerns close
Journal-News office LITCHFIELD – As of Dec. 31, The Journal-News is temporarily closing its Litchfield office, because of the effects COVID-19 has had on many businesses. The paper is asking that news items and advertisements be sent to its Hillsboro office. Calls to the Litchfield phone number will be forwarded to the Hillsboro office. The newspaper may still be picked up at various Litchfield businesses.
Tribune Publishing to sell BestReviews for $160M CHICAGO – Tribune Publishing and BR Holding Co.will sell the BestReviews website to TV station owner Nexstar
Media Group for $160 million, the companies announced Dec. 16. The deal to sell the profitable e-commerce website is pending regulatory approval and is expected to close before the end of the year. Tribune Publishing bought a 60 percent stake in BestReviews for $66 million in February 2018, with its founder, BR Holding, retaining 40 percent. Under the terms of the deal, Tribune Publishing will receive $96 million, less transaction fees and a working capital adjustment. Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, had $90 million in cash at the end of September, according to its third-quarter financial filings. As part of the deal, Tribune Publishing will enter into a licensing and revenue-sharing agreement for the continued use of BestReviews
content on its websites, the company said. BestReviews' new owner, Dallasbased Nexstar, bought Tribune Media – the former parent company of Tribune Publishing – for $4.1 billion last year, adding WGN-Ch. 9, national cable channel WGN America and WGN-AM 720 to its portfolio.
Sun-Times sued over stories about Trump Tower tax appeal CHICAGO – A former top official of the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board has sued the Chicago SunTimes for libel over stories published in 2020 regarding an anonymous complaint against him as the agency staff considered whether to award President Donald Trump a refund of more than $1 million on the property
taxes for his Chicago tower. Mauro Glorioso alleged the stories by investigative reporter Tim Novak defamed him and misrepresented the nature of the complaint about how the Trump case was handled. Glorioso worked for the agency for nearly 20 years, first as an administrative law judge, then as a board member and finally as its executive director and general counsel. In October, Gov. JB Pritzker removed him from the agency amid the investigation and concerns about a backlog of cases. PTAB can overrule county officials' decisions on property tax assessments, potentially reducing owners' tax bills. Glorioso's suit, filed Jan. 5 in Cook County Circuit Court, names SunTimes Media Holdings and Novak as defendants.
The Southern Illinoisan moving to new Carbondale location CARBONDALE – Lee Enterprises, the media company that owns The Southern Illinoisan, has tentatively sold the newspaper's longtime office on Illinois Avenue to U-Haul Moving & Storage of Carbondale, according to Donna Denson, president and director of local sales and marketing. An official closing should take place on or around Jan. 15, Denson said, adding that The Southern expects to be in its new facility by mid-March. The building at 710 N. Illinois Ave. has housed The Southern since 1967. It previously served as the Illinois Fruit Growers Exchange building. Lee Enterprises invested $7 million into building renovations in 2007, upgrading the facility, technology and equipment, including the printing press. In early 2019, Lee Enterprises moved its printing operation to St. Louis, consolidating it with that of a sister paper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Southern Illinoisan dates back to 1947 when the Carbondale Free Press, Murphysboro Daily Independent and Herrin Daily Journal combined. The most recent printing press had been in use since 1982. All usable parts of the press have been salvaged, and the remaining press will be dismantled, as there is little market anymore for old presses. The Southern continues to offer a print product five days a week, but operates as a digital-first newsroom on a 24/7 basis. The deal with U-Haul also ensures continuity for the 47,500-square-foot building – measuring nearly the size of a football field – in the heart of the city.
Lee Enterprises has sold the office building that has been home to The Southern Illinoisan newspaper in Carbondale since 1967. (Credit: The Southern Illinoisan)
30 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
IPA lawyer: Peoria County transparency 'not enough' Republished from the Journal Star of Peoria PEORIA – Peoria County needs to explain why information regarding restaurants' possible violations of indoor dining rules aren't being released to the public, said an attorney with the Illinois Press Association. Don Craven, who has spent years working with the state's Freedom of Information Act, said the burden is not on the media or public to explain why they want the records, but rather on the county itself to say why the records shouldn't be released. The Springfield attorney explained why there might be a "hodgepodge" of different practices around the state. His comments come after Peoria County officials in early December denied both a Journal Star reporter's request and a Freedom of Information Act filing by the paper seeking the names of restaurants and bars submitted by citizens through the Health Department's complaint process, and whether they have received citations by the Health Department or been referred to State's Attorney Jodi Hoos for enforcement of any closure orders. Other counties have posted information about those subjects online, or detailed for local media their investigative or citation process. However, locally there's been no answer beyond that "the County considers these active investigations and accordingly, pursuant to 5 ILCS 14017(d), denies this request to produce documentation related to these investigations," the Peoria County State's Attorney's Office said in its response to the FOIA last week. Craven said that's not enough. "The burden is now on the county to either provide the documents or to assert an exemption to the disclosure to the documents,” he said. “And they have to provide a detailed, legal and factual basis why they are withholding the documents. The only thing they are saying is that they are withholding due to an active
investigation. That's not enough.” The FOIA exemption the county is using states, in part, that records can be denied public release if such a release would "interfere with pending or actually and reasonably contemplated law enforcement proceedings conducted by any law enforcement or correctional agency that is the recipient of the request." Earlier this month, Hoos said her office is "reviewing complaints on a case-by-case basis applying the facts and the law" when asked directly whether she was committing to pursue cases in which she determined COVID restrictions were violated. Beyond that, she said, she would not comment on pending investigations. The paper is appealing the county's refusal to release records to the Public Access Counselor in the Illinois Attorney General's Office. At a weekly press briefing on Dec. 17, Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson was again asked about the total number of violations her office has found and how many citations the health department had issued. "I can't talk about how many, the exact number we've had. I can say that whenever we receive any complaint through our Restore HOI (website), immediately we work with either an agency that has the most direct contact, and then we refer them out, and we also do educational points with them. Then if we have additional complaints with them, then we start issuing additional [complaints]. And the final notice we provide, then we refer them to the state's attorney's office," she said in response to that question. Just over two weeks ago, Hendrickson said more than 100 complaints had been received on the RestoreHOI.com website. Pressed on the issue Dec. 17, she was asked if there was an updated number she could provide. "I don't have the number with me," she said. Craven said that wasn't appropriate, and that if an agency
was worried about releasing a name, the redaction was one avenue. "That's easily redacted, like blacking out the Social Security number of someone in a police report. It is done every day. It's not enough to simply claim there is an ongoing investigation. ... They can withhold information, but only to the extent that disclosure would interfere with an active investigation." The attorney admitted "the release of the documents under the FOIA has been a hodgepodge across the state for long as I have been doing this job." It can vary town to town and county to county. That explains why in Winnebago County, the health department there has posted the names of businesses and how many times they have been cited on its
website. In Sangamon County, the prosecutor there filed against a handful of eateries or taverns to force compliance. And in McLean County, the Normal City Council was considering passing an ordinance to enforce the restrictions. "It varies from town to town and it varies within counties. It depends upon the political bent on the people who are making the decisions," Craven said. "With respect to the COVID mitigation, there are some folks in this state who do not see it to be in their political selfinterest to enforce those mitigations. They would soon tamp down any discussion of who might be involved in violation of those restrictions. "If there was a discussion of those, then there might be some pressure to enforce and they don't want to do that.”
NINA names Dan Campana its new president ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Dan Campana, a communicationsmedia entrepreneur and longtime newspaper reporter and editor, has been named the 2020-21 president of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association. Campana is senior manager for communications with Dan Campana the Emergency Nurses Association. He spent nearly a decade in suburban Chicago newsrooms covering crime, courts, local government and other general assignments. In 2010, he set out on his own as a freelance writer and communications consultant. In the past decade, Campana has written for numerous magazines, local publications and clients. He joined ENA in 2017 as its member magazine's assistant editor and, in 2018, moved into his current role overseeing internal and external communications, including media relations. Campana follows Margarita Mendoza, editor of the El Observador, the Spanish-language monthly newspaper for the Diocese of Rockford. During her leadership in 2020, NINA held a webinar on "Defending Journalism" and a
virtual awards banquet with guest speaker Matt Dietrich of the Illinois State Board of Elections. Joining Campana on the NINA executive board are First Vice President Pat Szpekowski, a freelance journalist, PR Strategies & Communications Inc.; Second Vice President John Lampinen, editor of the Daily Herald; Treasurer Jim Slonoff, publisher of The Hinsdalean; immediate past President Margarita Mendoza; Executive Secretary Jason Akst, Northern Illinois University Department of Communication; and Communications Coordinator Shelley Hendricks, Northern Star, Northern Illinois University. The board is comprised of individuals representing diverse newspaper, journalism, and media expertise Founded in 1962 to promote the newspapers of Northern Illinois, NINA develops programs and workshops to enhance the profession and recognizes journalistic achievements through a prestigious annual contest.
program, a 3-year investigative reporting partnership. ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news outlet, is partnering with six newsrooms nationwide Molly Parker for the program, which funds reporters' salaries and benefits for three years while they produce investigative projects for their local publications. The program is set to run from Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2023. The Distinguished Fellows program grew out of the Local Reporting Network, according to a news release from ProPublica. Parker and The Southern also participated in the Local Reporting Network in 2018, for which Parker spent a year investigating failures in government oversight of public housing. Parker, a Johnson County native and Southern Illinois University graduate, has worked as a reporter for about 20 years, and joined The Southern in 2014.
Molly Parker named ProPublica Nashville News hires Distinguished Fellow Laakko to be its new editor CARBONDALE – The Southern Illinoisan reporter Molly Parker has been selected as a member of the ProPublica Distinguished Fellows
NASHVILLE – Mascoutah native Julie Laakko has taken over as editor of the Nashville News. Laakko has been working for Herald Publications
for about a year, as a reporter for the Mascoutah Herald and the Clinton County News in New Baden. She has also helped edit the Fairview Heights Tribune. Julie Laakko Before her work in journalism, Laakko worked for the Mascoutah Public Library. She graduated from McKendree University in 2017, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and English. At McKendree, Julie played soccer and danced for the Pomcats gameday dance team and the competitive dance team. She was also a member of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society, and Phi Eta Sigma National First-Year Student Honor Society. Julie is the membership chairperson of the Mascoutah Evening Lions Club and is very active in the youth ministry. She writes fiction in her free time and has been featured in two anthologies of fiction by Z Publishing House. She also enjoys drawing, hiking, and spending time with her family. She is engaged to be married to Nicholas Swanson, also of Mascoutah, in April 2021.
Mary Mitchell, Sun-Times staffers honored by NABJ Mary Mitchell
CHICAGO – Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell won two honors Dec. 19 from the National Association of Black Journalists on a night the organization also recognized the work of five other Sun-Times staff members. Mitchell was inducted into the NABJ Hall of Fame, lauded for having "worked tirelessly to fight discrimination, combat domestic violence and hold politicians accountable." Additionally, two Sun-Times reports won
NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards, which recognize "journalism that best covers the Black experience or addresses issues affecting the worldwide Black community.” "Rev. Leon Finney Jr.'s free fall," by Carlos Ballesteros, Tom Schuba, Jon Seidel and Rachel Hinton and published Sept. 8, 2019, was honored in the best news-single story category. "Why tearing down Englewood to save it
hasn't worked," written by Manny Ramos and published Aug. 25, 2019, was named best business reporting. The NABJ also recognized, as finalists for the Salute to Excellence Awards, staffers Maudlyne Ihejirika in the commentary category, Ashlee Rezin Garcia and Lauren FitzPatrick for videography, and Michael O'Brien for best sports.
32 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Reedus is Chicago Reporter interim editor and publisher CHICAGO – The Community Renewal Society has named Glenn E. Reedus as interim editor and publisher of the Chicago Reporter. Reedus has decades of experience as a journalist, with deep roots as a reporter at The Chicago Defender, Ebony Magazine, and Glenn E. Reedus the Chicago Crusader, covering Black and brown neighborhoods and issues such as police brutality, poverty and politics. He served as executive editor of the Chicago Defender and managing editor/writer for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper from 2010 to 2014. Reedus has also written for The Library Journal, DePriest Voters Chronicles, South Suburban News, The Final Call newspaper, The Oakland
Press (Pontiac, Michigan), The City of Pontiac, The Pontiac School District, The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) and The Waterloo (Iowa) Courier. He currently is the publisher and founder of DePriest Voters Chronicles and Beyond, providing coverage and analysis about politics, government and civic engagement in the 17 primarily African-American wards in Chicago.
Ad manager retires from Robinson Daily News ROBINSON – Advertising Manager Winnie Piper’s last day at the Daily News was Dec. 31, which was 48 years to the day she was hired. Through the years, she has worked in almost every department of the paper gaining a vast knowledge of operations and processes. She set advertising copy and classified ads. She wrote a few news stories, took photographs and even did a short stint as "farm editor." Piper was in charge of purchasing
for the paper for 30 years before moving into sales. In 2020, Piper took the reins of the Daily Record advertising department, assuming the manager's position in January. Holly Winnie Piper Gaddis, who joined the Daily News staff in 2020, has been asked to assume Piper’s role.
Mierzwa named president of Law Bulletin Media CHICAGO – Law Bulletin Media announced Jan. 5 that it has appointed Peter V. Mierzwa as president. Mierzwa becomes the 10th president in the company's 166-year history, following Mike Kramer, who passed away in December. Law Bulletin Media, the publisher of the Daily Law Bulletin, is a privately held, Chicago-based information and services company,
delivering solutions and critical data to legal and business professionals. Mierzwa earned his J.D. from the DePaul University College of Peter V. Mierzwa Law and most recently served as group vice president of Law Bulletin Media's Legal Information Group. He joined the company in 2000, taking on increasing responsibilities and contributions across product development, sales, marketing, finance, IT and company management. Before joining Law Bulletin Media, Mierzwa held several key positions at Thomson West (now Thomson Reuters), including product development and management of digital and print products for seven Midwest states. He is a licensed Illinois attorney and has held leadership positions in The Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Thomas Oakley receives national Golden Circle Award Republished from the Herald-Whig of Quincy
Former president and CEO of Quincy Media Thomas A. Oakley receives an award on Dec. 17 from WGEM News Director Chad Mahoney at the Herald-Whig office in Quincy. Oakley received the Gold Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which honors those with 50 or more years of service in the industry. (Herald-Whig photo by Katelyn Metzger)
QUINCY – The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored former Quincy Media Inc. President and CEO Thomas A. Oakley with the Gold Circle award, which recognizes individuals who have spent at least 50 years in the broadcast industry. Chad Mahoney, WGEM news director and NATAS Mid-America executive secretary, said the award was meant to be presented during a banquet at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield but was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Mahoney surprised Oakley with the award at the Herald-Whig building, where Oakley had served as publisher. Oakley said he first started at WGEM
Radio in 1948 but joined QMI full time in 1954 after graduating from Duke University. He would serve as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force until 1957 before returning to Quincy in 1958. Oakley would serve in various positions until becoming president and CEO of the company from 1969 to 2008. For his work to improve transportation and infrastructure in the Midwest and overall leadership, a 60-mile portion of the Chicago-Kansas City Expressway from Quincy to Macomb was named the Thomas A. Oakley Highway. Oakley has earned numerous accolades for his storied career, including the Illinois Press Association Distinguished Service Award, the National Association of Broadcasters Chuck E. Sherman Television Leadership Service Award in 2007 and the Broadcasters Foundation of America Ward Quaal Pioneer Award in 2008.
Media members inducted into state hoops hall of fame News-Gazette sports section, veteran writers named to Class of 2021 Several journalists and The News-Gazette sports section have been enshrined in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame class of 2021. The News-Gazette of Champaign, which for the past 20-plus years has been recognized annually as one of the nation's top sections by the Associated Press Sports Editors, was chosen as one of three organizations of the year. “It takes many dedicated individuals working together and contributing many hours to make this type of organization successful,” said Steve Allen, the IBCA’s recording secretary and a former high school coach. “The News-Gazette has produced the longest running all-state basketball team in Illinois and is repeatedly one of the finest sports departments of any media outlet in the state.” Les Winkeler, who retired in late 2019 after nearly 31 years with The Southern Illinoisan, reached the head of the IBCA’s Class of 2021. Winkeler was also inducted into the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2016, and in retirement has started a business called Winkeler’s Wings and Wildlife. He leads guided trips for those who want to view and photograph wildlife, and will even rent out his own equipment. Check out his passion project at winkelerswingsandwildlife.com. In a story in The Southern Illinoisan about his
retirement, Winkeler said the thing he would miss most about the job was talking sports with coaches before and after games. “I had so much fun with the people I met. Les Winkeler Pete Hayes If you can get someone talking about their passion, you can become friends with a person regardless of your differences,” Winkeler said. Another inductee, Pete Hayes, can match Winkeler’s longevity. In fact, Haynes is still adding onto his resume. He’s covered more than 1,500 prep or junior high boys and girls basketball games over the past 31 years for The Telegraph of Alton. All told, he’s covered preps and college hoops for nearly 50 years, dating back to him getting his start as a high school correspondent for the Olney Daily Mail. He’s been with the Telegraph since February 1982 - when he joined another IBCA hall-of-famer, Steve Porter - and became sports editor in 2000. He attended Olney Central junior college before earning his degree in 1977 from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. Bureau County Republican Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymus was also inducted, in recognition of
him writing sports for 36 years, the past 34 at the Bureau County Republican. Hieronymus has covered five boys teams at state and one girls Kevin Hieronymus Mike Monahan team, plus numerous Sweet 16 games. He estimates he's covered upward of 1,000 prep basketball games in his career. Hieronymus was hired at the Bureau County Republican in November 1986. He worked previously at Tazewell News in Morton and the St. Louis Daily News. He got his start at reporting for student newspapers, including the Olympia High School Torch and Illinois State University Daily Vidette. Former Journal-Gazette & Times-Courier (Charleston/Mattoon) sports writer Mike Monahan also joined the Class of 2021, and said in a column he’s honored to join all the inductees Winkeler in particular. Radio broadcaster Mike McManus, of Centralia Morning Sentinel fame, was also inducted. The IBCA's Hall of Fame banquet is slated to be held in the spring or early summer in Normal.
Heintzelman named publisher of Sauk Valley newspapers DIXON – Jennifer Heintzelman has been named publisher of Shaw Media's Sauk Valley-based products, including the Telegraph in Dixon and Daily Gazette in Sterling, as well as Ogle County Newspapers, The Prairie Advocate, Whiteside News Publications, saukvalley.com and dozens of niche magazines. Heintzelman was previously general manager of those titles. She has spent 26 years in the media industry at newspapers across northern Illinois, the past 14 years at Shaw Media.
Don Bricker, Shaw Media chief operating officer, previously held the publisher title for the Sauk Valley operations now being served by Heintzelman. Heintzleman Jennifer Heintzelman serves on the board of directors of United Way of Lee County, Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street, Dixon Rotary Club and the Sauk Valley CEO. She is also a member of the Illinois Press Association Advertising/Marketing Committee. Heintzelman and her husband, Jeff, reside in Dixon. They have a
blended family of seven children and four dogs.
Tribune reporter Ryan named Illinois Sportswriter of the Year CHICAGO – Chicago Tribune reporter Shannon Ryan is the 2020 Illinois Sportswriter of the Year, becoming the first woman to win the award announced by the National Sports Media Association. Ryan covers college football and basketball and the Chicago Marathon for the Tribune and took on additional responsibilities covering the 2020 election and how the COVID-19
pandemic affected the lives of Chicagoans. Ryan previously worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer before joining the Tribune in 2007. Paul Sullivan, who Shannon Ryan writes the Tribune's In the Wake of the News column, was a finalist for the award. Sullivan, a three-time winner and 39-year veteran of the Tribune, took home the honor last year. White Sox announcer Jason Benetti was named Illinois Sportscaster of the Year, marking his first time winning the award.
34 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Southwest Messenger Press editor publishes novel BRIDGEVILLE – Aidan Grogan, the 22-year-old editor of Southwest Messenger Press Newspapers, recently published his novel, “The Young Ravenshaw.” Southwest Messenger Press owns 14 weekly newspapers in Chicagoland, according to its website. According to a story in the Bridgeview Independent, the 133-page, holiday-themed novel addresses many socio-economic issues, including de-industrialization, automation, the breakdown of the nuclear family, and the opiate crisis. The novel is set in an industrial town
in rural England, where the protagonist, Eugene Ravenshaw, inherits a guitar manufacturing company and weighs whether to keep treating workers as replaceable utilities, or change the company’s course. The book is sold on Amazon.com for $13.95.
Oakland Independent editor contracts COVID-19 OAKLAND – Janice Hunt, who nearly single-handedly puts out the Oakland Independent every week, has come down with COVID-19. Hunt announced she’d contracted the virus in the Jan. 14 edition and asked readers to understand that the
newspaper was smaller than usual, as she’s focused on her health. Hunt’s lone assistant is her mother, Bev Hunt, who proof-reads copy and helps stick the mailing labels on the papers. “It's always the case, but this week it's especially true that I couldn't have gotten this issue out without the assistance of my mom,” she wrote. “Whenever you can give her a pat on the back, please do.” Fewer than 1,000 people live in Oakland. Back in early spring, to give readers a reprieve from the pandemic, Hunt published a board game in the paper called A Walk Around Oakland, in which players moved along the board by rolling a die and visiting sites indicated on the spaces.
Carole Appel URBANA – Carole S. Appel passed away in her sleep Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, at home in Alexandria, Virginia, Carole was born in Philadelphia on Jan. 23, 1937, the daughter of Charlotte and Joseph Stein. She attended Temple University for a bachelor's degree in English and the University of Michigan for a master's in journalism. While at Michigan, she met Kenneth I. Appel, who was finishing his PhD in mathematics. They married in 1959 and moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where they lived for 2 years before settling in Urbana. Their three children were born between 1960 and 1964. In the 1960s, Carole taught English as a second language, and in the 1970s and 1980s, she was an editor at the University of Illinois Press – publishing books, managing academic journals and developing the Women's Studies program for the Press. For the last 60 years of her life, she was active in Democratic politics and an organizer and community leader. In 1993, she and Kenneth retired from
their University of Illinois jobs and moved to Dover, New Hampshire, where Carole became the chair of the Strafford County Democrats, helping recruit and support candidates for state and local office and the U.S. Congress, and becoming actively involved in the campaigns of several Democratic candidates for president, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She was also active in the National Organization for Women and the NAACP. She moved to Alexandria in 2013, continued to be active in political work and made many new friends. She was predeceased by her husband, Kenneth Appel, and daughter, Laurel Appel. She is survived by her sons, Andrew and Peter, and their wives, Maia Ginsburg and Barbara ZamoraAppel; son-in-law, Michael Weir; brother, Howard Stein, and his wife, Lea; six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Donations in Carole's honor may be made to the University of Illinois foundation, uif.uillinois. edu/give/ directed specifically to the "Kenneth
and Carole Appel Legacy Scholarship Fund."
Naomi McCool WARREN – Naomi "Noni" McCool passed away Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, after a vibrant and meaningful 98 years. She was born to Walter and Anna (Mattheis) Lang on Feb. 17, 1922. She graduated from Freeport High School in 1940. She went on to complete a 2-year business course at Brown's College of Commerce. Over the years, she was a proud employee at Foster Implement and later in advertising at the Galena Gazette. She married Van Dyke McCool in Rock Grove on Aug. 15, 1947. Noni was an extremely active member of her community in Warren. She enjoyed her time with the women's club, historical society, community house board, village board, fair board and St. Paul's Lutheran Church, just to name a few. For 20 years, she took great pride in opening her home to others as "Noni's Bed & Breakfast." She was a seamstress for years and
loved sports, especially watching her family and grandchildren throughout the years. She was such a proud and active grandmother, always present at Naomi McCool countless games, musicals, performances; she loved spending time cooking, hiking and playing royal rummy with her grandchildren. She was a wonderful person who was loved by so many and showed her strength and perseverance time and time again. She is survived by her son, John (Anne) McCool, Warren; daughterin-law, Mary McCool, Glenview; five grandchildren: Molly (Dave) Jones, Katie (Ryan) Nichols, Betsy Wallace, Ryan McCool, and Meghan (Alec) Gatziolis; six great-grandchildren; and one sister-in-law, Nancy Tilkemeier. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dyke; beloved sons, Tom and James; and brother-in-law, Robert Tilkemeier. Condolences may be sent to the family at leamonfh.com.
Betty A. Zimmerman URBANA – Betty A, Zimmerman, 90, formerly of Normal, passed away Nov. 29, 2020, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Betty was born to Folkert and Dorothy (Sutton) Broers on Aug. 10, 1930, in rural Minonk. She married Gene Zimmerman on Sept. 8, 1949, and Betty Zimmerman divorced in 1967. He died December 4, 2004. Betty was a loving mother and proud of her brood of seven children and her grandchildren. She was a talented and creative person as proven in her many accomplishments. She loved to sew and made most of her children's clothes when they were young. In retirement, she continued to sew and decorate sweatshirt jackets for family and friends, and sold them at craft fairs. Betty was an exceptional cook. She loved to entertain in her home, offering her delicious food to family and friends. She loved to create whether it was gardening or refurbishing her home. Betty was an exceptional writer. She was the editor of the Minonk News Dispatch from 1971 to 1974 and wrote a column, "From Under the Bushell", depicting her life growing up in Minonk in the post-Depression years. Betty's life took a different direction in 1974 when she moved with her three youngest to Twin Valleys School, an alternative educational community near Wardsville, Ontario, Canada. There she taught cooking, English, and writing skills, and created the community's newspaper. Betty moved in 1976 to Normal, where she was a feature writer and, later, the food writer for The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington. As an empty-nester, Betty fulfilled a lifelong dream and moved in 1986 to California. After 13 years of traveling, working, and making new friends, she retired and returned to her family and friends in Normal. The family thanks everyone at St. Clara's Rehab and Senior Care for the
wonderful care she received these last several years. Betty is survived by her seven children, Janine (Patrick) Cleary, Rebecca Linares, Michele (Dennis) Doyle, Gene Zimmerman Jr., Mary Lisa Zimmerman (Kevin O'Neill), Laurel (Steve) King, and John Zimmerman; 18 grandchildren, Melissa Kneller, Adam Bradbury, Joshua Bradbury, Sarah Bradbury, Benjamin Bradbury, Terra Wyatt, Nathan Doyle, Stephanie Kinsey, Katherine Saint, Anna Zimmerman, Collen Glover, Cameron Glover, Jamie King, Emily King, Meredith Zimmerman, Corryn Zimmerman, Ethan Zimmerman and Gabriella Zimmerman; and 18 great¬grandchildren, Aidan, Ava, and Aaron Kneller, Henry, Maryjane, and Samuel Bradbury, Cameron Ackerson, Madison and Alex Bradbury, Caleb Bradbury, Kadence and Bella Wyatt, Nathaniel Doyle, Josephine and Thomas Kinsey, Austin, Logan, and Morgan Zimmerman-Brown. She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Margaret Broers, Ruth Wilson and Jeanette Broers; grandson, Ian Glover; and great¬grandchildren, James and Charlotte Doyle. Condolences and memorials may be shared at East Lawn Funeral Home Bloomington website, www. eastlawnmemorial.com.
Marjorie M. Johnson PEORIA – Marjorie M. Johnson, 96, of Peoria passed away Dec. 4, 2020. Marge was born Jan. 31, 1924, in Roanoke, Illinois, to Louise and Charles A. Thompson. She married Lt. Col. Herbert M. Johnson USAF (Ret), on June 11, 1955, in North Sacramento, California. He preceded her in death. Marge attended University of Illinois, where she was a member of the debate team. In 1952, she purchased the Roanoke Review from T.P. Pettigrew. She owned and operated the newspaper until 1955, when she sold it to Dr. Burrus
Dickinson. During WWII, Marge volunteered for the American Red Cross, was employed by Caterpillar in the metallurgy lab and supported her parents in the Roanoke Drug store. During this time, she designed and patented the Levelator. In the 1960s, Marge volunteered in the pediatric well baby unit at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson and was president of the Officers Wives Club. Upon returning to Illinois, she was a correspondent for the Peoria Journal Star and Bloomington Pantagraph in the ‘70s and was awarded the state reporter of the year for The Pantagraph in 1972. She served on the RoanokeBenson school board and worked for the Illinois Association FFA in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. She wrote "The First 50 in the FFA, 1929 to 1979" in celebration of 50 years of the program. Marge was a lifelong member of the United Methodist church, where she served in many positions across the country. Marge had many talents and passions from golf, Bridge, knitting to speaking. During WWII, she knitted helmet-liners for the military, and throughout her life, prayer shawls for those in need. While at Proctor Place Senior Living she made more than 60 baby sweater sets, donating all the proceeds to KSSL for Proctor skilled nursing care equipment. Her talent was recognized in 1967, when she won the Best of Fair award at the national wool needlework contest. Her greatest passion was writing. Beyond owning and writing the Roanoke Review, she had articles published in the Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest, Popular Mechanics and more. Her most wellknown writing was the book “BAT21” in 1977, which was transferred for publishing in 1980, about their lifetime friend Col. Eugene Hamilton (Ret). It became a movie in 1988. She is survived by one daughter, Barbara (Joel) Carter. She has three grandchildren, Matthew (Kate) Carter, Laura (Nick) Burke and Michelle (Phil) Wolfe, and three great-grandchildren, Grace, Olivia and Evelyn. Marge was also preceded in death
by her one son Richard Wayne, a daughter, and her parents. In lieu of flowers, please remember her with a gift to the charity of your choice.
Inez E. Quesenberry QUINCY – Inez E. Quesenberry, 92, of Quincy, formerly of Huntsville and Augusta, both in Illinois, passed away at 11 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, at St. Vincent's Home in Quincy. Inez was born April 30, 1928, in rural Warsaw, Illinois, to Carl and Grace Wiley Kropp. She was married to Chester Robert "Bob" Quesenberry on March 30, 1947, in Wilton Junction, Iowa. He preceded her in death Nov. 16, 2014. Over the years, Inez taught at a country school, worked at Schuyler County Home Extension, and later worked at Motorola for seven years. She also wrote Huntsville news for the Augusta Eagle and Rushville Times newspapers. Inez enjoyed drawing, reading, and baking pies. She and her husband also enjoyed beekeeping for many years and sold the honey in the community. Most of all, she loved her time spent with family and friends. Inez attended Huntsville United Methodist Church. Survivors include three children, Romel Tournear (Ray) of Bowen, Robert M. Quesenberry of Mitchell, Indiana, and Judy Weatherford (Ronnie) of Augusta; six grandchildren, Aaron Quesenberry, Amanda Quesenberry, Lori Tharp (Ed), Lea Stoddard (Chris), Ryan Tournear, and Raelyn Cook (Jesse); eight greatgrandchildren, Amelia Schroeder, Bryce, Dylan, and Conner Tharp, Austen and Emersen Stoddard, and Justus and Silas Cook; and two sisters, Mary Urton and Maxine Elliott (John). Inez was preceded in death by her parents; one granddaughter, Rebecca Hager; one daughter-in-law, Brenda Quesenberry; one brother, Harold Kropp; one sister, Evelyn Kropp; one infant sister, Mary Mildred; and one brother-in-law, Don Urton.
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Raymond P. Ewing DEERFIELD – Raymond P. Ewing, 95, passed away Dec. 9, 2020, in Whitehall Nursing Facility in Deerfield. A longtime resident of Kenilworth, he was married for 66 years to his beloved wife, Audrey J. Ewing, nee Schulze, and father of his beloved daughter, Jane (Larry) Ewing Cramer, who predeceased him. He was born July 31, 1925, in Hannibal, Missouri (15 years after the death of Mark Twain, whose life and writings became a lifelong interest), and led an adventurous life from his boyhood years around the caves, Mississippi River, and hills the town afforded, until he was 18 and WWII called, opening his adult years – first as a soldier (U.S. Army, serving in Europe from June 1944 to October 1946, guarding the Red Ball Highway and serving as a member of the occupation force as a member of the German Industrial Control Team, reaching the rank of tech. sgt. by age of 20), then as a GI Bill scholar (A.A. Degree, Hannibal-LaGrange College, 1948; bachelor’s degree, William Jewell College, 1949; master’s degree, University of Chicago 1950, postgraduate work), journalist (continuity writer for Radio Station KHMO, 1948; county correspondent for UP and INS,1949; senior legal editor, CCH,1952 to 1960; freelance literary critic, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Magazine columnist, Radio Station WRSV-FM, 1960 to 1969), corporate executive (corporate communication director then issues management director, Strategic Planning Department, Allstate Insurance Companies Home Office, 1960 to 1985), and university educator (professor and founding director, Graduate Program in Corporate Public Relations, 1986 to 1991, Northwestern University). He selected figurative clay sculpting as his retirement career, pursuing that career from 1992 to the present, never selling his sculptures but giving them to interested parties if they would make
a contribution to the North Shore Senior Center, thereby raising several thousand dollars for his favorite charity. He was the author of more than a dozen articles on socio-political forecasting and issues management, which he was a pioneer practitioner of and management theorist for, and of the book “Managing the New Bottom Line: Issues Management for Senior Executives”, published by Dow JonesIrwin. At the age of 80, he wrote "Should Public Libraries Issue BA Degree Credentials?" for The Public Libraries Magazine, published by the Public Libraries Association. He was also the author of “Mark Twain's Steamboat Years”. The book is still sold at The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and museum there, where he gave his picture collection of steamboats Mark Twain worked on as a pilot and cub pilot and his first editions collection of the author's works. Although he received many awards during his lifetime, the most valued by him was the one awarded by his hometown: The Honorable Order of the Hannibalian. Memorial donations to the North Shore Senior Center would be appreciated.
Thomas A. Wartowski CHICAGO – Thomas A. Wartowski, 73, died the morning of Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, with his adoring wife, Peg, and son, David, at his side, and his adoring first wife, Anna, waiting for him on the other side. His death, from lung cancer, was as peaceful as he had hoped it would be. Tom was born May 12, 1947, in Trittau, Germany, to Leon and Ursula Wartowski. Fleeing their homeland of Poland from invading Russians and seeking a brighter future in a free United States of America, the family arrived at Ellis Island in 1951 on the U.S.S. General W. C. Langfitt. They settled in Chicago, where Leon became wellknown in the local Polish community as a manager of a shoe store, while Ursula was a chief accountant at
Famous Brands and later W.E. Long, a bakery cooperative. Tom grew up in Chicago, attending Jolly Fun Day School, St. Hedwig Grammar School, Weber High School and Truman Junior College. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1971, and later a Jurisprudence Doctorate in 1999. Tom prided himself as being somewhat of a "Renaissance Man." Prior to starting any of his careers, he had worked as a Chicago Park District lifeguard, Checker Taxicab driver, freight handler for American Airlines at O'Hare, day camp counselor, freelance fashion and wedding photographer, inner city photography instructor and security guard at the City of Chicago municipal tuberculosis sanitarium. He also ran his own Chicago porch painting business one summer. He needed only one color of paint: battleship gray. His very first job, however, was selling shoes at the age of 12 in his father's shoe store. Following graduation from NIU, Tom worked at Rockford Newspapers where he started as a photographer and went on to become a reporter, feature writer, chief copy editor and news editor. He also filled in as a substitute teacher for the Rockford Public School District. He left the newspaper in 1979 to work as a personal aide to U.S. Representative John B. Anderson, of Rockford, during the congressman's campaign in the Republican primaries to become the GOP's candidate for the United States presidency. When the effort failed, Anderson ran for president as an independent and appointed Tom as the campaign's Illinois state coordinator. Tom's tireless work helped set a state record for the number of voter signatures collected and filed. After Anderson's loss, Tom opened and operated his own businesses, Thomas A. Wartowski Realtor and Lifestyle Homebuilders, Inc., for 15 years. He built about 100 custom homes and rehabbed countless others. He enjoyed home design and decorating.
After one transaction in which Tom received an island in the Rock River in lieu of compensation, he donated it to the Rockford Park District, which renamed it Wartowski Island. Tom was active in the local Polish community, having organized fundraisers for families of Solidarity union members who helped topple the Communist regime in 1983. He was president of the Rockford Area Association of Realtors; member of the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Chairman of Rockford School District's Discipline Committee; and co-founded the Anna Wartowski Memorial Fund with his son, David. Tom closed his businesses to attend law school and, after receiving his law degree, went to work for the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office where he was well-known for prosecution of domestic violence crimes. Later, as an administrative assistant state's attorney, he directed the modernization of office case management procedures and jail population reduction. Tom said working for the State's Attorney's Office was his favorite job. In retirement, Tom wrote a children's book, “You Are Like an Acorn”, that was intended for his grandchildren, but has since found its way into thousands of other hands. He found great joy in knowing that people, young and old, found meaning in the book. Tom is survived by his wife, Peg; his son, David (Alecia); five stepchildren, Megan Anderson (Matt), Beth Loner (Paul), Greg Wilkerson, Mark (Erin) and Andrew Perez; 16 grandchildren, Annika, Clara and Jackson Wartowski; Mitchell, Masen, Alea, Annie, Maddox, Abby, Anya, Miranda, Myles, and Malachi Anderson; Aly and Emily Loner; Bella Perez; his former wife and longtime friend, Angela Brancato; godchildren Sasha Zullo Gorospe and Allison Zullo Manausa, Scott Cryer, and Thomas Wojewodzki; and very best friend, Allan Zullo.
Jack D. Ehresman METAMORA – Jack D. Ehresman, 87, of Metamora, died Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, at OSF St. Francis Medical Center. He was born May 28, 1933, to John H. and Luella Strickfaden Ehresman in Pekin. Jack married Anna "Ann" S. Mangold on Aug. 10, 1958, in Peoria. Jack Ehresman After graduating from East Peoria High School, Jack attended Bradley University and received his bachelor's degree in journalism. He began writing for the Peoria Journal Star while still attending Bradley, where he was a writer and editor for 45 years. He wrote about many subjects, including local and professional sports teams, and for the last 30 years, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Through his writing, he was able to take his readers on many memorable fishing and hunting trips, including tarpon fishing in Costa Rica, and salmon fishing in Kodiak, Alaska. Jack was a great storyteller and never met a stranger. He leaves behind many friends and family who will miss his great sense of humor, but will treasure the laughs he gave to everyone. Jack loved celebrating life; we often joked he had a birth "week," not day, and that he used the excuse "it was his birthday" for the entire month of May to get what he wanted. A Christian man, he was the best husband, father, grandfather and friend anyone could ever have. He dearly loved and was deeply devoted to his wife of 62 years, and they loved attending their children's and grandchildren's activities together, spending winters in Florida and camping. A tremendous role model, he was adored by his children and grandchildren, and he could always tease a smile from them even on their worst day. He was a trustee of Ducks Unlimited and was passionate about wildlife conservation. He was a member of
the Outdoor Writers Association of America, past president of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, inductee of the Greater Peoria Area Sports Hall of Fame, and charter member of the Illinois Conservation Foundation Outdoor Hall of Fame. His family would like to thank the staff at Snyder Village and OSF St. Francis Medical Center for all the good care they gave him. Jack is survived by his wife, Ann of Metamora; son, Douglas Ehresman of Elmhurst, New York; daughters, Susan (Tom) Ausman of Washington, and Nancy (Brian) McKinney of Lakeville, Minnesota; six grandchildren, Marissa Ausman of Portland, Oregon, Daniel Ausman of Chicago, and Kyle, Allison, Madison and Nicole McKinney, all of Lakeville, Minnesota; and cousins, Shirley Walker, Jim and Frank Brecher. He was preceded in death by his parents and cousin, Betty Jean LeMaster. Memorial donations in Jack's name may be made to Ducks Unlimited, One Waterfowl Way, Memphis, TN 38120; the American Heart Association, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674; or the Hooked on Fishing Park, 1807 N. Main Street, East Peoria, IL 61611.
George Vass MORTON GROVE – George Vass, 93, of Morton Grove, died Dec. 29, 2020. He was born March 27, 1927, in Leipzig, Germany, as a Hungarian citizen to Aloysius and Minna (Blankfield) Vass. After moving to the United States in 1935, George attended the public schools in Springfield, graduating from Springfield High School in 1945. He then served in the United States Army for two years. Upon return, he graduated from Washington University in 1950 and received a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1952. In 1951, George married Theresa Miller, who preceded him in death in 1977. In
1979, he married Joyce Penner, who preceded him in death in 1995. He was managing editor of the National Jewish Post and Opinion from 1935 to ‘55, then was an editor and executive sports George Vass editor at the Rockford Register Republic from 1955 to ‘58. He was a sportswriter at the Chicago Daily News (1958 to ‘78; he was the baseball beat writer from 1965 to ‘78 and also covered the Bulls and Blackhawks) and Chicago Sun-Times (1979 to ‘94). Upon his retirement from newspaper work, he continued to write books and contribute monthly pieces to Baseball Digest. He also contributed to Hockey Digest. He has written over a dozen books on sports subjects, as well as two historical novels, including “Tiberius” and “Our Norman Slander'd King”. George was a devoted and loving father and grandfather. Survivors include two daughters: Sherry (Vince) Winkler and Cindy (John) Savio; two sons: Kurt (Suzy) Penner and Arnie (Beth) Penner; 10 grandchildren: James (Matt Raskin) Winkler, Tony Savio, Michelle (Mike) Talian, Jack (Sarah Brooks) Savio, Brittany Bennett, Nicolette (Taylor) Cross, Katie Penner, Luke Penner, Kyle Penner and Maggie Penner; and one brother, Joseph Vass. Also preceding him in death were his parents and three brothers; Charles, Samuel and John. Donations in George's memory can be made to the American Cancer Society, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601. Sign the guest book at legacy.suntimes.com.
Walter C. 'Walt' Christophersen CHICAGO – Born in Chicago on April 24, 1938, Walt Christophersen, 82, has died. He was one of four children born to Walter C. and Vivian C. (Lotts) Christophersen. The others were Dr. Edward Christophersen of Overland
Park, Kansas; the late Lynn Christophersen of Olathe, Kansas; and Jane Christophersen of Sacramento. Walt was a 1960 graduate of the Walt Christophersen University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Uncertain of what he wanted to do for a living, he stumbled into journalism as a columnist for the campus newspaper, eventually becoming editor-in-chief. After graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Korea, where he followed the same path, joining the staff of a command newspaper as a reporter and later being promoted to editor. Turning down an invitation to attend Officer Candidate School, he advanced halfway through the enlisted ranks to E-5 in 19 months, a feat almost unprecedented outside combat zones. Following his discharge, Walt was hired as a writer and editor for the UPI national broadcast wire in Chicago. Writing about international events fueled a wanderlust that inspired him to leave after two years and go off to see the world. A recounting of his 6-month journey from Beirut to Tokyo forms one-third of his book, “By Ship, Train, Bus, Plane & Sometimes Hitchhiking”, published in 2011. Returning to the U.S., Walt landed a job as a writer and producer at WBBMTV (CBS) in Chicago. After 4 years, he quit to do more traveling, which included visits to South America and dozens of Pacific islands. He tried his hand at travel writing and succeeded in becoming a regular contributor to major Sunday newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Examiner and Toronto Star. In 1973, he got a firsthand look at life on Capitol Hill while serving as Washington press secretary for David Towell, a friend who had been elected to Congress. When Towell failed to get re-elected, Walt resumed his career in TV news, working at stations in San Diego, Greenville, North Carolina, and Columbus, Ohio.
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Vicki S. Delhaye GEORGETOWN – Vicki S. (Finley) Delhaye was ushered into glory on Jan. 11, 2021, surrounded by her children Leah, Ricky, Mike, and Cammy. She was welcomed at Heaven's gates by her beloved mother and her grandson, Shane, who she got to hold in her arms for the first time. Vicki Delhaye Vicki was born March 27, 1950, to John and Donna Finley and was a lifelong resident of Georgetown. Vicki coveted time spent with her children, Leah (Mike) Warren and Richard (Cammy) Delhaye. Words cannot express the pride and joy she possessed for her three grandsons, Justin Warren, Ivaleb and Chase Delhaye, all of whom were extremely close and deeply devoted to their Nana. Her kids and grandsons were her world, and her life was dedicated to making them happy – it was never about herself. She was adventurous and loved to travel. She would spend months planning family vacations and looking forward to their time together at destinations such as Walt Disney, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Destin and Mackinac Island. She was fortunate to enjoy many adventures with her mother and sisters in
Branson and Tennessee. She had a lifelong passion for the piano and enjoyed several concerts with her family. She also looked forward to Sisters Night when they would watch movies and have dinner together. She was truly a beautiful and gifted woman, placing her special touch on multiple weddings, birthdays and showers. She was the life of the party and her sweet smile lit up the room and brought joy to those who saw it. She was very imaginative and was always looking for the latest craft designs (from macrame, to quilted bricks, to sweeper bunnies – you never knew what she would be gifting you with next!) Vicki's long career in the newspaper business began at the Georgetown Independent News, founded by her long¬time friends Hubert and Jill Hotchkiss. She enjoyed working at the paper with her special friend and cousin, Linda Dyer Cummins. After the paper sold to the Lenhart family, she advanced to the position of editor, and was blessed to be able to work with them for many years (still helping type auction listings for Kerry Lenhart, clear up until she became ill in October). After she retired from the News-Gazette, she was fortunate to continue working at The Sidell Reporter until October. Over the years, Vicki won many awards and accolades for her creative
writing and flair for ad design. For many years she penned a column "From Where I Sit'' – filled with humorous or thought-provoking articles. One of the exciting elements of working for a newspaper was getting to interview up-and-coming artists – one of them being Garth Brooks. Vicki had a beautiful sense of humor and was a wonderful friend and great companion who loved helping others. She was supportive of anyone who just needed to talk, offering sound advice and comfort. Vicki was a wordsmith. She was the first person to call when searching for the perfect word. Her presence will always be remembered while sharing family stories at the dining room table. There are so many wonderful memories to cherish, and to say she will be missed greatly underestimates her role in the fives of those she leaves behind. She is survived by her siblings, Karen (Bill) Smith, Donna Kay Meeker and Gary (Laura) Finley; her aunt, Jodi (Ken) Windle, and uncle, Art (Carol) Finley; and many special nieces, nephews, and cousins. She also leaves behind lifelong friend, Brenda (Mike) Larson. Memorials may be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Please join her family in sharing memories through her Tribute Wall at BlurtonFuneralHomes.com.
Marc Michaelson CHICAGO – Marc Michaelson, 91, exceptional husband to June, passed at home Jan. 11, 2021. Family was paramount to Marc, being an uncle and cousin to many, but especially his niece, Sherry and nephews, Bret and Tedd. Marc began his career as a copy boy at Chicago American, later Marc Michaelson becoming sports editor and eventually travel writer. This led to more travel, PR and communications work with the Chicago Tourism Bureau and United Airlines. He traveled extensively to 100-plus countries, but loved Chicago and was its best tour guide. Upon retirement, Marc was active in Niles Township, the North Shore Senior Center and Temple Judea. He restored his beloved 1931 Model A and lunched weekly with fellow antique car lovers. Marc was always ready with a story about the "best" things. And now, he is resting in peace with his beloved June. He was the loving father of David (Annette) and Grant (Mary), and grandfather of Daniel (Quinn), Sarah (John), Nellie and Matthew. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the North Shore Senior Center www.nssc.org 161 Northfield, Rd. Northfield, IL 60093.
Fund in Frisk's name to aid young journalists
Bob Frisk worked at the Daily Herald from 1958 to 2008, and died in May 2020 at the age of 83.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – A fund has been established in the name of Bob Frisk, the Daily Herald’s late, legendary sports editor of half a century, which will support journalism programs at nearby school districts. Frisk, who was hired full-time at the Daily Herald in 1958 and retired in 2008, died in May at the age of 83.
Shortly after his passing, the District 214 Education Foundation received word from an anonymous donor who had given significantly in the past that he wanted to make a $20,000 contribution in Frisk's name. On Dec. 10, the board announced the Bob Frisk Legacy Fund, which will support journalism at District 214, and also Districts 220 and 211.
To donate, visit district214educationfoundation. salsalabs.org/bobfrisklegacyfund/ index.html. Checks also can be sent to the D214 Education Foundation. Note in the memo line "Frisk" with the District (211, 214 or 220) you wish to support. Checks can be mailed to 2121 S. Goebbert Rd. in Arlington Heights, IL 60005.
MADE IN ILLINOIS On our website and in our e-Bulletin email newsletter, the Illinois Press Association has been showcasing fast-rising, future stars in journalism who went to journalism school right here in the Prairie State. Watch our website, e-Bulletins and future PressLines for more "Made In Illinois" stories.
In the room where it happens North Central grad earning master’s degree in Washington Post newsroom By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Editor's Note: This story was originally published Nov. 30 on illinoispress.org. WASHINGTON, D.C. – In any other year, Cheyanne Daniels would have been all over a chance to work in the Washington Post newsroom like ink on paper. The 23-year-old North Central College graduate was accepted into a 1-year master’s program specializing in political and foreign affairs at Northwestern University’s stalwart Medill School of Journalism, through which she’d cover federal government in the nation’s capital. But as late as August, it was still uncertain whether the cohort would work remotely, or in the hallowed – albeit hollowed – Post newsroom. “It was hard because on one hand, you understand that professors had a hard decision and that it was hard to keep following what was happening with the virus,” Daniels said. “But as a student, you also want to know where you’re going to live.” When the professors gave the green light, Daniels, who’d been looking into housing since May, began packing. She said she was prepared to opt out if the cohort would have been remote. “I wanted to be in person,” she said. “I felt like it might be a little bit difficult to do it remotely. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be in DC during an election year, and during all the political divisiveness.” Daniels also took a poignantly pragmatic perspective. Yes, she’s homesick. But in a twist, she’s grateful that it isn’t easy to drop everything on a whim and visit her family in Palos Heights. Her father, David Daniels, had a stroke 2 years ago, and her grandfather, who’s in his 80s, lives with her parents. “Over the summer, I’d come back and be terrified I was bringing something home to my family,” Daniels said.
North Central College graduate Cheyanne Daniels poses outside The Washington Post office, where she is working in a 1-year master's program specializing in political and foreign affairs at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. (Photo by Madison Muller)
The Post, modernized Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are long gone from the office at the Post – and so is everyone else. Daniels’ cohort of 13 and security are the only people in the building. Naturally, they’re required to wear masks. Desks are taped off, and the students must sit in only their seat in the lab room. The interview room must be sanitized after each chat. The kitchen is off limits. Pack your own lunch. And when you’re done eating, mask back up.
“It’s really cool being able to be there, but it is a little restrictive,” Daniels said. It isn’t your 1970s Post newsroom anyway – literally. The cohort is in the newly established newsroom space. To get there, they walk a hall lined with TV screens running down the stories on the docket for that day. Then they have a meeting that runs at least an hour during which they pitch stories and discuss the day’s rundown – who’s filing what, who will be running social media and posting stories.
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40 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
CHEYANNE DANIELS Continued from Page 39 “If you’re not filing a story that day, you’re looking forward and brainstorming more stories and lining up and doing interviews for the next day’s stories,” she said. The work is hardly confined to the newsroom. Outside its walls, reporters are getting a baptism by fire. The team dug in on white supremacists and their impact at polling sites, and how they were turning out people to vote. “I reached out to the KKK, which was a fun time,” Daniels joked. “You guys now have my name and phone number. That’s great.”
‘A journalistic awakening’ Daniels’ mother made sure she developed an appreciation for government and current events at a young age. Amy Daniels sat her little girl down in front of the TV to watch the news when she was 6 and urged her to pay attention to what was happening. As is the case for many young journalists on the rise, Daniels’ career path began with a passion for writing in general. “I thought I was going to publish a book in fifth grade,” she said. “Obviously, that didn’t happen.” A tragedy shook her community when a teacher at Stagg High School lost her battle with cancer leading up to Daniels’ senior year. Two teachers began an oral history project, and Daniels was one of 60 seniors who over the course of half the school year interviewed their fellow students, their parents and the faculty, and then put together a narrative that became a hardcover book. “The whole community came together,” she said. “Stagg was a great place and everything, but there was a lot of racism and privilege. It was one of the most powerful experiences I had in high school, and that was my journalistic awakening. I wanted to amplify those voices that aren’t heard in the community.” The project’s mission was to promote empathy in the community. “That wasn’t really something we saw at our high school,” she said. “It shouldn’t take someone dying to bring us together.” She said the project brought to light how much community members had in common – while also illuminating their differences. Everyone stood to benefit from that education, Daniels said. “We need to remember that just because you have privilege doesn’t mean you’re not struggling,” she said. “But if you are privileged, you might not have any experience with something someone less privileged is going through.”
Leaving her mark at North Central Kay O’Donnell, adviser of The Chronicle student newspaper and associate professor at North Central College, said when she sees her editors taking the time to coach and support reporters via Zoom, she sees reasons for optimism for the industry. She also sees Cheyanne Daniels. “You’d see her able to coach some of the most inexperienced content-creators,” O’Donnell said of the way Daniels managed her staff before and after the pandemic hit and relegated journalists to their dorms and apartments. “She’d spend an amount of time that, I don’t think I’d ever had an editor who spent that sort of time before. Now, I’ve started to see a similar pattern. I hope that becomes their legacy, and one she started.” Daniels said she’s simply paying forward lessons she learned from O’Donnell, as well as from Peter Kreten, director of student media at St. Xavier University, the liberal college in Chicago which Daniels attended before transferring to North Central. “We editors are here for you. That’s how editors should be,” she said. “I just wanted them to know I’m reading their stuff, and that I knew other people should be reading this. It gives a boost of confidence. … If you don’t feel like your editor cares about what you’re writing, or just reading it to factcheck it, you’re not going to be passionate about what you’re writing – whether it’s investigative journalism, the environment. “And if you don’t care, your readers aren’t going to care.” What O’Donnell might miss most is watching news conferences and Congressional hearings in her office, with Daniels sitting nearby, her attention rapt. “She was one of the few who would be upto-date and sit and watch a White House press conference,” O’Donnell said. “We’d both of us have blood pressure-rising conversations, and then we’d be making plans on how to make people care about it.” Daniels has had to keep her blood pressure in check while dealing with leadership, as well. A professor refused to let her cover a Black Lives Matter protest because she felt Daniels couldn’t report objectively and get comment from the hate group. Daniels maintains that while reporting with context is necessary, a reporter should not amplify hate speech. “There’s a difference between saying no
comment was given and painting them in a bad light,” she said. “I don’t want to give [them] that air time that [they’re] so desperate for,” she said. Despite such conflicts, O’Donnell said she’s never seen Daniels in a genuinely bad mood. “She has an exuberance and a joy about her,” she said. “I’ve seen her passionately enraged, yet she’d turn her head and be very polite when somebody walked in the room.”
Elected officials ‘in impossible situations’ Daniels says she’s glad to be a journalist, not an elected official. In her blog description, she states the divisiveness of America “starts with our leaders, who find themselves in impossible situations, unable to agree with one another and thus unable to consider what is in the people's best interest.” She leans liberal, and says political tensions are not limited to a chasm-like aisle between the parties. “I see on one hand, on the Democratic side, some of them are super-progressive and saying the establishment isn’t doing enough,” Daniels said. She then pointed out that when Utah Sen. Mitt Romney broke the party line during President Donald Trump’s impeachment, he was banned from the party’s convention. “It’s the same fight in the GOP,” Daniels said. “It’s this total whirlwind of complete and utter chaos and infighting. How are you to work through that division with the parties themselves and then the communities they serve? I don’t know what the answer is. This is why I’m not in politics. I just talk about what they’re doing. “It’s not possible to make the right decisions when things are so polarized.” Just writing about it can be exhausting, and Daniels is aware of the threat journalists pose to themselves when they don’t take opportunities to disconnect from the job. So she sometimes turns off the news, mutes her social media, and takes regular trips to Pittsburgh to see her boyfriend, Nick Graves, who studies public policy at Carnegie Mellon after getting his bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I think it’s good sometimes to just step away,” she said. “I just stop and let myself binge a Netflix a show for the day or read Harry Potter for the twenty-millionth time. It’s such a cliche to unplug for a short amount of time, but it’s important. I like to eat ice cream.”
MADE IN ILLINOIS
Libby Meyer is tearing it up off the beaten path Monmouth grad thrives at partisan pub, preps for uncertain future By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Editor's Note: This story initially was published Dec. 15 on illinoispress.org. FORT MADISON, Iowa – Dad was a sports editor at the flagship newspaper covering Michigan State University. He’d met Mom when they were both reporters at the NewsTribune in LaSalle. When 27-year-old Libby Meyer thinks about her childhood, let alone her college education, it’s like remembering a completely different world. For journalists, it was. The Meyers – Mark, Christine, Libby and her two kid sisters – moved to Lansing, Michigan, in the early 2000s after her dad landed a job in the newspaper’s features team, “back when there was such a thing,” Meyer said. He ascended to his dream job as sports editor, a role he’d fill until 2011, “when things started getting really rough, especially under Gannett Newspapers.” What a difference 10 more years made. Libby, a 2015 graduate of Monmouth College, after working 4 years at The Hawk Eye, a traditional, down-the-middle daily in Burlington, Iowa, is now the federal reporter for Iowa Starting Line, a reputable-butpartisan Democratic-leaning online publication. “I never really saw myself as a partisan writer,” Meyer said, adding that Starting Line’s mission is grounded in accuracy but favors the Democratic Party. “It’s been a little bit of a challenge to get out of the down-the-middle newspaper writing, Associated Press style. I have a personal point of view, but I never really had that come through in my writing.”
Libby Meyer (pictured third from right) poses with the reporting team of the Starting Line, an online publication that covers politics with a liberal leaning. Next to Meyer is Managing Editor Pat Rynard (center). (Photo provided) That said, she’s seen the writing on the wall for some time: economic hardships, politicians undercutting the Fourth Estate with claims of “fake news”, and the rise of technology that’s hamstrung many traditional shops. So when Iowa Starting Line’s founder and managing editor, former Democratic campaign worker Pat Rynard, contacted her about a job in spring 2019, she entertained the conversation. “I was kind of looking to branch out,” Meyer said. She landed the job and was part of the expansion that included the hiring of four full-time reporters, just in time for the Iowa Caucus. Meyers’ sisters aren’t inclined to follow in their parents’ journalistic footsteps. But what would they think of their
prodigy writing with a slant? “I think they really enjoy it; lucky for me, they share that political persuasion,” she said, laughing. “I think they were happy to see me simply still be in journalism. They know how hard it is to stay at a newspaper these days.”
‘Whirlwind’ kept spinning As the general election neared its close, Meyer was marveling at how close the polls were projecting the race between Republican incumbent Sen. Joni Ernest and her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield. “I don’t think anybody thought the Ernst race would be as close as it is,” Meyer said the week leading up to the election. “It has definitely been a whirlwind. Iowa’s a pretty purple
state, but we all thought Ernst was a pretty popular senator going into this race.” They would have been right – unlike the polls. Ernst won comfortably, by about 6.5 percentage points. What a wild ride it was to that conclusion. Meyer and her coworkers were already in high gear and getting ready to upshift toward the end of winter, with the caucus just months away. “Around caucus time, Iowa tends to be the center of the political universe,” she said. Then the pandemic hit. Covering the caucus usually means lots of travel, long hours and fatigue. Suddenly, the travel element vanished.
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MADE IN ILLINOIS
U of Chicago senior Wisconsibly covers Badger State Maroon editor immerses herself where national media touches down for a day By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Editor's Note: This story was initially published Dec. 16 on illinoispress.org. It was a rich sample of blue-collar Wisconsin: farmers markets and the farms stocking them, parks, ice cream shops, gas stations, and, when COVID-19 protocols were followed, local party offices. From Aug. 13 to 29, Caroline Kubzansky left no hay bale unturned as she navigated the virus and country roads to gauge the political
temperature in the far reaches of the swing Badger State that flipped blue in the 2020 presidential election. The 21-year-old University of Chicago Caroline Kubzansky fourth-year student and managing editor of the school’s newspaper, The Maroon, insisted one thing go on the record after she recounted the surreal experience during a phone interview Dec. 15. “I want to underline three times that I would not have done it if I
didn’t think I could keep 6 feet away, outside, and do it safely,” she said. As part of her internship with WisPolitics, she scoured Kenosha County before driving to Winnebago County (now a Covid-19 hotbed southwest of Green Bay), where she covered a Trump rally in an airport hangar. Next she covered ultra-rural white Crawford and Adams counties near Madison, before making the 7-hour journey through mostly deep-red country to Sawyer County, a traditional bellwether in the Northwoods. “It was very lonely,” Kubzansky
said. “It wasn’t, ‘Reporter settles in with the community.’ It was ‘Reporter draws a 6-foot bubble.’ I got groceries once.” She did some door-to-door canvassing, “attempted” meeting sources at local bars, “although that’s sort of cliched,” she said, and felt her skin crawl at some places where COVID-19 protocols were not being followed. Kubzansky was grateful to the university’s Institute of Politics for footing the AirBNB bills so she could feel safe in single-person lodging.
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LIBBY MEYER Continued from Page 41 “We went from a thousand miles a second to nothing,” Meyer said. “I missed covering events and talking to voters and getting those on-the-ground moments of the election. It’s not as much fun to be covering an election from your home. But there’s been no shortage of things to write about, and I think it makes you appreciate the events you do get to cover.” Meyer took better to working remotely than others who have struggled to cut the cord between work and personal life. “I feel like journalists, people nowadays put a little bit of pride behind the workaholic mentality,” she said. “I don’t want to say I don’t work hard, but when the work is done, I’m not super-focused on work. I’m always looking at Twitter and I get notifications on my phone, but if I don’t have to be actively staring at a screen in the evenings, I don’t.” So she gets her kicks, goes to bed early, and gets up rested and raring to go. “Me overdoing it isn’t helpful for myself or my writing,” she said.
The post-election world So, what now? Meyer is hopeful her job will continue to be viable now that the most attentiongrabbing election in history has come to its unceremonious close.
But again, she’s a realist. “It’s a small business, and the expansion of the Starting Line team really just started,” Meyer said. “Hopefully we can still maintain a small team, even without an imminent election.” Her tone is cool, as if she’s not concerned if her position should be eliminated. Nor is her advisor from Monmouth’s student newspaper, The Courier. Duane Bonifer, the college’s associate vice president of communications and marketing, as well as president of the Kentucky Kernel Press at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, said Meyer is well-equipped for the gig economy. “That’s where the US economy is headed as well,” he said. “Today’s college graduates are headed to a gig economy where they’ll be asked to wear a lot of different hats and work a lot of different jobs at the same time. You’re not working 25, 30 years, and getting the gold watch and the pension anymore. That doesn’t exist anymore.” There will, however, always be room for investigative journalists with whip-smart minds. “She’s just a naturally curious individual,” Bonifer said, “and she can take complex information, understand it and figure out the best way to relay it to readers.” Meyer also understands the importance of both breaking news and taking a long view.
“She does a good job figuring out whether it’s something you do in a story or a series of stories over time,” Bonifer said. “Or is it background that helps you better explain an issue?” He said Meyer’s education at a liberal college serves her well, that programs such as Monmouth’s focus less on specialization and more on developing “the five-tool athlete.” “When they have a liberal arts education, in a lot of ways they’re not prepared just for their first job, but they’re prepared for the last job they’ll have,” Bonifer said. “There’s still going to be a Des Moines Register of some kind, doing something. The Hawk Eye might go away.” Bonifer said the world is wide open to Meyer. “I’d love to see her stay covering politics, but I just think she has a lot of tools,” he said. “I could see her 10 years from now working for an investment firm, going out and reporting on an industry and giving them information on an industry. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her make a documentary on politics.” Meyer admits she’s considered a career as a freelancer. She’s doing her research and keeping knees bent. Who knows? Maybe she could replace Bonifer someday. “I could definitely see myself working for a college or a university,” she said.
MADE IN ILLINOIS
Fast-riser has North Side suburbs covered Dominican grad Marty Carlino co-founds media group 3 years out of college breaking news or a big story, but having boots on the ground every day, and covering every aspect of the community,” Carlino said. Losing his first job out of college was a gut-punch. “I’m not gonna lie, it was tough,” Carlino said. “It was a crushing blow. The proverbial blood, sweat and tears had gone into that publication and making sure the paper came out each week – a lot of long hours and late nights. “But I never questioned my intentions to stay in the news industry.”
By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Editor's Note: This story initially was published Nov. 23 on illinoispress.org. WILMETTE – Marty Carlino admits he had a limited worldview before he co-founded a hyperlocal news outlet. “I was 100 percent the sports guy in college,” the 25-year-old Dominican University graduate said. “I just didn’t have a variety in what I covered early on.” His adviser at the Dominican Star, communications professor John Jenks, wasn’t about to let that continue. “Of course, I wanted to volunteer on the sports beat, but he said, ‘Uh, uh, no way, you’re getting out of your comfort zone,’ ” Carlino said, laughing. Jenks put him on the student government and politics beat, where he thrived. “The thing about Marty is initially, he came in kind of cautious about things,” Jenks said. “But he’s really curious about things, and once he does get curious, he plans through what he needs to do to find out more about something and how to make it happen with coverage. He’s hard-working, and he follows through.”
Laying the groundwork in college
Launching Record North Shore Carlino, who graduated in spring 2017, co-founded The Record North Shore, a publication that covers five Chicago North Side suburbs, Winnetka, Wilmette, Glencoe, Kenilworth and part of Northfield. He and his co-founders had to re-rack March 31, when 22nd Century Media folded under duress of the COVID-19 pandemic and left them unemployed. Joe Coughlin was the publisher of the media group, which published 14 weekly newspapers, and Megan Bernard was editor of two of those publications, the Winnetka Current and The Glencoe Anchor. Carlino was editor of The Northbrook Tower, where he “fell in love with hyper-local journalism.” “I’m a huge believer in hyper-local news, and more so I believe in the model because it brings the community all the stories it cares about,” Carlino said. They wasted no time planning the new media group, with Coughlin diving into the paperwork to get The Record North Shore certified as a
Marty Carlino interviews Major League Baseball player Jason Kipnis in June 2019 at the opening of the Northbrook Baseball Kipnis Center. Kipnis, who grew up in Northbrook, played last season with the Chicago Cubs. (Photo provided) 501(c)(3) nonprofit. They launched a Kickstarter campaign and created a video with members of the community at the forefront. The trio built an editorial board that includes Jenks and J.A. Adande, the director of sports journalism at Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism who’s better known as a longtime ESPN columnist. Sports buffs will recognize him after he spent 13 years on the popular sports banter program “Around the Horn”. In addition to writing byline stories and editing content for The Record North Shore, Carlino hosts its podcast along with Coughlin. The topics, naturally, are laser-focused on what matters to their listeners. “That’s not just being there when there’s
Jenks said he saw Carlino’s dedication firsthand, and that he could always count on Carlino to do whatever it took to put out the Dominican Star on time, from reporting to editing and paginating in the wee hours of the morning. “He’d be up in the Mac lab doing all the work from the very start to the very end,” Jenks said. “He didn’t just pop in. He’d really work the details.” Carlino is a pro’s pro who defies stereotypes, however unfair, of millennials and members of Generation Z. “When I’d tell him to talk to so-and-so, he’d do it; he always follows through,” Jenks said. But Carlino also has a dry wit about him and a knack for wordplay. “He’d come off very serious, and then he’d say something funny, something that made you say, ‘Huh?’ ” Jenks said. He saw Carlino’s star truly rise when he covered the Berwyn community specifically as part of a journalism project his senior year of college. In addition to covering meetings and hard news, Carlino wrote about sports bars and interesting things community residents were doing. “He really kind of got a good handle on what was going on there,” Jenks said. “He really got into it, and did some really good stories.” Carlino said one story he covered in college that stands out in his mind is when the university banned tobacco use on campus. “It was a big deal at the time. I believe there was a decent population at Domincan that were smokers,” he said.
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CAROLINE KUBZANSKY Continued from Page 42 But she still thought critically about the trip before hitting the road. “I seriously considered the implications and the example it set for me to be traveling under these circumstances,” she said. “I’m someone who very strongly subscribes to social distancing. So I took a gallon of hand sanitizer and stood on a lot of sidewalks 6 feet away from people.”
cares about communities. She knows she needs to immerse herself in a place and not make assertions.” That’s the job, Kubzansky said. She said she read some national pubs “just as sanity checks,” but mostly stuck to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and, of course, WisPolitics. “This is what the local media exists to do,” she said.
Not a ‘political football’ fan
Leaning on mentors
Kubzansky spent 3 days in Kenosha County canvassing sidewalks and searching country homes and farms for locals she could talk to safely. “Fortunately it was summer, so a lot of people were outside in their yards,” she said. “I’d just approach them and ask if they’d be willing to talk to me about politics and bills that affect them.” Two days after she left the county, a police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, and the national media swarmed the City of Kenosha. “People were really eager to turn it into a political football,” Kubzansky said, with an edge in her voice. “It made me sad that so much of it was about how Kenosha would vote. I met a lot of people in the couple of days leading up to that, and I could guess how they were responding to the unrest there. Having gotten to know a lot of people pretty closely, I was really sad to see this happening, knowing they were really freaked out.” Her report on the state of the county includes a half-dozen sources from various walks of life and political leanings, from the chairs of the county’s parties to a former columnist, a former Democratic Senate candidate, and a writer and customer language analyst up in arms over “the left … condoning violence as an expression of emotion.” “She knows the difference between parachuting in for a story, and having spent a little bit more time there,” said Melissa Navas, the IOP’s career development director and a mentor to Kubzansky. “In political journalism, you’ll have people fly in and go to a local diner. At her heart, she
dogged journalists. “Sometimes, I have to remind her to just take a deep breath,” Navas said. “I don’t want her to burn out on it early. She is hard-wired to be a journalist. She has this curiosity that will serve her well, and has served her well so far.”
Ready to report where needed
As polling in Kenosha County began to tilt toward Donald Trump, Kubzansky reached out to another mentor to further assuage her anxiety. The previous summer, she’d interned for The Iowa Project, where she met David Yepsen, a veteran political reporter and a fixture in Iowa public TV. “He provided a long-lens view on the whole thing. He’s known the Iowa political scene since 1976,” Kubzanky said. “He’s a lovely dude who’s invested in seeing younger folks come up in journalism.” It’s immediately evident in a conversation with Kubzansky that she’s hard-wired for journalism. Over the past 2 years, she’s regularly surprised Navas in her first-floor office on campus. “She’ll just pop into my office with this intensity,” Navas said. “I can tell in her eyes that she wants to talk about a story, or journalism ethics, or anything that isn’t sitting right with her.” Kubzansky has been involved with The Maroon “since [she] stepped foot on campus as a freshman,” and since being voted in as managing editor days before the pandemic hit, has stepped up and become a mentor herself. “She’s got this incredible mind for structure and organization, but also for encouragement,” Navas said. Navas swelled with pride when The Maroon published a story on the campus shutting down the day before the announcement was made. The coverage during the pandemic in general was top-shelf. But the relentless coverage also exposed the ironic weakness Kubzansky shares with most
Kubzansky did the interviews for this piece from her parents’ house in Washington, D.C. She said she chose to attend the University of Chicago, “because I’m a big nerd.” “I got to Chicago and took one look at what I saw,” she said. “I saw a lot of other people who put a lot of stock into books.” Because the university doesn’t have a J-school, she’s majoring in English and philosophy. The novels she’s read over the years lend to morals and “say something about the best way to live,” she said. Before arriving in Chicago, she mostly read longform journalism in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and the like. Being assigned to the development beat - “which I kidded and called the gentrification beat,” she said - and covering emotionally charged topics like the proposed extension of the Green Line on Chicago’s South Side, her focus has become hyper-local. Kubzansky is enamored with the public squarefocused City Bureau, and she calls working for Block Club, which covers all aspects of the city’s underserved neighborhoods, “a dream of mine.” But she’s moved by news that hits hardest in the rural Midwest: from the dairy crisis and the defundthe-police coming home to roost, to brain drain and indiginous people’s role in local civic machines. So living and working in, say, St. Croix County along the Wisconsin-Minnesota border would work as well as staying in the city that’s captured her heart. “It would be tough from a personal perspective, but I need work,” she said. “And I’d definitely go work in St. Croix County over CNN in a heartbeat.”
first. It was a moment of pride, and people cared about it.” That hyper-local focus helped Carlino get hired at 22nd Century Media before the ink had dried on his diploma, just weeks after graduation, and it’s front and center at The Record North Shore. Carlino said he puts an emphasis on covering every corner of the community. For instance, when he satisfies
his appetite for sports and covers events, he makes a conscious decision to cover often-overlooked sports such as cross country. “It just builds trust in your news outlet and lets your community know you’re going to be there when news happens,” he said. “It helps you show your newsroom is able to produce stories they really care about.”
MARTY CARLINO Continued from Page 43 He and another staffer at the Star got a tip from someone they’d worked with, and Carlino followed it like a hawk to the next student government meeting. “We were able to announce the story before the university announced it,” he said. “It was my first scoop so to speak, and when I got that adrenaline rush, I’d never felt anything like it. We were proud to be the ones who reported it
MADE IN ILLINOIS
The head and the heart The Daily Illini editor boasts rare combination of empathy, ferocity By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Editor's Note: This story initially was published Dec. 4 on illinoispress.org. CHAMPAIGN – Before JJ Kim spoke to a domestic abuse victim about her fight for justice, and her fear for her life, they talked about a Matthew McConaughy flick. “She went through a traumatic experience,” the 20-year-old editorin-chief of The Daily Illini said. “Going into it, I really wanted to make sure she was comfortable. I wanted to have a conversation like I was a longtime friend.” Over the course of 4 hours in a Starbucks on campus, they talked movies. “Interstellar”, specifically. He got to know Hana Inman-Grabow as a person. She’s as intrigued as he was about transcendentalism. She’s into astrology. She was also missing classes because she knew that on her way there was a chance she’d run into Lere Oladipo, a sophomore defensive lineman on the university’s football team. They shared a route to class. After all, they live very close to each other. Yet Inman-Grabow was determined to hold Oladipo accountable for severely beating her on multiple occasions. She didn’t want to remain anonymous. “She wanted to be named so that survivors going through the same thing would be encouraged to step forward,” Kim said. He helped her share her story, which undoubtedly resonated with others in abusive relationships, and students who felt reports to the Title IX office would be fruitless. InmanGrabow told Kim that for many the office designated by federal law to
University of Illinois student JJ Kim works at his apartment in Champaign recently. Kim, a junior, is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Illini student newspaper. His reporting on domestic abuse on campus helped led to the dismissal of a member of the university’s football team. (Photo provided) investigate reports of abuse was “just there to look good on paper.” “And she was living in fear that, now that she’d shared her story and tried to get justice for it, he’d come after her,” Kim said. “That really opened my eyes.” Leading up to the interview, Kim consulted his sports journalism professor and mentor, Jean McDonald. She gave him some basics:
break the ice, don’t immediately turn on the recorder. That sort of thing. But you can’t teach a student how to be empathetic. “He’s a compassionate kid. He cares a lot,” McDonald said. “He’s interested in what people have to say, and he’s curious, which is one of those key components you always want in a journalist. You can’t teach that. It has to be intrinsic.”
As Kim pointed out, you couldn’t treat such an interview “like this is a sports press conference or something.” Funny, since before being promoted to managing editor of reporting, Kim had served as The Daily Illini’s assistant sports editor. So he was all too familiar with athletic departments’ behaviors.
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JJ KIM Continued from Page 45 “Football is such a big moneymaker for this school,” Kim said. Oladipo was dismissed from the team Nov. 19, 2019. He violated five student codes, from causing bodily harm and stalking to behaving in a way that kept InmanGrabow from participating in the university community. While those violations warranted dismissal from school, Oladipo remains enrolled, with a dismissal held in abeyance sanction until he graduates. “Just because he was a football player, I think he was able to get off the hook for this,” Kim said. Kim’s reporting was undoubtedly the reason that shortly after the story ran, he received an anonymous email from a rape survivor. She discussed going on the record. And then she vanished, without ID’ing her assailant. “I wished I could have done something more,” Kim said. “Maybe I could have phrased something better.” He wanted to help her and others. Sure, a byline story would have generated a ton of eyes and clicks, but that didn’t matter to Kim. “When it first happened, and she first wouldn’t reply for a week, for me the byline and the clicks were secondary,” he said. “This is a real person who went through an experience no person should go through. “If my friends or family are hurting, I’m hurting, too.”
Congratulations, I’m sorry When The Daily Illini’s editorin-chief accepted an opportunity to study abroad, Kim applied for the job. He got it. “As soon as I got the job, within the week, the pandemic hit,” Kim said. “My biggest concern was the safety of our staff.” He canceled the print edition for the semester and made sure safety precautions were ironed out,
communicated, and followed to a “T”. Then he organized game nights. “We went from people who were almost living in the newsroom together. I couldn’t even see my staff face-to-face in the newsroom,” Kim said. “Team bonding was my biggest concern, and I didn’t want anyone to feel isolated.” He and his staff got together virtually to play Jackbox games, such as Drawful – a game in which players try to draw a clue on their smartphones, and then guess what all the others have drawn. Talk about a way to get to know your staff, right? “Oh, so this is the way this person thinks to describe a certain thing,” Kim said, laughing. He said the team hit its stride over the summer, and has since done great work. For instance, The Daily Illini just published a guide that shows every university employee’s salary. “These are taxpayer dollars that are paying these officials,” he said. “We’re making sure there’s nothing fishy going on. That’s what makes me so proud, is we’re an independent daily student newspaper. To keep them accountable for their actions is something I take very seriously.”
A coachable sports writer As a teenage, die-hard Chicago Bears fan, Kim learned the art of the scoop. He’d attend training camps in Bourbonnais, scrutinize rookies’ performances and then post his observations on a subreddit. “People are dying to hear how the new players are performing,” he said. He subscribed to every sports media source worth its salt – from WGN to The Athletic – and found his analyses were on par with those of the most grizzled sports writers, and that they shared a lot of thoughts on what was going on in
camp. He also had a lot in common with McDonald, who despite not being a sports buff, previously served as the sports editor of Jean McDonald The News-Gazette in Champaign. “I like the fact that sports is a microcosm of the world,” McDonald said. “If you can do sports, you can do any other beat.” She immediately recognized not only Kim’s talent, but also his insatiable curiosity and relentless work ethic. When they weren’t in class, Kim could often be found picking McDonald’s brain in her office in the basement of Gregory Hall. She introduced him to other professors, who would return with rave reviews, marveling at the sheer number of questions Kim asked them. In McDonald’s sports reporting class, Kim not only got access to press boxes, fields and courts of play, locker rooms, and the great minds of sports media. He also formed irreplaceable bonds with two classmates who are now his roommates and co-workers at The Daily Illini – the sports editor and assistant sports editor. “It’s the ones who are fearless who get the best experiences,” McDonald said. Kim relished those opportunities, but had his eyes forward. “But I’ve always been fascinated by news,” Kim said.
'A quiet assassin’ Kim is genial and respectful. He says he’s doing OK in his role, but that he has a long way to go. “He’s a quiet assassin,” said Ben Holden, who teaches two intro classes at the university and, notably in Kim’s case, media law. “If there was one steak, and we were both starving,
I wouldn’t want to be in that fight with him.” Kim said he was fascinated by what he learned in Holden’s class. “Learning the intricacies of the Ben Holden Constitution was very fascinating,” he said. “Growing up, I thought it was black and white. I realized there’s so much gray area left for interpretation and critical thinking.” He’s considering getting his law degree after he finishes his undergraduate work in journalism. Kim admires the career Holden has carved out. In addition to a heralded career in law, he served as editor-in-chief at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Georgia, and was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal. “I can have the best of both worlds,” Kim said. “I can get a law degree and then come back and be a kickass reporter.” Holden recalls going over an exam in media law. His students were groaning over their grades and jockeying for credit on questions they’d gotten wrong, claiming the questions weren’t clear. Holden calls himself a “creampuff” when it comes to grading, and he’s sympathetic when it comes to grading on a curve. “These are kids who are getting a 3.8 or a 3.9, who thought they were going to get an A, and then they get a C or an F,” Holden said. The griping went on for about half an hour, Holden said. Kim aced the exam – the same way he aced the two intro courses he’d taken through Holden – and approached him after class. To paraphrase, he said the students needed to suck it up and do the work. “I thought it was funny as hell,” Holden said. “There’s a line between arrogance and confidence. If you can do it, it isn’t bragging.”
MADE IN ILLINOIS
It’s lather, rinse, shuffle, repeat Columbia College senior, Kendall Polidori, relies on music to navigate new role, pandemic By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Editor's Note: This story initially was published Dec. 15 on illinoispress.org. CHICAGO – As the ceiling fan whirred, Kendall Polidori lay on her back on her hardwood bedroom floor and let the soothing sounds of Duke Ellington wrap around her like a blanket. Countless times since the pandemic began, the 21-year-old Columbia College senior found herself in that supine position, self-medicating with the debut from indie-pop upstart Beebadoobee, her favorite album of 2020, Phoebe Bridgers’ “Punisher”, and of course the unmistakable jazz stylings of “Duke”. “Super-soothing. I’ve been literally putting his stuff on shuffle,” she said. “Just trying to unwind and be in my own presence.” An old soul, Polidori listens to the albums front to back, from the drop of the needle at the edge until the empty scratchiness after the last track has played, her back aching, but her soul at ease. “I straight lay on my back, on the hardwood floor, and it’s not comfortable,” she said, laughing. “I just sit and put the ceiling fan on low and watch it as it spins.” Music vibrates like a tuning fork at Polidori’s core, and its ethereal pull has guided her through the lightning storm of anxiety that thundered into the world in March, and then intensified when Polidori and Mari Devereaux, also 21, became coeditors of the Columbia Chronicle early this fall semester. On the eve of the first presidential election in which Polidori has
Kendall Polidori, a senior at Columbia College in Chicago, is pictured here during a political journalism conference in 2019 in Greenwich Village in New York City. (Photo provided) voted, let alone covered, she turned to her old friend, music, for a pressure release, as she wrote a column about the perseverance of Chicago musicians during the pandemic. “Behind the intersecting political discord and a health crisis plaguing
the nation, there is one thing that can offer even the slightest glimpse of hope: music. … Music is a microcosm of human decency displayed during difficult circumstances and, politics aside, it is important to sustain communities when the government does not.”
In 2 years with the Chronicle, Polidori has covered a vast array of topics, from the full-throat celebration of Lollapalooza to the most polarizing modern election to another issue fraught with tension: Title IX. The federal civil rights law provides protections against sex discrimination, but universities’ offices have come under fire for mishandling investigations, or simply conducting them so everything appears above-board. So as Polidori delved into the topic, her heart raced when she picked up the phone to interview lawyers. “I thought they were totally going to school me,” she said. “I didn’t want to ask something and sound dumb, or misword something.” She learned to swallow both her pride and her anxiety, as she adopted a simple-yet-effective trick: honesty. She’ll readily admit to a source when she doesn’t understand the topic, then asks for them to break it down and explain it. “I’ve found that people are actually more helpful with student journalists,” she said. People from all walks of life can appreciate the crippling anxiety Polidori broke through. “Any assignment I have, no matter how many times you’ve done that, because I struggle with anxiety, that’s definitely hard,” she said. “You overthink it, and all the ways you’re going to talk to the person. Once you actually do it, you’re in the flow, and you wonder what you were worried about.” Travis Truitt, Columbia College’s general manager of student media and a 2009 alumnus, said that anxiety speaks to Polidori’s strength.
See KENDALL POLIDORI on Page 48
48 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
KENDALL POLIDORI Continued from Page 47 “You don’t get anxious or nervous if you don’t care,” Truitt said. “If you’re a musician, to touch on Kendall’s favorite topic, you’re going to feel anxiety – even if you’re a professional performing on the Grammys. She wants to put out the best version of herself and a good story. She wants to seem credible to the sources she’s reaching out to.” He said channeling anxiety is a life skill Polidori is developing fast. He caught glimpses of her gumption before she set foot on campus. Polidori spent her first three semesters of college at Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’s originally from Streamwood, and she wanted a more hands-on experience than she was getting at Grand Valley State. So she looked up Truitt and called him directly. “That’s not something a lot of students do,” he said. “They don’t start the process of wanting to work for us prematurely.” Being an empath allows Polidori to emote compassion and sympathy to victims of discrimination and abuse – many of whom, because of the pandemic, have had to sit through hearings – with their assailants in attendance. “It’s very traumatizing,” she said. “Students may not even be on campus, and they may not be in a safe place to be on a Zoom call and to talk about what’s happened to them.” Polidori takes the decision on whether to keep a source anonymous very seriously. “We have a very long conversation,” she said. “You want to have that person’s name with it, and attach that to the story. But if a person feels in danger, or that there are risks, we want to be conscious of that.” Whether it be pulling back the curtain and admitting to a source she has a blind spot, or making decisions with great consequence, Polidori knows she’ll always be learning. “I feel very confident in my role as
well work all day. It’s so dangerous,” she said. “I was putting in a crazy amount of hours to begin with, before the pandemic. The news cycle was crazy to begin with. It’s neverending.” Safety is first and foremost, Polidori said, whether it comes to making sure staffers are doing all they can to be safe from the coronavirus, or that they’re in a healthy headspace to take on an assignment. While she’s been in a newsroom only during her college life, it’s tough to fight back the reflex to go and get the story, to knock on an administrator’s office door when they’re unresponsive. “Having to rely on a phone call is the worst thing in the world,” she said. Despite the barriers, Truitt marvels at the Chronicle’s accomplishments.
The National (award)
Kendall Polidori, pictured here in the broadcast studio at Columbia College in Chicago, is the co-editor of the school’s student newspaper, the Columbia Chronicle. The staff’s coverage that prompted the college to install touchless faucets on all sinks during the pandemic earned the Chronicle a fourth-place national award from the Associated Collegiate Press. (Photo provided) a journalist now, but it’s something I’ve learned in time,” Polidori said, “and I have a long way to go.”
Guided by Voices There’s this misconception that anxious people don’t enjoy communicating. The reality is quite the opposite. It’s the just the whole starting-the-conversation thing that’s a barrier. Once Polidori gets people talking, her heart sings.
“That’s my whole thing is amplifying voices,” she said. “That’s my favorite part of journalism.” She said managing staff, which includes students with little to no experience or even just a passing fancy in journalism, is a challenge. “It’s difficult to build rapport with somebody through a Zoom meeting,” she said. “I love communication and checking in on people.” Polidori also makes it a point to check in on herself. “I’m home all day, so I might as
Early in the pandemic, college administrators were trying to hit a moving target as they tracked the virus’ spread and announced mitigation policies. In the process, similar to their colleagues coast-to-coast, they either missed the elusive targets or put out information that sent ripples of confusion through the student body. What was the timing, and the extent of the latest closure? Which classes were canceled altogether, and which were going online? Columbia is an arts and media college, so would dance, theater, and music groups ever be able to meet, and when? “People were asking whether they should resume shooting film for their thesis project,” Truitt said. “Everyone wanted to know, for the cost of tuition, am I going to be getting my money’s worth?” The cavalry arrived, in the form of the Chronicle.
See KENDALL POLIDORI on Page 49
MADE IN ILLINOIS
‘Make your fear make you right’ – and write Daily Northwestern chief Marissa Martinez overhauls newsroom culture, emphasizes diversity By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Editor's Note: This story initially was published Dec. 4 on illinoispress.org. CHICAGO – As editor-in-chief of the Daily Northwestern, Marissa Martinez has built a culture where reporters and editors call it what it is. Hate group incites violence. LGBTQ community overlooked. Officer kills Black man. In the few days after George Floyd was killed slowly in broad daylight, lying prone on a street in Minneapolis, Martinez, a 22-year-old senior at Northwestern University studying journalism, Spanish and sociology, couldn’t say exactly what was going on inside of her, or the industry she’d
worked so hard to be a part of. “I was so sad and out of it as a student and a person,” she said during a Zoom interview in early November. “I was confused and angry and hurt, but I had to keep showing up and editing these stories, while my world was falling apart.” Marissa Martinez She read report after report and scrutinized the media’s handling of Floyd’s murder. She cringed at the sight of phrases like officer-involved shooting, and other vague descriptions. “How come we can’t get it right?” Martinez asked. “Why can’t we say exactly what’s happening?” Martinez, who is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Asian
American Journalists Association, decided they’d get it right at the Daily Northwestern. She sat down and wrote an all-staff email she said many of her predecessors couldn’t have written. “They couldn’t encapsulate what was wrong,” said Martinez, who’s just the fifth Black editor-inchief at the Daily since 1881. “I wanted to make sure my reporters were paying attention to the way they were talking about certain things.”
The story also won a fourth-place national award from the Associated Collegiate Press.
– from the Paint the City Project to virtual drag shows. Naturally, it’s devoted plenty of coverage to the music scene, including hyper-local coverage of collaborations that have kept record stores and bands afloat, and the widespread impact of the national Save Our Stages Act that, if it weren’t hung up in Congress as part of the HEROES Act, would provide a $10 billion boost to live music venues affected by the pandemic. “[Reporting on music] has more depth to it,” she said. “You’re not just reporting on an artist’s album or reviewing a live show. We get to tell more personal stories that we would have without the pandemic.” Polidori has done plenty of self-exploration this year. Even her taste in music has gone through something of a metamorphosis, as she’s gravitated toward folk, blues and soul. When told Taylor Swift had pivoted to folk in her latest album, “folklore”, Polidori said she’d maybe listen to it. Maybe. “I’ve never really listened to Taylor Swift, and when something is overhyped, I … I like to discover things for myself,” she said. With literally hundreds of recordings featuring “Sir Duke”, she need not be in a hurry.
Working through a ‘mushroom cloud’ Employers take notice when they get an application from a candidate who attended the Medill School of Journalism. In November 2019, Northwestern’s prestigious school truly became
See MARISSA MARTINEZ on Page 50
KENDALL POLIDORI Continued from Page 48 Polidori, Devereaux, and their team burned up the phone lines to get the straightest answers they could, and then put them into simple, easy-todigest, constantly updating stories. “A lot of people around the college started saying the Chronicle was must-read, and Kendall had a lot to do with that,” Truitt said. “They were asking the right people the right questions to get more clarity. The Chronicle has not only not skipped a beat, but we’ve grown better and more vital.” Polidori and Ignacio Calderon, the Chronicle’s senior video editor, found ways to tell stories visually without putting either staff or sources at risk. They went to every bathroom near the Chronicle office and tested the sinks by pushing the button to see just how long the water would run – given that the Centers for Disease Control urged people to wash their hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds. The water ran about 3 or 4 seconds then stopped, prompting the user to push the button – again and again. The duo contacted college and administrators and experts and published an invaluable Public Service Announcement and what turned out to be an agent of change. The college replaced all its sinks with touchless faucets shortly thereafter.
Seeking ‘Masterpieces’ One of the hardest parts of journalism is not getting too close to a subject, finding ways to share your personality, all while also being able to detach yourself. Music was Polidori’s way to tie all of those concepts together. “I found a way to incorporate that into my work as a journalist,” she said. “I’ve found ways to geek out about music with people while writing about it at the same time.” Before, those opportunities were more obvious. She’s covered Lollapalooza multiple times. Whether on assignment or in her free time, she’d attend a few shows each week. “I miss live music so much,” she said. “That was everything to me. It’s been such a weird past few months without that.” The pandemic has also provided opportunities to write about music outside the adrenaline and intangible effect of a live concert. The Chronicle has covered the arts exhaustively
50 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
MARISSA MARTINEZ Continued from Page 49 the center of the student journalism universe. Students were threatened, shamed, excoriated and bullied for their handling of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech to the college campus’ Republican group. Media outlets coast to coast reacted to the newspaper’s editorial apologizing for publishing pictures and names of protestors, and the means by which reporters obtained protestors’ contact information. The chief concern for Martinez and Stacia Campbell, general manager of the university’s Students Publishing Co., was inaccuracies in the Daily Northwestern’s coverage, and the long, bruising climb back. “It built up into this mushroom cloud of the Daily Northwestern being horrible,” Martinez said. Campbell said Daily Northwestern staff were unfairly blamed for poor reporting on sessions by first-year students in the J-school, and that as a result, some sources refused to speak with anyone from the newspaper, let alone have their name attached to it. “Any student was assumed to be associated with the Daily” Stacia said during the Zoom interview.
‘We never covered it right’ Building trust with the audience is a never-ending endeavor, as is tearing up the roots of deep-seated, unfair treatment of marginalized groups. Martinez said when she joined the paper as a sophomore in fall 2018, many mistakes had just been made. “They weren’t intentional mistakes, but they were race-based,” she said. “It really did reflect a daily that wasn’t in touch with marginalized students on campus.” Martinez took over as editor-inchief over spring break – better known as the week the pandemic put the world in a vise grip. But her work toward an inclusive, informed, even “woke” newsroom had already begun.
Before the pandemic, Martinez made conversations about inclusion for all marginalized communities a staple in both budget meetings and at the vending machines. In her first two quarters as editorin-chief, she sent out newsletters on diversity in journalism. Her term as editor-in-chief expires this December, and she and her successor, junior Neha Dey, have built a diversity inclusion position. Dey will be the fourth person of color in a row to serve as editor-in-chief. “That’s pretty impressive,” Martinez said.
‘We grew up in bubbles’
Marissa Martinez has been editor-in-chief of the Daily Northwestern at Northwestern University in Evanston since March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was shutting down schools nationwide. From her home in Oak Lawn, she’s shown working with other students to keep the publication going online during the campus shutdown. (Photo provided) In February, Martinez closely examined the paper’s coverage over the years of a Black student celebration. Yes, they covered it every year. “But we never covered it right,” Martinez said. “We’d never done an actual story. We did weird photos from far away, with captions that didn’t have names in them. We wouldn’t cover any other event that way. Nobody had noticed that for the longest time.” That silence spoke volumes of both the paper’s practices and perception. She took the past clippings to her staff. “Those things we’ve done for a long time, we need to use those opportunities to better ourselves,” Martinez said. “I think it’s truly just a matter of us not having those conversations explicitly.”
A holistic overhaul She said reshaping the culture is a holistic process – from story
assignments and developing sources to terminology, photography and layout. “No one in the newsroom had ever really talked about it,” Martinez said. “As a woman of color, I think about these things all the time.” She’s come to realize staff wouldn’t talk about it because they didn’t understand it, and that they were gun-shy for fear of saying, or publishing, the wrong thing. “These weren’t people who didn’t care about diversity. They were afraid of getting it wrong,” Martinez said. She said that sadly, those concerns were previously warranted. “When someone made a mistake, if they got a name wrong, they were removed from their beat,” she said. “There’d be a stigma around it – and not in a productive way.” Thus, she’s trying to reverse course on a new policy, however inadvertently it’s been ingrained. She said it became common practice for stories on diversity to be written only by reporters from diverse backgrounds.
Martinez and Campbell agreed that when reporters cover protests, such as the Community Not Cops movement, sources are more willing to talk to them. She’s gotten countless emails from alumni, and readers saying they’ll go to the Daily Northwestern first to find out what’s happening on campus – which might not have been the case before. “When the protests are happening, we have much better relationships with them now than I think we would have had last year,” Martinez said. “I think a lot of that has to do with having a woman of color as editor-inchief. People won’t get hurt if they get interviewed.” It all starts with bringing conversations from behind closed doors, into the budget meeting, and then into the public sphere. “Medill doesn’t teach us these things,” Martinez said. “We didn’t learn it in high school. We grew up in bubbles where everyone looked like us.” See something? Say something. Ask something. “If you have a dumb question, come to me. I won’t judge you for it,” Martinez said. “I get to hold people accountable and keep them engaged,
See MARISSA MARTINEZ on Page 51
Sportswriter Livingston's life remembered MOUNT CARMEL – One of the biggest Golden Aces fans in town passed away last week in a battle with COVID-19. The Hometown Register staff received word of the death of Robert "Bob" Livingston, retired sports editor of the newspaper's predecessor, The Mount Carmel Daily Republican Register. Livingston served as sportswriter for 28 years before retiring. A native of Flora, he graduated from Flora High School, Olney Central College and earned a master's degree in history from Southern Illinois University. He served four years in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era and first took a job in Flora's circuit court office. "Bob was a military hero in my opinion for the global tours aboard two ship postings. He manned radar but also more visual contact, photos he took of the Russian military in the seas. He developed a fantastic skill in photography as a ship's photographer getting official photos of officers and host nations at many ports of call," retired Register Editor Phil Gower said. "Bob thought of others first." Livingston began his area sports writing career at his hometown Daily Clay County AdvocatePress and Flora Daily News Record, then served 2 years as sports editor of The Sidney (Nebraska) Telegraph before coming to Mount Carmel's Daily Republican Register in September, 1982. Six years later, he married Mount Carmel school teacher Ruth Viehman. Gower remembers Livingston’s words from an annual employee dinner. "Coming to Mount Carmel was probably one of best things that ever happened to me," Gower relayed. "I met Ruth, and the rest, as the saying goes is history." Gower said Livingston published Valentines
each February in the newspaper for Ruth and was ready with flowers and loving Christmas surprises from his favorite jewelry store. "A map of the state of Illinois was on the wall across from the sports desk with over 70 push pins on the location of cities he had traveled to Bob Livingston for playoffs and other sporting events involving MCHS and Wabash Valley College," Gower said. Gower said as Livingston contracted COVID19, "Bob called sports correspondent Bill Hackler to check on the condition of a former WVC player from many years earlier. Athletes were more than numbers to Bob, he cared about each one as a soldier would, as only human. … Bob Livingston was a great colleague, a history scholar and a friend who never let me down.” Retired Wabash County School District 348 Superintendent Tim Buss posted via Facebook: "Bob was one of the first guys I met when I arrived in Mt. Carmel in 1985. He was a great sports writer, very knowledgeable, and sure did love his SIU Salukis. I always appreciated his professionalism and the outstanding way he covered Aces athletics, from my early days as Aces high school baseball coach, to him covering my kids while they were Aces. Thank you, Bob, and rest in peace, my friend!" Friends and former co-workers remembered Livingston in many ways. "I had so much fun working with him," Susan Wiseman posted on Facebook. "I worked with him when I was just 18," said Wabash County native Jenny McNeece, editor of The Vincennes Sun-Commercial. "... my family was always friends with him and Ruth. I'm so saddened by this."
"He was always a joy to talk to," wrote Ashli Jones-Gher. "He and my dad both would give their picks on the teams back when there was still a North Egypt Conference. I loved hearing him get all fired up cheering for his Aces. Loved all those after game talks!" "Bob was a great sports writer and a huge Aces fan," said former co-worker Sandra Higgins. "All your DRR co-workers will miss you and your knowledge of not only sports, but history." "Bob Livingston was a friend and a colleague in the world of Mt. Carmel sports," wrote Kyle Peach. "I'll never forget his witty personality and what I called his signature phrase. I can't count the number of times I heard "let's get this show on the road" as we waited for press conferences to begin... as Bob, like most of us in journalism, seemed to always find that they never start on time. I think the best tribute I can pay Bob is to say that all sports writers covering Mt. Carmel since his retirement and those to come in the future will be compared to Bob. He clearly set the standard for what area readers expect." "He was one of a kind. I will miss his candid comments and friendship," former Mount Carmel Register Publisher Phil Summers wrote. "I met Bob on the sidelines of my first Mount Carmel vs. Carmi football game at the Snake Pit early in my career in the 1980s," said Hometown Register Editor Andrea Howe. "The football stadium was nearly as daunting as trying to keep stats and shoot photos at the same time was for a novice. Bob was kind to me, gave me a couple of pointers, and I never forgot that. He was one of the good ones." Funeral arrangements are pending at ShortCunningham Funeral Home in Mount Carmel.
than when you came,” Martinez said in response. Campbell shifted her attention back to the camera and reflected on the recent past. She lamented that Martinez had to lead her staff via Zoom, and that she didn’t get to sit in the office and crunch budget numbers. Then she shifted her eyes to a future where “It’s the way we’ve always done it” means something quite the opposite of what it did in the past.
“If we can continue something for a couple of years, the changes Marissa has made, the way things are done now and the way she’s changed the culture, people start to think it’s something we always do,” Campbell said. “Make your fear make you right,” Martinez said. “That’s W-R-I-T-E,” Campbell said. “I thought it was R-I-G-H-T,” Martinez responded. It works either way.
MARISSA MARTINEZ Continued from Page 50 so I’m not just lecturing. We’re all learning. I make mistakes all the time. We all need to get better.” At the sound of that, Campbell addressed Martinez directly during the interview. “You’ve slowly changed campus perception of the newsroom,” she said, beaming with pride. “That’s an important keystone of your tenure. You brought that to the newsroom.” “It’s the whole Girl Scout thing: Leave it better
52 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
NAM launches nationwide public notice website Newspaper Association Managers, Inc., a consortium of North American trade associations representing the industry, has launched a website aimed at promoting legal notices in newspapers. The website, USALegalNotice. com, provides direct access to 47 public notice websites from across the country, each of which is operated by state newspaper associations. The site allows the public to more easily access legal notices nationwide, including foreclosures, public hearings, financial reports, ordinances and resolutions, and other important government proceedings. “For centuries, newspapers have published public notices in order to make vital government information transparent and accessible to citizens,” said NAM President Steve Nixon. “In the last several decades, newspapers and newspaper associations have worked to broaden that effort by aggregating these notices on public notice websites that maintain independent, third-party oversight. “The launch of USALegalNotice. com allows the industry to continue to build on its mission of informing the public about government actions and facilitating participation in the democratic process.” As the most trusted source of information in their communities, newspapers are committed to making the public aware of important civic matters that affect them. NAM’s launch of USALegalNotice.com allows the industry to continue distributing public information to the largest possible audience.