s The New Berlin Bee was going to cease publication this summer. That is, until two readers launched a campaign to save it. PAGE 14
INSIDE: News regarding this year's IPA/IPF Convention! PAGE 2
We’re taking this year’s convention virtual, and planning for even greater connection W
ith the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we started giving serious thought in late February about the fate of our annual May convention. We consulted other newspaper associations to get their suggestions.
In early March, we decided to postpone the convention until late October. We were the first press association to make the call – we felt it better to be safe than sorry. We were fortunate that the convention hotel was more than accommodating by allowing us to change dates without financial penalty. Then as the calendar turned to June, we started giving serious thoughts about the possibility of an October convention being realistic. I polled many of last year’s attendees about their thoughts and almost without exception there was no interest in attending a physical convention. And, again, our convention venue is being accommodating. So we’ve made the call to cancel this year’s physical convention. Instead, with the support of
the Illinois Press Foundation board we’ve pivoted to having a virtual convention. To address concerns of having a convention too close to the fall election, we’ll have our virtual convention on Sept. 14-18. We’re not looking to do an exact replica of our in-person SAM FISHER events. Here are the discussions that we have had so far President & CEO on how best to proceed. • We would retain the advertising and editorial awards program virtually. We have spoken to Illinois Associated Press Media Editors and the people there like that idea as well. These would be abbreviated presentations that would be less than an hour. These all would be presented in the afternoon. • We would still like to do the annual auction, but we would take it online and have folks bid over a period of time. We have done pie auctions
900 Community Drive Springfield, IL 62703 Ph. 217-241-1300 Fax 217-241-1301 www.illinoispress.org
Stefanie Anderson Paddock Publications Inc./Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group
Don Bricker | Vice-Chair Shaw Media, Sterling
David Bauer Hearst Newspapers, Jacksonville
Ron Wallace | Immediate Past Chair Quincy Herald-Whig
See FISHER on Page 3
Scott Stone | Chair Daily Herald Media Group, Arlington Heights
Sue Walker | Treasurer Herald Newspapers, Inc., Chicago
in the past. Maybe we’ll do something different this year? Stay tuned. • We would do programming over five days – Sept 14-18. We would do advertising programming in the morning and editorial in the afternoon – only one program for each on a daily basis. The key is to make it relevant and keep the daily programming in the 45-minute range. This way there won’t be the need for participants to block out two straight days. All programming would be recorded and made available on our website. • There would be no charge for this year’s convention, as we see this as an opportunity to engage more of our members. • We’ve had discussions with the editors on our advisory committee for Capitol News Illinois and they see a need for valuable programming, especially in these times. We’re meeting with the ad committee for input as well. • Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until next year to recognize our Distinguished Service
Chris Fusco Chicago Sun-Times Darrell Garth Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group
Margaret Holt Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago Sandy Macfarland Law Bulletin Media, Chicago Jim Slonoff The Hinsdalean, Hinsdale Wendy Martin Mason County Democrat, Havana
IPA STAFF | PHONE 217-241-1300 Sam Fisher, President & CEO Ext. 222 – email@example.com
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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 2020. All rights reserved. Volume 26 July/August 2020 Number 4 Date of Issue: 7/17/2020
CNI welcomes Report For America reporter!
n my previous PressLines correspondence, I told you that Capitol News Illinois had withdrawn from the Report For America 2020-21 program. I also said we hoped to work with RFA in the near future. Well, the near future is here! Raymon Troncoso, a multimedia journalist who is a graduate of the University of Florida, joined the Capitol News Illinois team on July 13. He will be with CNI for at least a year via the Report For America program. Ray will be reporting on how state government and legislation impacts underserved communities. His focus Raymon Troncoso will not only be on minority communities, but also the many rural communities throughout Illinois that feel disconnected from what happens at the Capitol in Springfield. He’ll not only be focusing on producing content for print publications, but he’ll also be working on multimedia storytelling through increased video coverage and additional podcasts. You’ve also no doubt seen – and hopefully published! – stories and podcasts that are part of our Perspectives on Progress project, a collection of conversations on race with state leaders. Ray will play a major role in that prolonged effort, as well as other enterprise projects throughout the next year. Here’s my pitch to you: If you have any ideas on how Capitol News Illinois can better reach underserved communities, let me know at jrogers@ illinoispress.org, or get in touch with Ray at email@example.com. Your ideas can be anything from large-scale investigative projects to
coverage of something interesting happening in your communities. We’ll welcome any and all suggestions. I’ll get back to Ray’s arrival in a second, but I thought I should tell you just a bit about Report For America. RFA is a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists into local news organizations to JEFF ROGERS report for one to three years on under-covered issues and Director of Foundation communities. An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report For America addresses an urgent need in journalism at a time when news deserts are widening across the county, leaving communities uninformed on local issues and threatening our democracy like never before. Report For America pays about half of the reporters’ salaries and helps participating news organizations raise money for the other half. Like Capitol News Illinois itself, CNI’s involvement in Report For America is being funded by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. This edition of PressLines will include information about two other news organizations in Illinois – The Daily Herald of Arlington Heights and the Belleville News-Democrat – that also will have RFA reporters for at least the next year. As I mentioned, CNI had initially withdrawn from the RFA program. But when the McCormick
Foundation granted another 2-year funding commitment to CNI (reported in the May-June edition of PressLines), and after continued conversations with Report For America (which REALLY wanted to place a reporter with CNI), we were able to re-enter the program. We are so happy to have Ray on board! He believes in RFA’s mission, shared by Capitol News Illinois, of strengthening communities and democracy through local journalism. He recognizes how the continued reductions of newsroom resources have impacted communities and democracy. “This has led to news deserts, and in many areas of the country one of the most prominent news deserts is coverage of state governments,” he said. “People simply don't know what's going on in their own state because news outlets can't afford dedicated coverage of the capitol. That's why I joined Capitol News Illinois, because it's doing essential work, providing a service that benefits the entire state. “CNI has been doing a great job bringing news from the capitol to under-informed communities across Illinois whose local papers can't afford to do it themselves, making sure they received reliable information that keeps them aware and involved in their local government. “Now that I am a part of the team, I hope to contribute to their success and add an extra dimension to coverage, uplifting the voice of marginalized communities who have historically been underrepresented in government decision-making, even when it has drastically impacted their quality of life.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, Ray. Welcome!
FISHER Continued from Page 2
Award recipients – Don Craven, Gerald "Jerry” Taylor and Jon Whitney. But look for stories about each of them in our pre-convention PressLines edition in early September. • We’re even having discussions of making the chairman’s reception virtual, although I won’t be giving out any drink tickets. • We’ve invited Governor JB Pritzker to be part of the program,
as he was originally scheduled to speak during the IAPME dinner. • We hope to open the programming to other organizations, as we’ve had discussions with the Illinois Journalism Education Association to include them as well. Other associations have been great to share insight into their programming. America’s Newspapers have made the webinars and resources available to our
members for free. Northern Illinois Newspaper Association has invited our members to participate in a panel discussion and Q&A on “Defending Journalism and Journalists” on July 23. The Local Media Association is giving our members an opportunity to participate in its virtual Digital Summit Week, Aug. 10 -14, at no cost. We’ll be sending out information on how to register for both
of these programs. We’ll keep you posted as our plans progress, and if you have any input please share it with us, as we are in uncharted waters. During these times, we look for reasons to believe that through all of the adversity there is opportunity, and we believe that by taking this direction we’re creating something of value for our members and our industry friends.
Illinois Press Association's home for sale Building has been owned by Illinois Press Foundation since 2000 SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Press Foundation announced it has made the difficult decision to sell its facility at 900 Community Drive in Springfield. The building has been owned by the foundation and home to the Illinois Press Association since its construction was completed in 2000. "Times have changed, and the association no longer utilizes the entire 12,000 square feet of the building," said Sam Fisher, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association. Among the changes Fisher noted are that training, once done on-site, now is mostly done remotely. The building also provided room for a department that at the time pulled clips manually from newspapers but now does so digitally, requiring only a fraction of the space it once did. “The move by the association is consistent with what’s happening with many companies,” Fisher said. “The need for office space lessens with advances in technology. The association plans on finding more suitable space, and the sale of the building will provide additional money for the foundation to expand support of its many efforts, in particular Capitol News Illinois.” The news service, funded primarily by the foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, provides state government coverage to more than 400 Illinois newspapers and nearly 2 million newspaper subscribers.
The building owned by the Illinois Press Foundation and home to the Illinois Press Association since construction was completed in 2000 will be sold, IPA President and CEO Sam Fisher announced in May. Capitol News Illinois started in January 2019 and its content is also available at www.capitolnewsillinois. The building, with its multiple meeting rooms, has for years hosted board meetings of the Illinois Press Association, Illinois Press Founda-
IPA members given free access to LMA Digital Summit Week
tion, Illinois Journalism Education Association and others. “It really is a beautiful, very functional office building that has been a great home to our operations,” said Jerry Reppert, president of the Illinois Press Foundation Board and
The Local Media Alliance is having its 2020 Digital Summit Week Aug. 10-14 and Illinois Press Association members may register free of charge! Digital Summit Week is all about ROI — growing revenue, refining strategy, developing audience, and more. Last year’s event attracted more than 300 local media executives from newspapers, TV stations, digital
also publisher of Reppert Publications. “We will miss it, but we also realize that the building no longer is the perfect fit for our organizations that it once was. Soon, it will be a great home once again for someone else.”
news sites, radio stations and the R&D community. This year, since an in-person conference is not feasible, LMA is going virtual! We will be sending more information and reminders to you soon, but you may register now by going to https:// www.localmedia.org/event/2020-digital-summit/ and scrolling to the bottom of the page for instructions.
Pistole brings ‘horsepower’ to IPA’s ad sales, revenue By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Press Association’s new revenue director has a long track record of success in newspaper advertising, but said spending the past 9 years outside the industry gives her an edge over those who haven’t had a break from the grind. “It’s kind of like there’s a fresh perspective for me now,” Sandy Pistole said. “I’m not one to say, we’ve always done it this way, so that’s the way we’ll keep doing it. I like to look at the bigger picture. There are always things you can do differently.” Pistole joined the IPA on May 26. She missed out on much of the industry’s rapid shift to the digital product, but said some things remain unchanged. “The people who are passionate about the newspaper – that’s one thing that hasn’t changed,” she said. “Another thing that hasn’t gone away is that we’re able to promote the value of (the physical) newspaper as an advertising option for local, state and
national advertisers.” Pistole spent about 15 years in newspaper advertising, first from 1997 to 2008 as the advertising director for Shaw Media’s Bureau County Republican and Sandy Pistole Morris Daily Herald – smaller markets compared to Champaign-Urbana, where she was advertising director from 2008 to 2011 for News-Gazette Community Newspapers. “Local newspapers are so important to the smaller communities, especially,” she said. “There’s nowhere else they can get that news.” She hit the ground running in Champaign-Urbana by winning the IPA’s Advertising Sales Director award in 2008. “Sandy is a great salesperson; she’s disciplined and organized,” said Sam Fisher, IPA’s president and CEO who was publisher of the BCR while Pistole worked there. “Managing Sandy is easy – you just give her the tools and get out of her way.” Pistole said she’s always appreciated Fisher’s willingness to trust
people to get the job done. “For me, he’s always been able to let me know where he’s at with something, give me the ideas but let me go with it,” she said. “With a working relationship like that, you have more buy into it, and you become more passionate about what you’re doing.” Pistole spent the past 9 years as business development manager for Dale Carnegie of Greater Illinois. As the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the organization’s budget, she was laid off in March. She put Fisher down as a reference, let him know he might get some phone calls and asked him to let her know if he heard about any opportunities. A couple of weeks later, he called her with one of his own. “It was exciting,” she said. “I just knew I could work for Sam. He taught me so much of what I know about the newspaper business.” Pistole said she’s connecting with as many IPA members as possible, and working with other associations and attending webinars, “just to get caught up.” She said in her early conversations, members are hungry as ever to bring
in advertisers and keep their physical newspaper product viable. “It’s especially important in the world we’re in now,” she said. We need that truth.” She manages a network of advertisers and helps place ads in the physical newspapers on both a regional and statewide level. Pistole lives in Champaign, and now that she’s tackled her personal to-do list while job-hunting, she’s getting out, seeing family and experiencing some of the activities she’d sorely missed. She recently attended an Arabian horse-showing featuring one of her great-nieces, and she also got to work at the ATV nationals event at Sunset Ridge MX, which her brother, Bob Pistole, owns in her hometown of Walnut. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in the (motocross) industry,” she said. “They’ve become a family, and I love to be with my family. It’s a great place to do it. “Between that and the Arabian horses, I guess I like horsepower.” Fitting, given that IPA members are eager for her to drive advertisers their way.
Herald & Review making transition to 5-day print schedule DECATUR – The Herald & Review of Decatur on July 20 told readers it is transitioning to a 5-day print schedule starting Aug. 17. "We report daily on the way businesses are adapting and reinventing themselves to succeed in this fluid environment," the paper wrote. "One of the takeaways from our reporting is that businesses need to be future-ready. "And that includes the Herald & Review." The newspaper reported it has seen a 93 percent increase in digital-only subscriptions in the past year, particularly as its journalists have covered COVID-19 and the Decatur community's response to national conversations about race. The newspaper's website, heraldreview.com, and its app and social media channels also continue to expand with videos, photo galleries, podcasts and
updated stories and breaking news. The print change from a 7-day newspaper to a Tuesday-through-Saturday publication is being done to do adapt to readership shifting more toward multimedia and digital news consumption, the paper wrote. "The change in print frequency helps align the Herald & Review with reader habits, which increasingly are digital," said Barry Winterland, general manager of the Central Illinois Newspaper Group for Lee Enterprises. "Our mission is to provide outstanding local journalism. This print transformation secures our future in our role as watchdog and our efforts to keep readers informed. Fewer print days do not mean less journalism." A greatly enhanced weekend edition will be
available on Saturday, at the start of the weekend. This Saturday/Sunday paper will feature more content, plus inserts and coupons that readers are accustomed to getting in the Sunday edition. The Sunday and Monday newspapers will be available as an e-edition that is an exact replica of the newspaper and, like all Herald & Review digital content, is already available to members and subscribers. "We have absolutely no plans to slow down chasing news," Central Illinois Editor Chris Coates said, adding that the Herald & Review was recognized in May in the Local Media Digital Innovation Awards, one of numerous honors received for digital journalism over the years. "This announcement does not change that."
Sustaining journalism in a pandemic: ‘We need each other’ Fast-tracked fundraiser generates $160K-plus for Chicago media outlets By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association CHICAGO – The writing has long been on the wall for plucky, vital weekly newspapers: If new revenue streams aren’t created, the light that media outlets shine on their communities, many of them underserved, will be dimmed if not put out altogether. Tracy Baim, a legendary journalist who bought her first publication in the city in the mid-1980s, is the owner of the Chicago Reader, which has covered the city with a unique literary voice and a fine focus on the arts. Unearthing corruption is a hallmark of the Reader, as well. “We’ve seen corruption increase, and scandals and politicians that have gone unchallenged,” Baim said. “Corruption loves when newspapers die.” Seeing the plight of her publications – she also owns the Windy City Times – and her colleagues throughout the city, she hatched an idea last year to form an alliance that would unite outlets in the spirit of collaborating and, in turn, becoming more viable. The kickstarting initiative for what would become the Chicago Independent Media Alliance, was a mass fundraiser that would happen in 2021. Then the pandemic hit, and Baim buried
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ABOVE: Members of the Chicago Independent Media Alliance share a laugh during a recent Zoom event to promote the organization. CIMA recently raised more than $160,000 for its member news organizations with a fundraiser that had been planned for 2021 but was bumped way up the calendar because of the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic was having on their revenue.
SUSTAINING Continued from Page 6 the accelerator on a project that was rolling along at a comfortable pace. A website needed to be built, just one of several proverbial plates that needed to start spinning. “I was really worried it wasn’t going to play out,” Baim said. “Lots of things could go wrong, so all I could think of was the worst-case scenarios. There was a lot of stress because of all the need that was there at a very scary time, and we had three weeks to get ready to launch.” Not only did it play out; the public donated more than $100,000 – about $40,000 more than the goal. Additionally, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation and two anonymous foundations matched funds to the tune of $60,000. “It’s honestly way more than we could have expected,” said Yong Lee, marketing manager for the Korea Times which, like the Reader, has been in business since 1971. He said the Times, which prints in Korean only and serves about 10,000 readers, received about $8,000 from the fundraiser. Baim said the alliance plans to develop ways for the outlets to raise funds individually, but also as a collective. In the meantime, those looking to support local media may find a list of all 43 outlets at the campaign’s website, savechicagomedia.org.
Fast-riser helms rapid-fire rollout Baim said the only concerns with the launch were technological. Most notably, the website needed to be built and launched. She otherwise was confident because she had a rising star in Yazmin Dominguez, who’d joined the Reader less than a year ago as an administrative assistant and risen
Jesus Del Toro, director general of La Raza Newspaper in Chicago, speaks during a recent Zoom presentation by members of the Chicago Independent Media Alliance. to the role of media partnerships coordinator in six short months. She became the project coordinator of CIMA. She contacted about 160 local organizations, the list was narrowed to 103, and eventually the alliance had 62 members, 43 of which participated in the fundraiser. “She masterfully herded cats,” said Charlie Meyerson, who has worked in Chicago media since 1979 and launched the independent news site Chicago Public Square in January 2017. “I’ve been very impressed with the way Yazmin kept the wheels on the tracks.” “Impressive is not enough,” Lee said. “There has to be another word to describe the awesomeness of how she pulled this off.” Dominguez said many publications lost 90 percent of their advertising revenue “overnight” – including the Reader, where that loss was about $90,000. Ron Roenigk is publisher of Inside Publications,
which features three papers on the North Side: Skyline, Inside Booster and News-Star. Much of its revenue vanished along with its summer activity guide. “Until this year, we had a North Side summer activity guide, and now since there’s no activity, there’s no guide,” he said during one of three Facebook Live videos Dominguez moderated in the last week of the fundraiser, a last-ditch push that she said drove up donations significantly. She said two-thirds of the fundraiser’s donors asked that their contributions be split among the 43 outlets. “I was pleasantly surprised,” Baim said. “That really shows that people wanted to support a strong journalism ecosystem.” Jesus Del Toro, director general of La Raza Newspaper, has worked in local media for 16 years, since moving to the U.S. from Mexico. He’s seen damning signs of the times. So while the funds raised can only help, he’s optimistic for what the alliance can mean for local media’s sustainability. “The most important thing is that the fundraiser is the first step toward a much wider benefit, given the struggle of local media,” he said. “We needed a transformation of the local media model. We need to show advertisers the value of our product, and that they need to preserve it. The fundraiser helped, but of course what’s more valuable is what will happen in the long run, with collaboration and a unified front.”
A future built on trust It’s a scary place these days. Revenue was dwindling before the pandemic, and the rise of armchair journalists has hamstrung the industry with fake news, Baim said.
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Members of the Chicago Independent Media Alliance Nonprofit Public Narrative Digital-Only Better Government Association Black Youth Project Block Club Chicago Borderless Magazine Bronzecomm Chalkbeat Chicago Chicago Jewish News Chicago Monitor Chicago Music Guide Chicago Public Square
Chicago Reporter City Bureau Gozamos Injustice Watch Invisible Institute Loop North News N’Digo Rebellious Magazine for Women Sixty Inches From Center Urban Gateways- Mild Sauce The Daily Line Third Coast Review True Star The Village Free Press
Print and Digital Austin Weekly News Bronzeville Life Chicago Citizen Chicago Crusader Chicago Parent Chicago Reader Contratiempo Current Magazines Grab Magazine Hyde Park Herald India Bulletin Inside Publications Korea Times
La Raza Left Out Magazine New City South Side Weekly Streetwise Students Xpress The Arab Daily News The Beverly Review The Chicago Sun-Times VIA Times News Magazine Windy City Times KEY-This Week in Chicago
Radio, Podcast, Broadcast AirGo CHIRP E3 Radio Free Spirit Media Juneteenth Productions Kartemquin Films Open TV Public Media Institute Rivet Soapbox Productions and Organizing Vocalo Radio WIN-TV
The Constant Media Gardener Fast-rising coordinator ripping out roots of journalism issues By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association CHICAGO – Yazmin Dominguez is digging up weeds. The 24-year-old media partnerships coordinator at the Chicago Reader recently took on the role of projects coordinator for the Chicago Independent Media Alliance, which is facilitated by The Reader and recently raised more than $160,000 for 43 of its 62 members. The influx of funds will help offset massive losses in advertising revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but Dominguez is going after deeper-rooted issues with journalism and media. “We as young journalists are passionate about dismantling all the wrongs in the media,” Dominguez said. “I’ll say that for all young journalists. We’re aware of the issues, and we’re going
to fix them.” Dominguez said that for as long as she can remember, she’s been aware of the struggles of journalists – particularly those in marginalized communities, which make up much of the alliance members’ Yazmin Dominguez readerships. “As a young journalist, I think we grew up in an era, starting in 2001, when things started falling apart,” she said. “The media industry is no exception of that. I am a child of immigrants. Going into journalism with that background, you see the industry differently. You see the power of words and the power of publishing.” As a teenager, Dominguez would leave Huntley High School every day to make it on time for newsroom meetings at The Mash, Chicago Tribune’s teen newspaper. While attending DePaul University, she was a reporting fellow for City Bureau and worked as an intern for Chicago Tonight, where she was hired part-time to work on
an aldermanic project – which involved bringing aldermen into the WTTW studio and working on production and online. It was around that time she heard The Mash had closed. “Being in Chicago, which has a very lively and active media scene, watching these newsrooms shut down was what made me realize the system is broken,” she said. “[The Mash] was one of the first things to go from the Tribune. That hit me a little different, because that’s where I started as a young reporter.” As Dominguez begins to unearth the weeds of the industry, she’s going for the roots. She said she’s angry, and that most young journalists are. But that anger can be turned into results. “We need to fix the roots of the issues to have success down the line,” she said. During a recent phone interview, she had an unprompted list of issues at the ready – beyond the oft-cited rise of armchair digital journalism and the crash of advertising revenue industrywide.
See COORDINATOR on Page 9
SUSTAINING Continued from Page 7 In 2019, the Chicago Defender closed its legacy print paper and the weekly Latinx paper Hoy has been shut down by the Tribune. “We knew before COVID that journalism wasn’t in the best shape in Chicago,” Dominguez said. “A lot of newsrooms are closing – a lot of papers we really admired. We knew we had to do something about it.” Baim said she’s relieved that, thus far, no CIMA member has had to close its doors or cease production. Meyerson said media outlets, large ones in particular, have long used the term right-sizing – “which means layoffs, basically,” he said – but like it or not, it’s reality. What’s yet to be seen is what that right size is for the media landscape at large. “Is it going to be the big companies shrinking, or the small companies growing?” Meyerson said. “This is an opportunity for small, digital organizations to grow. That’s what I love about this campaign. This was a
chance for those small organizations to grow. And for the bigger organizations, like the Reader, their audiences can be convinced to get involved monetarily in ways they weren’t before.” “The fundraiser gives hope for news outlets like ours,” Lee said. “It was completely built on trust. And we don’t even know each other, but we have the same mission.” “The communities that are most affected, their papers tell a unique story, in an authentic way than the mainstream has never been able to do,” Baim said. “I’m an evangelist for local media of any kind. It could be the only paper in a rural area, or a paper that serves the black, Asain or LGBTQ community. The papers are part of their ecosystem.” Baim said evidence of fast-built trust is encouraging, given that the alliance was spearheaded by the Reader specifically. “It’s kind of an odd duck when an alliance is created by one of its
members, to have one paper raising money for another paper,” she said. “But we all needed to survive. We need each other.”
The power of good Baim said feel-good stories do more than make readers … well … feel good. She said showcasing the hard work businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals are putting in to better their communities creates a contagious buzz of good will. And having local media eager to preach the gospel of good not only engenders trust, it strengthens all parties involved. “We don’t just tell the stories when they’re bad. We tell the stories when they’re good,” Baim said. “When you tell a story about a business, a nonprofit, there are many residual benefits to that. You develop partnerships and allies.” Dominguez is proud, but not sa-
tisfied with the alliance’s immediate success. “This has been attempted many times in the past, alliances of this sort in Chicago media,” she said. “Now we have a lot of public attention. CIMA is such a baby project right now, and the fundraiser put us in the public eye. Two months ago, only the Chicago Reader and member outlets knew about the alliance.” A key goal going forward is to create a pooled journalism fund featuring multiple funding streams, including public and private foundations, private donors, and government. More than half of the alliance’s members are unable to offer insurance to their full-time employees, so a pooled insurance fund for Chicago-area journalists – full-timers and freelancers alike – is in the works. “We have way bigger goals for 2021,” Dominguez said. “This is just the beginning.”
COORDINATOR Continued from Page 8
Little insurance CIMA recently polled its members on various topics. Of the 48 outlets that responded, 56 percent are unable to offer insurance to their fulltime staff. Of 49 respondents, about 86 percent can’t offer insurance to part-timers and freelancers. That’s not acceptable for a line of work where journalists regularly put themselves in harm’s way in order to inform their readers on how to stay safe. “That’s really not OK,” Dominguez said. “Them not being able to have insurance or be employed full-time. Some media companies can’t even afford a physical building.” About one-third of 50 respondents said they don’t have a physical office.
Lack of funding Dominguez said with help on the local, state and federal levels, media outlets would be able to hire more full-time staff and rely less on part-timers and freelancers. “There just needs to be more funding in the industry,” she said. “The City of Chicago needs to work more with local media.” Every day, she looks at the CTA ads promoting events, the CTA itself, the U.S. Census, and she wonders, “What if?” “Why not do an ad buy with a bunch of local media outlets?” she said. “Certain bodies of government haven’t utilized the sort of potential the media has. I think that speaks to the disconnect between the city and its local communities.” She said there’s strength in numbers, particularly if you bring together dozens of like-minded outlets that are hungry for change and willing to get elected officials’ attention. “That’s the mindset the alliance has, and it was created in that mindset,” she said.
Racial coverage Mistreatment of the Muslim commu-
Yazmin Dominguez works from the Chicago Reader office. Dominguez, 24, is project coordinator for the Chicago Independent Media Alliance, a coalition formed to help the independent local news organizations. (Photo supplied) nity after 9/11 wasn’t reserved for runof-the-mill American citizens. Dominguez said racism abounded in media coverage after the Twin Towers fell. “Coverage of Katrina also painted the local community in a … not-sogood light,” she said. “Moments like that, young people notice and become disenfranchised. If you’re a young person in the media, you’re passionate for it. Moments like that affect your psyche as a young journalist.” Dominguez decried editors’ practice of carefully selecting which pictures to publish – which ones capture the demographic they’re after and, in turn, generate the most clicks. She said she’s optimistic that an
influx of young journalists can stem the tide of tired, often misguided thinking. “People who have been in legacy newsrooms are a bit old-school,” she said. “They’ve been in their position for decades. It can hurt the organization you’re trying to help, and more importantly the community you’re trying to serve. There’s a young crowd of journalists that are hungry and angry, and ready to change how reporting on their communities is done.”
Strokes too broad The larger the media outlet, the harder it is to cover communities that are directly affected, Dominguez
said. “It’s the role of local media to fill the information gaps that larger media outlets can’t,” Dominguez said. “It’s glaringly obvious that communities of color are so affected compared to white, wealthy communities.” Jesus Del Toro, director general of La Raza Newspaper, said the funds raised by CIMA point to an opportunity aching to be seized. “Those who donated money, it’s an expression of the support of the community,” he said. His readership still picks up the physical paper and relies on what’s inside of it. “The Latinx community in Chicago still relies heavily on the print publication,” he said. Dominguez is heartened to have a new member of the alliance that will also serve a marginalized community. The Cicero Independiente, fiscally supported by City Bureau, was created about a year ago by three young Latinx people, and it joined the alliance 2 months ago. Dominguez said Cicero has gotten a bad rap because of coverage that too often focuses on violence and crime, rather than the rich Hispanic heritage of the community.
One problem solved Del Toro said local media collaboration has been attempted in Chicago, and has failed. CIMA is different, he said. “For the first time in this collaboration of media, we were fortunate to have one specific person doing the coordination of this effort,” he said of Dominguez. “Each of us, all the media and members of this group, have a lot of different interests and content, and problems, and level of resources. One big obstacle through collaboration is coordination. She was a big part of this success. What she provided was the glue we need to have in order to move, and to grow.”
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Chicago media taking a hard hit from pandemic CHICAGO – The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Chicago media. From furloughs and layoffs to ceasing operations, economic fallout from COVID-19 has idled hundreds of local journalists, just as more people turn to local TV, radio and newspapers for information about the pandemic. It also has accelerated financial pressures, forcing Chicago media organizations to find alternative funding sources, refocus their missions and rethink their business models. "There's never been a more important time for newsrooms and there's never been a more challenging time for newsrooms," said Steve Edwards, 49, chief content officer and interim CEO at Chicago public radio station WBEZ. Keeping reporters on the streets and the public informed through the health crisis has been job one. Media employees were deemed essential workers by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home executive order in March, and that has proved out during the pandemic. Local news outlets are a major source of COVID-19 news for 46 percent of the public, according to a Pew Research study published in April. That boosted audiences, but with many retail businesses shut down, advertising revenue did not follow. That has meant employee cutbacks at a long list of media companies. A New York Times report updated in May estimated 36,000 news media employees nationwide had been laid off, furloughed or had their pay reduced since the onset of the health crisis. In Chicago, the job cuts have claimed some high-profile names across a number of media outlets, many of which were already under financial pressure. The number of newsroom employees across the
U.S. ¬– reporters, editors, photographers and videographers¬ – dropped by 23 percent between 2008 and 2019, according to a Pew Research analysis. The pandemic has advanced the pursuit of alternative funding and a shift away from the advertising-supported business model that has sustained legacy media for more than a century. This year, some foundations have stepped up to stem the losses. In May, the nascent COVID-19 Journalism Fund awarded 48 grants totaling more than $425,000 to support smaller Chicago media organizations providing information about the pandemic. Inaugural recipients included La Raza, Block Club Chicago and the Chicago Reader. "Without this grant, some of them would have folded," said Andres Torres, who helped oversee the program's launch for the Robert T. McCormick Foundation, one of six Chicago foundations behind the initiative. "This was, in some cases, a lifeline for organizations that were on the brink of saying 'We don't know how we're going to make our next payroll.'" Torres said the criteria for investing the foundation's resources on an ongoing basis will be more stringent than simply surviving the COVID pandemic. "We want outlets to survive, but to us, that's not enough," Torres said. "The outlet needs to be meeting its full civic purpose. Otherwise, it's media for media's sake and not media for democracy's sake." The Chicago Sun-Times has received a series of foundation grants to enhance reporting, most recently adding two journalists in May to cover social justice, income inequality, the environment and public health issues through the largesse of the Chicago Community Trust.
The newspaper, which has struggled financially for years, added its first foundation-supported reporter in 2018. "When you are facing extinction, you have no option but to try something different," said Nykia Wright, 40, CEO of Sun-Times Media. "Every single day was a dogfight to ensure extinction was an additional centimeter away." The Sun-Times has avoided layoffs, furloughs or salary reductions during the pandemic. Getting a $2.7 million PPP loan in April has gone a long toward keeping its 164 employees on the job, Wright said. Launched April 3, the federal Paycheck Protection Program offers businesses with fewer than 500 employees forgivable loans of up to $10 million to cover 24 weeks of payroll. Other Chicago-area media companies that have received PPP loans include public TV station WTTW-Ch. 11, WBEZ-FM 91.5, the Arlington Heights-based Daily Herald, and the Chicago Reader. Few local media have been harder-hit than the Reader, the nearly 50-year-old alternative weekly, which saw a 90 percent drop in advertising revenue during the pandemic. The Reader received a $270,000 PPP loan in May that Publisher Tracy Baim said was crucial to keeping the publication's 30 employees on staff through the pandemic. "Without the PPP loan, we would have had to do a huge round of layoffs," Baim said. Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune and other major daily newspapers, has implemented furloughs, targeted staff cuts and salary reductions to offset advertising
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COORDINATOR Continued from Page 9 Charlie Meyerson, who’s worked in the Chicago market for more than 40 years, whether in radio, print, or his recently launched independent news site, Chicago Public Square, signed on with CIMA and was blown away by the 24-year-old who accepted nitpicking with a smile. “People who have worked with me over the decades have learned that I’m the squeaky wheel – this needs to be fixed, or that needs to be
reworded,” he said. “She took it all in stride.” Dominguez said the feedback was invaluable. “It’s definitely a good problem to have, that we’ve found out people aren’t shy about offering us feedback,” she said. “That external suggestion box has been very helpful.” Meyerson said a lot of organizations will ask for feedback, then bristle at constructive criticism.
“I can’t remember once being told to tone it down,” he said. “They accepted feedback and acted on it. When they didn’t have the resources to do something, they were forthright.” This all comes as little surprise for Tracy Baim, longtime Chicago media touchstone and owner of the nearly half-century-old Reader. She saw star power in Dominguez when she interviewed her about a year ago
– when the ink had barely dried on the journalism degree Dominguez earned at DePaul. “She really hit the ground running,” Baim said. “She has a fantastic personality, she’s hard-working and knows the need for journalism. It’s rare to have someone with all her qualities. “She understands our job here is to save jobs of journalists.
Daily Herald Media Group launches 3 new weekly newspapers The Daily Herald Media Group, publisher of the Daily Herald, is on the move again. Less than a month after its launch of the Glenview Herald and the Northbrook Herald weekly newspapers, the employee-owned company announced in late June that it was beginning publication of the Shelbyville Eagle. The Eagle will be a free weekly tabloid-size paper available at Shelbyville-area businesses and published every Thursday. Its first edition comes a little more than a month after the Shelbyville Daily Union ceased publication of its print edition. "We've become very familiar with central Illinois in recent years, and we knew the people of Shelbyville were going to be without a printed newspaper. That's just not right. A newspaper is a part of the soul of a community," said Stefanie Anderson, general manager of the company's now-22 titles in Central and Southern Illinois. "Hyperlocal news coverage and advertising are vital parts of any community, and we'll bring that back to Shelbyville." Shelbyville is the county seat of Shelby County,
south of Decatur and west of Pana, which is headquarters of the Daily Herald Media Group's Pana News Group of weekly newspapers. "This is all about innovation and growth," said Doug Ray, chairman of the board of and CEO of the Daily Herald Media Group. "The Shelbyville Eagle is the latest example of finding an underserved niche and creating a business plan to benefit advertisers and readers. Despite the virus-induced challenges we face, it is more important than ever that we work together to develop new initiatives." Providing oversight of the Eagle will be John Broux, the editor and operations manager of the Pana Group, which already includes the Pana News Palladium, the Free Press-Progress in No-
komis, the Golden Prairie News in Assumption, the Ramsey News-Journal and the Blue Mound Leader. The Daily Herald Media Group also operates the Moultrie County News-Progress in Sullivan at the north end of Lake Shelbyville. The Daily Herald started delivery of the Glenview Herald and Northbrook Herald on June 18. The two North suburban communities are just east of the Daily Herald's established circulation area. The tabloid-size publications will be delivered free to residents. The move fills a void created in March by the demise of 22nd Century Media, which published the Glenview Lantern and the Northbrook Tower among its 14 community newspapers. Northbrook resident Gail Eisenberg, former director of sales for 22nd Century Media's Glenview and Northbrook papers, will handle retail advertising sales, while editorial content will be provided by three current Daily Herald staffers, with Melynda Findlay-Shamie serving as editor, and Joe Lewnard and David Oberhelman serving as reporter/photographers.
HIT Continued from Page 10 declines. In June, Tribune Publishing projected that total revenues during the second quarter would fall 30 to 32 percent year-over-year, mostly due to COVID-19-related losses. CEO Terry Jimenez said the pandemic accelerated the secular decline of print ad revenue. "You've almost taken the next three years worth of declines and put it all within a 3-month window," said Jimenez, 48, a longtime Tribune Publishing executive who became CEO in February. "That has a fairly significant impact on the print business model." Pages views at the websites of Tribune Publishing newspapers were up 50 percent in March, as more readers sought local COVID-19 news and information. Jimenez said he hopes that trend will support a sustainable digital transformation.
Tribune Publishing has sought relief from landlords, vendors and cut other expenses. In the spring, the company reached an agreement with the Chicago Tribune Guild for a 3-week furlough for employees making more than $40,000 a year. It also instituted furloughs for some non¬union employees, while others received permanent pay cuts. "The other alternative … is we've just got to slash the overall number of people doing the job on a permanent basis," Jimenez said. "Our approach of furloughs for some, pay reductions for others, was an attempt to try to keep as many people in the newsroom for as long as we can." Tribune Publishing, which also owns the Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant and Orlando Sentinel, among other newspapers, had about 4,100 full-time employees at the end
of 2019, making it too large to qualify for a PPP loan. Suburban Chicago newspaper chain 22nd Century Media didn't last long enough to apply. On March 31, just weeks after the statewide stay-athome order was issued, the company ceased operations amid a coronavirus-spawned advertising drought. That decision ended a 15-year run for the hyperlocal publisher, whose 14 Chicago-area weeklies ranged from the North Shore to the southwest suburbs. It also cost about 50 employees their jobs. "It hit very hard because we had to give it our all for a couple of days to try to save the company, and a few days later, let everybody go over Zoom," said Joe Coughlin, 37, the former publisher. Coughlin and two former 22nd Century editors are launching a non-
profit hyperlocal news venture called The Record North Shore. The group is looking to raise $50,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, focusing on a New Trier edition as the inaugural coverage area. Coughlin said the "thin margins" of 22nd Century's traditional advertising-supported business model convinced him that a nonprofit platform was more sustainable. As of July 10, the online campaign had raised more than $6,000. Coughlin said he hoped to have the news site up and running by September. "Whether it was fair or not, we abandoned our readers at a crucial time, and left them without reliable local news," Coughlin said. "But we have the opportunity to build something special and restore local news, one community at a time."
The man for his time and place Romando Dixson becomes first Black editor at Peoria Journal Star By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association PEORIA – Romando Dixson wasn’t aware of the full extent of his role as the new editor of the Peoria Journal Star. Not until he read the paper one day. The 39-year-old is the first Black editor of the newspaper that serves one of the nation’s most segregated communities. “That’s something I didn’t even know until the article came out,” he said, laughing a little. “I’m honored to have this opportunity, and I understand where that distinction will lead people to see me as a role model and something to strive for. Especially in these times, there’s so much racial unrest in the country.” He’s seen the data. In Peoria, where more than a quarter of the population is Black, the average white household makes 50 percent more money than the median Black household. White residents in Peoria are twice as likely to earn a college degree. The news and opinion company 24/7 Wall Street consistently placed Peoria in its top 10 worst cities for a Black person to live. This past November, Peoria checked in at Number 7 – just ahead of Number 8 Rockford and Number 9 Springfield. Unrest erupted May 31, in the form of 27 businesses being burglarized and 14 others damaged. “People see lots of room for improvement in the city,” Dixson said. “Hopefully as a newspaper, we can be part of addressing those issues and help Peoria turn things around. “Peoria can become a place people want to live, not a place they want to leave.”
Leaving Jackson Dixson’s colleagues, who double as his close friends because, as he puts
Romando Dixson, sports editor of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, will become the first Black editor of the Peoria Journal Star when he begins his new job July 20. (Photo supplied) it, he’s “married to the job,” say no one is better-equipped to lead the Journal Star. “I can’t think of a person I’d root for more, to go on and run a paper,” said Mary Irby-Jones, the top editor at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, who worked with Dixson for less than a year. “Your newsroom needs diversity of all sorts to be able to cover a community – from religion to race, to all sorts of thoughts and ideas. Romando understands how important the work we’re doing for the community is. It’s a great opportunity for the community to have a leader like Romando.”
Dixson was hired 17 years ago by Gannett, while the ink was still drying on the degree he earned at Michigan State University. He’s predominantly worked in sports, but has put in more than his share of time as a crime reporter. As the Clarion-Ledger’s sports editor, he has led deep dives as Mississippi State University and Ole Miss replaced their head football coaches. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s graciously helped out the news side with the landslide of stories that keep pouring in – including super-charged issues such as the removal of Confederate imagery from the state flag.
“All eyes are on us, in everything we do, all we cover, and everything we write,” Irby-Jones said. Dixson has won many awards, including an honor he and the staff at the Asheville City-Times in North Carolina won for coverage of the local police department’s handling of a crash involving the chief’s son. Dixson said South Carolina has invaluable tools that give the public access to police officers’ disciplinary records and job histories – tools every state and local government should provide.
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DIXSON Continued from Page 12 “We as journalists always want transparency and FOIA laws,” he said. “In South Carolina, they don’t give you everything you want, but they have some unique ways for you to really dig into an officer’s background.” “Having Romando’s background and having done all the things he’s done and lived the places he’s lived, it gives you different perspectives – where are the challenges and places we can connect, grow and heal the community,” Irby-Jones said.
Outside the office Dixson will tell you he has no life outside his work. He’ll not be telling the full truth. Before working in Mississippi, Dixson worked with Roberta Lloyd at the Greenville News, the third-largest paper in South Carolina. “He’s pretty much the coolest guy I know, and he’s a professional in every way,” said Lloyd, who worked in advertising but was riveted by Dixson’s stories and blown away by his process. “He would just spend so much time learning and researching. You know how some articles are an overview? He would do a deep dive and spend time with the family to tell the whole story.” He also researched his stories by
traveling and experiencing all he could, including various cuisines, she said. “He’s a foodie and a lover of culture. He’s a great traveler, and I think that makes him better at his job,” Lloyd said. “If you don’t appreciate life, you’ll get burned out.” They’d take short-ish trips to Charlotte, North Carolina, to shop – notably for clothes. “He likes to look good, and he likes my advice,” Lloyd said. “He can dress himself, though.” They’re also part of a group of eight professionals who would escape to Las Vegas every October, around both Dixson and Lloyd’s birthdays. “In Vegas, you can go to all seven continents, you know,” Lloyd said, laughing. In the office, she saw him as a vital resource for his colleagues – whether he was sharing ideas or welcome questions. After all, Irby-Jones said Dixson always had the answers. “He’d also help co-workers grow and challenge them,” Lloyd added. “He’ll help them learn from how he’s grown. He is cool, fun, and easy to listen to and get guidance from.”
His leadership style Having the answers is only one piece of the puzzle. Dixson firmly be-
lieves reporters, editors, everyone in a newspaper’s trenches, they all need to feel empowered and fulfilled. “I want to be in a place where people want to come to work, and where they feel appreciated,” Dixson said. “I will push people and have standards about the way things should be done … but people are the lifeblood of this business. I want to make sure I take care of the people first, whether it’s celebrating their accomplishments or providing the structure for them to do their jobs well, or supporting them in tough times.” In addition to print media, Dixson tested the waters in TV and radio at MSU. “There’s something about that camaraderie of working in a newsroom, getting to know your colleagues and putting out a newspaper you’re proud of every day,” he said. “Some journalists will say they have a love-hate relationship with the profession, and hopefully there’s a lot more love than hate.” He’s not blind to the reality that the modern newsroom must find a way to do more with less. “Very few people are in newsrooms these days, in our company,” he said. Dixson, who plans to start at the Journal Star on July 20, scrambled to tie up loose ends his last week
in Jackson, the week of July 6. He had to accept that he’d handle just three of the 12 features in the paper’s long-celebrated series on the top prep football players in the state. “It’s a scramble to finish everything and you have to come to grips with the fact that you won’t be able to finish everything,” he said. “There are bigger issues than the top football player in the state, but it’s still important to the kids.” A big sports fan, he shudders to think of the uncertain future of events. “This series is something people take a lot of pride in, but it’s also awkward when there might not even be a football season,” he said. Eager as he is to get to work in Peoria, leaving the South is bittersweet. Dixson’s going-away party will be held virtually. “That’s going to be hard,” he said. “I’m used to moving around, but there are so many good people in this newsroom, and every newsroom I’ve been in.” It’s a mutual admiration society, and Irby-Jones said as much as she’ll miss her colleague and friend, this is a transition that needs to be celebrated. “He is so awesome at what he does, I can’t even be upset. He’s going to do a magnificent job.”
Daily Herald employees’ visits to India become monthslong ordeals ADDISON – When Daily Herald newsprint handler Nita Dave took a 2-week leave of absence for an emergency visit to India on Feb. 28, she fully expected to be back at work in March. Dave and her husband, Raghuvir, finally made it back home July 10. Raghuvir had traveled to the city of Ahmedabad for planned medical treatment, which turned into an unexpected intensive care stay. Worried about her husband, Nita arranged to be by Raghuvir's side. Just before she was to return, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the country to shut down all international travel. "It's been difficult to think about our responsibilities in the United States," Raghuvir said from India via WhatsApp. "At first, (financially) we
were doing fine, but now our son, who is a part of a medical residency program in Houston, has had to help us with our bills." The Daves stayed with family members in India while they waited to return to their home in Roselle. International flights finally opened up recently, but seats were hard to secure. As they checked for what are called repatriation flights daily, they learned that all international flights were to be canceled until July 15. On July 6, the U.S. Embassy reported that some commercial flights had become available to European destinations and could enable U.S. residents to return home, and the Daves finally were able to get a flight.
Daily Herald press operator Jagtar Pal, who lives in Streamwood, had a similar experience when he traveled to India on Feb. 25 to attend his sister's wedding. "I was supposed to return on March 25, and I received an email from my travel agent on March 23 to say all flights were canceled," he said. Like the Daves, Pal was able to stay with family until he got a flight home June 23. He self-quarantined 14 days before returning to work July 7. His time in quarantine allowed him to get his finances back on track, working with the bank in order to get his mortgage payments caught up. "I'm just happy I am back and have my job to go back to," he said. "Other people are still stuck with no way home. There just aren't enough flights."
New Berlin Bee back in business Two residents take on campaign to round up subscribers, advertisers By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association NEW BERLIN – An in-depth report on the ouster of a central Illinois teacher’s union president, packed with background information and institutional knowledge, ran in the July 2 edition of the New Berlin Bee. If it weren’t for the campaign of two impassioned readers, the story would have gone uncovered. That edition wasn’t supposed to be printed. South County Publications, owner of eight small-town weekly newspapers, had made the decision – before the COVID-19 pandemic, in fact – to stop printing both the Bee and the Pleasant Plains Press. New Berlin residents Julie Rector and Desiree King stepped up and persuaded ownership to let them save the Bee. “We rely on the Bee for local news I knew no one else would report on,” said King, a 36-year-old mother of three who works part-time in risk management for the United States Department of Agriculture. “I knew our village board and our school board minutes wouldn’t be covered – and certainly not the way the Bee can.” “The timing of (the campaign) is incredible, when you think of Doug’s story,” said Connie Michelich, South County Publications’ managing editor. “Look what residents wouldn’t have gotten if we weren’t publishing that paper.” Reporter Doug Brady has written relentlessly about tumult with the New Berlin school district – on a vote of no confidence in the superintendent, issues with the school board president, and a referendum to spend nearly $40 million on a new school, to name a few issues. When Connie’s husband, Joe Michelich, whose family has owned the Bee since 1959, told Brady the paper would stay open for at least another year, he jokingly gave him an out. “We asked him if he wanted to reconsider, because it’s just a zoo over there,” Michelich said. “I’ve never seen anything as contentious as this, and Doug’s become a not popular man in town, shall we say.” And that makes for the best, and most vital, reporters. Michelich shudders to think of small towns where those watchdogs disappear.
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Desiree King (left) and Julie Rector hold a a copy of the New Berlin Bee newspaper outside New Berlin High School on July 2. King and Rector gathered support from residents and businesses and persuaded South County Publications to continue publishing the Bee for at least another year. (Photo supplied)
BEE Continued from Page 14 “The thing that bothers us most of all is we still have something to contribute to our communities,” he said. “There’s not a wire service that reports when something happens in our small towns.” King wrote and posted a petition at change.org, and it quickly got 350 signatures, which she and Rector sent to the Bee, along with pictures of the droves of comments residents made on Facebook posts calling for the community to save the Bee. The Michelichs committed to keep the Bee open another year – a far-better alternative to the nearby Pleasant Plains Press, which went through with the plan to close up shop. The Bee gave Rector a list of subscribers who hadn’t renewed, and she went door-to-door, literally and proverbially. In addition to pounding the pavement, she messaged all the lost subscribers on Facebook – whether she was friends with them or not. “People said they’d pay whatever,” said Rector, 41, King’s sister-in-law. “They just wanted to keep the Bee.” Some, troublingly, didn’t know the town had a local newspaper. “A lot of people I’ve found in the area didn’t even know the Bee exis-
ted,” King said. “They were excited to become subscribers.” She and Rector said many past subscribers they spoke with had no idea their subscriptions were lapsing, so they didn’t renew. The Bee doesn’t have an online subscription payment portal, so subscribers have to mail in their renewal information. “That’s kind of old-school, right? I don’t think I even own a stamp in my house,” Rector said. “So I’ve been telling people to just call over the phone and charge it.” Connie Michelich said with about 10 newspapers with different subscription rates, and pro-rating, an online payment portal for the Bee would be a logistical nightmare. She said ad revenue dropped 50 percent when the state went under lockdown because of the pandemic, but that even before that, the paper was in dire straits. “When these girls approached us, I was so excited that someone wanted us,” she said. “We’d been told these past few years that we’re irrelevant. You work your butt off, and you give up so many things to do this job, to do it the right way.” She and her husband said advertisers are expressing interest, and some are already buying ad space.
Joe Michelich said the local advertising has been pretty slim over the years, and that it’s high time small businesses became partners. “We know there’s some small businesses we can help out, and who can help us out,” he said. “We know it’s going to be hard to sell a half-page ad, but two-by-twos, two-by-fours, they add up.” Connie Michelich said when she was a kid, the community “lived for” the paper. “They couldn’t wait to get their paper,” she said. “I mean, I couldn’t wait until it came to our house, and I worked here.” Without it, King said, the reporting will be left to the rumor mill and armchair journalists – many of them on social media. “I don’t know if anyone makes the conscious decision to get their news on Facebook,” she said. “I think subconsciously, though, they think they can go on social media and think they’re getting all the news they need. There’s no way social media can replace a local newspaper.” Beyond the public’s right to know, she and Rector cherish the physical paper. “Ever since I was a kid, we’ve been in the New Berlin Bee,” Rector said.
“When people cut out that clipping, it makes you so proud. If you get rid of the Bee, there’s nothing for those scrapbooks anymore.” “Generations from now, they’ll be able to go through photo albums and see these clippings,” King said. “Nobody prints out photos from social media.” Rector said saving the Bee is a belated Father’s Day gift for her dad, Ike King. “That’s all my dad wanted for his Father’s Day,” she said. “He reads the State Journal-Register every day, and he loves the New Berlin Bee.” He and King’s husband, Justin, own a local farm, and they bought a small ad. “I don’t know why you’d put an ad in the paper as a local farmer,” Rector said, laughing, “but they wanted to show their support. Rector’s daughter, Grace, is 15, so she’s grateful for the chance to model civic-minded behavior for her. “I think it’s really amazing that two women have pretty much gotten the New Berlin Bee going again,” Rector said. “It’s great for her to see what’s going on and know that if she puts her mind to it, she can do anything.”
Chatham wins auction to buy McClatchy Co. Chatham Asset Management, the New Jersey hedge fund that is McClatchy Co.’s largest creditor, has won an auction to buy the bankrupt local news company. Under the proposed deal that will be submitted to the bankruptcy court for approval, Chatham would buy the entire company, McClatchy said July 12. “As long-standing supportive investors in McClatchy, we are pleased with the outcome of the auction,” Chatham said in a statement. “Chatham is committed to preserving newsroom jobs and independent journalism that serve and inform local communities during this important time.
The auction was July 10, after a federal judge rejected a last-minute challenge by a second hedge fund, Alden Capital Group, to Chatham’s starting bid. Chatham was the only bidder publicly identified until Alden filed its challenge in court late Wednesday. McClatchy has said that more than 20 parties expressed initial interest in the company and that “multiple bidders” submitted binding bids by the July 1 deadline. The company has declined to identify bidders or to provide details about the bids, citing non-disclosure agreements. In an earlier court filing that effectively served as a floor to open the bidding,
Chatham had offered to acquire McClatchy for about $300 million, a combination of debt credits and at least $30 million in cash. Alden alleged that some of McClatchy’s unsecured, or less protected, debt might be included in Chatham’s deal and that it was improper because bankruptcy Judge Michael E. Wiles has signaled that the issuance of the unsecured debt in 2018 could be open to litigation. But Wiles rejected the challenge, clearing the way for the auction to proceed. McClatchy was controlled by the McClatchy family for 163 years. The company owns 30 media titles in 14 states and Washington, D.C., including the Belleville News-Democrat.
Veteran, fast-riser take reins at Lee newspapers Leadership changes announced at Pantagraph, Herald & Review By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association BLOOMINGTON – Sick to her stomach, horrified by the idea of making cold calls, Allison Petty decided she’d grind out her semester working for The Daily Egyptian at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. “Initially I was terrified,” the 33-year-old Salem native said, reflecting on her first brush with journalism nearly 15 years ago. “I think a lot of young journalists go through that. For about 2 weeks, I was just nauseous all the time. Now she’s the newly minted local news editor of the Pantagraph in Bloomington, after spending 10 years at Lee Enterprises’ sister paper, the Herald & Review in Decatur. There, she served as a reporter covering government and politics, then as digital projects editor, and finally as local news editor. Imagine if she hadn’t stuck it out in that college newsroom, and gotten bitten by the journalism bug. “That’s where it got me,” she said. “I fell in love with it, and I didn’t want to do anything else.” In June, she replaced Julie Gerke, who left the Pantagraph – but not before making an impact on Petty. “She is wonderful,” Petty said. “Bloomington-Normal is a very interesting community. It’s two city councils, two school districts, two police departments, but you’re covering it as one newspaper. She was able to keep so many things – I’m learning now – straight in her head. I have so much respect for her. She was always so calm and gracious.” Scott Perry has taken over Petty’s old role in Decatur, where he’s worked 28 years in various roles, including 14 years as business editor and managing editor. He sat across the table from Petty when she interviewed. She’d later be
Allison Petty (left) is now local news editor of the Pantagraph in Bloomington. Scott Perry (right) is now the local news editor of the Herald & Review in Decatur, replacing Petty. The newsroom leadership changes were announced by Lee Enterprises in June. (Photos submitted) named one of Editor & Publisher's "25 Under 35" in 2018. She also was instrumental in the Herald & Review earning a "10 Newspapers That Do It Right" title from the trade magazine in 2019. “She’s done a great job and will continue to do so,” said Perry, 53, a longtime Decatur resident. “As an editor, you always feel a sense of accomplishment when you see somebody you helped find their way in the business, and watching them grow in the business.” Petty said she’s humbled by the honors, and that she hopes young journalists take note that they can be leaders in the industry. “We need to give young people some hope that their careers progress and that they’ll be able to find footing in an industry that’s struggling,” she said. “There’s a path to other roles and more responsibility.” Since her days at SIU, she has seen technology, and the way news is reported, develop at light speed. “I’ve learned the lesson over and over again that there are changes in the technology we use in the industry, and the changing of beat structure, so many developments, and it can be scary,” she said. “Every time I’ve pus-
hed through those changes, it’s been OK on the other side. You have to be adaptable to change – for instance, during a pandemic.” Central Illinois Editor Chris Coates was hired as the editor of the Herald & Review in December 2016, and Perry said he’s been happy to be the “nuts and bolts” while his colleagues have kept up with the times. “Chris and Allison had a good idea of where the business was going,” Perry said. “Allison understood so many things, so my job was to keep the paper being printed, and allow them to move the paper forward.” Perry was serving as interim editor when Coates was hired. “I was driving the ship and just trying not to hit any icebergs,” he said. “He was the person for the job, and the things he’s brought to the table, which we saw during the interviewing process, have proved as valuable as we’d hoped.” No matter how the industry changes, though, the job doesn’t change at its core. “Down at the bottom of all this, through all the changes, it’s still the same job: providing the community
… the things they need to know,” Perry said. “The stories are in front of you. You just have to go out and look. Look around you and see them. It’s the same job I was doing in college.” Petty said Perry’s institutional knowledge, the way he’s embedded himself in the community, is invaluable. That’s why she and her husband, Adam, are selling their house in Decatur and moving to the Bloomington-Normal area. “I would never want to be running a newspaper in a community where I’m not living there,” she said. She said while Lee Enterprises share content, whether it be wire stories or regional reports, it’s as important as ever to put a fine focus on local markets. “Local relevance is still paramount,” she said. “Readers want to know what’s going on down the street from them. I believe that journalism, especially local journalism, is one of the best things you can do for our community. Our society, our country, needs to know what’s going on with our government, and our neighbors. It makes us stronger in our communities and helps us better engage in our daily lives. “You be the change you wish to see.”
Bright futures amid uncertain times IJEA awards Journalist of the Year, All-State team Like almost everything else during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Journalism Education Association’s annual celebration of student journalists had a very different look and feel this year. The All-State Journalism Team and Journalist of the Year Celebration, normally held at the Illinois Press Association office in Springfield, was held on May 30 where many of us now meet – on Zoom. Still, dozens of students, advisers, parents and IJEA board members participated in the event. Following are the scripts that were read during the event to honor the Journalist of the Year, the Journalist of the Year runner-up, and the All-State Journalism team. This year’s Illinois Journalist of the Year is Ryan Kupperman. Prospect High School adviser Jason Block said Kupperman is one of the most valuable staff members he’s had these past four years. “When I first met Ryan as a freshman in my Journalistic Writing I course, I had no idea just how big of an impact he would make on our program,” Block said. “He quickly emerged, however, as a student who refused to be outworked, always finding the time and energy to get one more interview, go through one more revision, ask one more follow-up question. His effort showed in the quality of the work he produced, as he quickly earned the trust and respect of his fellow newspaper staff members. This was proven when he was named executive news editor at the end of his freshman year, an honor typically reserved for people much older. Yet Ryan showed his peers that their trust was not misplaced, doing such a great job running the news section that he earned the role of copy editor his junior year
Participants in the Illinois Journalism Education Association's year-end celebration May 30 on Zoom clap after Alex Miranda (with family in the second-from-right panel on the bottom row) is named a member of the organization's All-State Journalism Team. The event was co-sponsored by the Illinois Press Foundation. (Credit: Zoom)
Ryan Kupperman, shown here working with a student journalist on a story for the Prospector newspaper at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, is this year's Illinois Journalism Education Association Journalist of the Year. Kupperman and other students who were leaders at their high school's newspaper or yearbook were honored during a May 30 virtual celebration. (Photo submitted by IJEA) and eventually editor-in-chief this year. To have those three leadership positions on his resume truly tells you all you need to know about Ryan: When he is given a challenge, he at-
tacks it, never allowing the stress or pressure to get to him along the way.” And while he’s stood out all four years he’s been involved with the Prospector staff, Block said this year
he’s been particularly exceptional. He said his leadership has meant others feel seen, heard and supported. According to Block, Kupperman is a “dream leader” with a strong work ethic and a passion for helping others. He said these traits have made the Prospector newsroom a great place for staff to work this year. Not only a standout leader, Kupperman also doesn’t shy away from a tough story. In his time on staff, he has tackled stories about race, school athletic policies and safety in a time of school shootings. Block said he’s one of the best in-depth reporters and writers he’s ever had. Yet for all the accolades he’s earned, Kupperman said he’s determined to keep learning and growing. In his analytical essay, he focused on the special burden journalists face to get it right. To triple-check facts. To look at every angle. To ask the tough questions even when they make someone uncomfortable. To keep striving and striving until you’re sure everything is right and to be willing to admit when they’ve gotten something wrong. “What sets journalists apart from the loudest voices is we have the courage and the faith to admit when we are wrong,” Kupperman said. “The same courage and faith that our Founding Fathers saw when they made journalism the only profession protected by the Constitution.” Kupperman understands the weight of this responsibility and the importance of this work. For these reasons, and more, we’re proud to celebrate Ryan Kupperman as Illinois Journalist of the Year. Congratulations to Ryan and to his adviser, Mr. Block.
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FUTURES Continued from Page 17 Our runner up for Illinois Journalist of the Year is Sarah Waters. According to her adviser, Lisa Rossa, Niles West High School journalist Sarah Waters fights for what’s right and leads by example. “What distinguishes Sarah from other young journalists in Illinois, I think, is her sharp, critical intellect,” Rossa said. “She understands bureaucracy, accountability, the First Amendment, and the essential role reporters – accurate, objective reporters – play in speaking truth to power, in preserving democracy. Armed as such, she is steadfast in her commitment to reporting and calm in the face of conflict.” Waters didn’t join the news staff until her junior year, but she did everything she could to make up for lost time. “I spent the summer researching, preparing, and practicing my journalistic skills,” Waters said. “I taught myself how to write the different types of ledes, how to ask more open-ended questions in interviews, and even basic AP style. I wanted to do journalism, and I wanted to do it right.” And do it right she has. In her two short years on the Niles West News online staff, Waters has distinguished herself enough that she was asked to edit two sections of the website. She also spoke up for and fought for publication of a story her school’s administration wanted her to take down. “Early in the school year, administration inadvertently triggered a lockdown,” Rossa said. “Sarah interviewed students, teachers, and school administrators in the wake of the event. The story she published afterwards held fast to principles of objective reporting, and it exposed shortfalls in our threat readiness procedures. Specific issues with a faulty intercom system surfaced, and her story went on to cover reactions among students and staff both
Sarah Waters of Niles West High School in Skokie was named the runner-up for Journalist of the Year by the Illinois Journalism Education Association. during and after the incident. Though it was a false alarm, Sarah's coverage touched a nerve. “Administration brought the hammer down. Our brand new principal and her equally green assistant principal launched a campaign not to ‘censor’ but to badger Sarah into ‘self-editing’ the story: ‘What if something happens in an area with poor intercom coverage? Wouldn't you feel bad for exposing it?’ ‘Don't you care about school safety?’ ‘This makes us look so bad.’ “Emails were sent. Meetings were called. Parents were involved. Attorneys were consulted. “Sarah stood her ground. And journalism worked. Administration addressed the intercom system and plans to adopt the run-hide-fight active shooter protocol beginning next year. She believed (as did I) her story fell safely within the bounds of the New Voices law protecting student publications. But she also knew that if administration pressed the issue, the decision would rest in court. She is dogged and determined, but she is not obstinate or arrogant.” In addition to her work on the Niles
West staff, Waters has also started an independent newsletter to inform readers about issues related to climate change. She says the experiences she’s had over the course of the past two years have led her to be passionate about pursuing a career in journalism. “I aspire to produce journalism that effectuates meaningful change in the vein of making society more egalitarian and democratic,” she said. “That journalism has a positive, tangible effect on society by exposing injustices and giving voice to those who, in a time of oft-sensationalist and exaggerated media, is often overlooked.” For her passion, determination and willingness to speak truth to power, we’re proud to honor Sarah Waters as our runner-up for Illinois Journalist of the Year. Congratulations to Sarah and to her adviser, Ms. Rossa. Introducing the 2020 All-State Journalism Team: Senior Jan Abel, Galesburg High School, is editor-in-chief of
the GHS Budget newspaper. Jan’s adviser, Brad Bennewitz, says that her initiative, dedication and work ethic will be impossible to replace in the short term – and her imprint and Janet Abel influence will be felt for years through the ideas and high standards she brought to the publication and its companion website. In her application for the All-State team, Jan recalled that four years ago, journalism was nothing more to her than how her grandparents got their daily news. Now, she says, “Through my time working for the GHS Budget, I have come to realize how important journalism is in keeping the world connected, from people in my grandparents’ generation to the classmates I sit next to in Algebra.” Congratulations to Jan and her adviser, Mr. Bennewitz. Senior Carson Bierman, Oswego East High School, is editorin-chief of the Wolf’s Eye yearbook. Her adviser, Colleen Calvey, says that although Carson’s name won’t appear on many pages in the Wolf's Eye, the book would not have been published on time without her. Carson Bierman Calvey said: “I have never worked with a student who is so dedicated to telling the story of the year. Her motto was to ‘be bold and tell stories’ and she held herself and her staff to this standard.” Carson herself says an administration directive that the book could no longer cover “non-school sanctioned events” was her biggest obstacle this year; she drew on her knowledge of the Illinois New Voices Law, met with her editorial board and organized a conference call with the Student Press Law Center in res-
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FUTURES Continued from Page 18 response. Carson and her staff were able to stick with their coverage plans, but that’s not the final step: She says, “I am working with next year’s editors so they can continue this fight after I graduate.” Congratulations to Carson and her adviser, Ms. Calvey. Junior Sam Bull, Downers Grove North High School, is editor-in-chief of The Omega newspaper. His adviser, Elizabeth Levin, cited Sam’s mature work ethic and belief in excellence in nominating him for the All-State team. While The Omega is primarily a print publication, Sam Bull Levin says that Sam has worked hard to change that – redesigning the site and reimagining the way the publication uses social media. Sam noted in his essay that his writing this year has spanned sections, topics and styles, including contributions of briefs, reviews, columns, long forms and commentaries. His adviser also called him “the driving force” behind The Omega’s senior issue, which was printed and distributed – in May, during the stayat-home period. Sam says, “I have become a far better writer. I think my improvements allow me to give a voice to those who cannot or will not be heard.” Congratulations to Sam and his adviser, Ms. Levin. Junior Amanda Cassel, University of Chicago Laboratory High School, is managing editor of the U-High Midway newspaper. Her adviser, Logan Aimone, notes that in her position, she could skim the most interesting pieces for herself, but most often she tackles a story with Amanda Cassel complexity or difficult sources. One was Amanda’s account of a meeting, organized by Student Council, after a se-
cond incident of racism at the school within a few months. She attended the meeting at lunch time, wrote the story that afternoon and posted it soon after that. Amanda says that she didn’t want such an important story “to slip through the cracks.” Amanda’s essay also highlights her commitment to developing staff members: Rather than assigning difficult stories to the more experienced staff writers, she began assigning difficult stories to newer staff members – and then provided enough support to help them deliver without taking over. Next year, Amanda will be one of three editors-in-chief for U-High Midway. Congratulations to Amanda and her adviser, Mr. Aimone. Senior Sophie Converse, Richwoods High School, is editorin-chief of Excalibur yearbook. Her adviser, Dan Kerns, says that Sophie’s leadership as editor-in-chief has been essential to successful completion of the Excalibur yearbook during the COVID 19 pandemic, as school cloSophie Converse sed three weeks before submission of the book. That meant that staffers had to adapt how they gathered stories and accessed students for quotes, all while dealing with “sheltering in place.” Although Kerns observed that it would have been easy to give up, Sophie described herself as “a machine on autopilot … focused on nothing but the yearbook.” She added, “I loved what I was doing, and the experience was extremely formative. It wasn’t a chore to design layouts or take photos because I thoroughly enjoyed the way it felt to create things. Congratulations to Sophie and her adviser, Mr. Kerns. Senior Anastasia Correra, McHenry High School, is copy editor for the McHenry Messenger newspaper (print and online) as well as features editor for The Warrior
yearbook. Her adviser, Dane Erbach, succinctly describes her work: “Stacy has owned both publications.” Mr. Erbach recalled a story about student athletes feeling pressure to make Anastasia Correra unhealthy decisions; the original version, submitted by another writer, was what he called “the bare minimum.” Stacy gathered more perspectives to clarify the story, and the article earned the paper recognition – just one example of a story that would not have been published without her work. Stacy says, “When I discovered journalism, I realized that my writing can not only affect me and how I feel about certain things, but it’s also used to help and inform other people. Journalism gives a voice to not only me but my peers as well, and it really bonds people.” Congratulations to Stacy and her adviser, Mr.Erbach. Senior Grace Givan, Prospect High School, is editor-in-chief of The Prospector. Her adviser, Jason Block, says that Grace leads the staff with a combination of authority and compassion, and consistently takes on challenging stories simply because that’s where her curiosity takes her. Grace Givan She is always at the forefront of the decision-making process when The Prospector tackles controversial subjects, helping to determine the most responsible coverage. Grace herself says, “Journalism gave me the freedom to write articles about anything, and, therefore question my environment and value truth.” She added, “I’ve never valued journalism more than I do right now. The COVID-19 crisis has shed light on the importance and responsibility of journalists around the world — and that includes high school journalists.” Congratulations to Grace and her adviser, Mr. Block.
Senior Grace Hutchison, Villa Grove High School, has been editor of the Vade Mecum yearbook for the past two years, a position in which she not only edits but also works on fundraising, sales and distribution. This year, Grace guided a transition to a book that includes embedded Grace Hutchison multimedia content. Her adviser, Brian Cordes, says that while it took some time for others to see what Grace envisioned for the publication, her leadership and willingness to lead by example prevailed. Every senior was interviewed to share their thoughts on life and their future plans. Grace says simply, “I got serious about yearbook as a junior. If I could redo one thing, I would have become more involved in the program sooner. My desire to capture the story of my youth motivated me to become involved in journalism. Good journalism is accurately telling a story.” Congratulations to Grace and her adviser, Mr. Cordes. Junior Robert Le Cates, Meridian High School, is layout editor for the Meridian Moments yearbook. His adviser, Sheila Moore, says of Robert: “This young man will take home books on design trends, copywriting, layout, theme development every chance he can get. He is Robert Le Cates a resource to my other staff members, checking in on them, asking questions to figure out how best to guide them. He is a true asset.” Next year, he’ll be editor in chief of Meridian Daily News online and co-editor of the Meridian Moments yearbook. Robert says, “This year, while it might be my first in yearbook, has been the best year of my life. Before yearbook and our
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20 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
FUTURES Continued from Page 19 our journalism program, I didn't have much going for me that I enjoyed. From learning about theme development to writing copy and how to use a camera, I instantly fell in love with yearbook.” Congratulations to Robert and his adviser, Ms. Moore. Junior Alex Miranda, Downers Grove South High School, is the video news director for the Blueprint and writes in every section for both the print and online publications. But his adviser, Mary Long, pinpoints something beyond his job description: Alex writes all of Alex Miranda the program’s sensitive editorials because he is constantly thinking about the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics code and always considers how his
stories will affect others. Alex says, “Simply put, ‘good journalism’ is rooted in the conscientious efforts and ethical standards of the journalist themselves. In both my commitment to Blueprint as a writer and my growth through the program as an individual, I am proud to say I uphold these standards.” Next year, he will be online editor in chief. Congratulations to Alex and his adviser, Ms. Long. Senior Reid Watkins, Normal Community High School, is in his second year as sports editor of the Inkspot. He manages a team of sportswriters and also serves as broadcaster for girls basketball and baseball. His adviser, Brad Bovenkerk, says that Reid understands that a journalist doesn’t just tell the popular stories; he realizes that everyone has a story to tell. His biggest contribu-
tion this year has been in providing a voice to often overlooked athletic programs. Reid says: “The most enjoyable part of my job comes from growing relationships with the coaReid Watkins ches and athletes that I get to work with. As I have gotten more comfortable with the people I am reporting on, I am able to truly tell their story.” Congratulations to Reid and his adviser, Mr. Bovenkerk. Senior Kayla Yakimisky, Huntley High School, is in her second year as editor-in-chief of the Harmony yearbook. Her adviser, Lauren Teeter, notes that Kayla’s strengths in design and writing have earned her both local and national recognition through the Illinois Wo-
men’s Press Association, National Federation of Press Women, and Quill and Scroll. Ms. Teeter describes her as “devoted, empathetic, and daring. Without hesitaAlex Miranda tion I can say that she is one of the most hardworking people I’ve met.” Kayla says: “The heart of good journalism … relies on strong photos and compelling quotes directly from the student body. …I make sure our books are driven by the students on the page, not by a showy design or flowery copy. When people look back at their yearbook in 50 years, they won’t want to remember what Photoshop could do. They want to remember what life was.” Congratulations to Kayla and her adviser, Ms. Teeter.
AROUND THE STATE
HHS wins big with Purple Clarion HARRISBURG – Harrisburg High School took first place for Best Print Publication in its division in the Illinois Journalism Education Association's statewide contest. HHS journalism teacher Cathy Wall said the division features schools such as U-High Midway, University of Chicago Laboratory High School and Phoenix Military Academy from the Chicago area, as well as smaller, public high schools In addition to finishing first in the Best Print Publication category, the Purple Clarion took third place for Best Publication Overall, which includes printonly publications, online-only publications and hybrid (print with online) publications.
New home for News-Gazette archives CHAMPAIGN – Almost half of the published history of the 168-year-old News- Gazette now resides at the Urbana Free Library and eventually will be open to the public to browse and enjoy.
Earlier this month, a semitrailer backed up to the newspaper's former home in downtown Champaign, and workers hauled away a cache of newspaper clippings, books, photographs, documents and a dimly lit microfilm reader. Hundreds of boxes of newspaper clippings, neatly organized in envelopes dating to 1947, now belong to the library's Champaign County Historical Archives. Because of space limitations at the library, they're being stored across Race Street in 1,600 square feet of rented space in the lower level of Lincoln Square Mall.
Events could free Alden to buy more Trib Publishing shares CHICAGO – When Tribune Publishing and its largest shareholder, Alden Global Capital, struck a deal July 8 to extend an ownership standstill agreement, it appeared to buy a year before the hedge fund could potentially take control of the newspaper company.
But a filing July 9 with the Securities and Exchange Commission lays out a number of circumstances from other major shareholders teaming up to someone making an offer to buy Tribune Publishing that would terminate the agreement and allow Alden to buy more shares. In fact, Alden itself could make an offer to buy a majority stake in the company, despite the standstill agreement. Alden, a New York-based hedge fund with a reputation for sweeping layoffs at its newspaper properties, took a 32 percent stake in Tribune Publishing in November, but was restricted from buying additional shares through June 30. In return, Alden added two representatives to Tribune Publishing's board. Wednesday's standstill agreement added Alden co-founder Randall Smith to the Tribune Publishing board, giving the hedge fund three seats on the now seven-member board. It also restricts Alden's stake from passing 33% until after Tribune Publishing's next annual shareholder meeting, which can take place no later than June 15, 2021.
News organizations change style to capitalize 'B' for Black CHICAGO – The Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and Chicago SunTimes were among news organizations that have adapted their style to capitalize the “B” in black when referring to people. The change conveys “an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa,” John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards, said in a blog post June 19. “The lowercase black is a color, not a person.”
The Chicago Tribune change, announced June 22, was made because "Black," in this case, means an ethnic identity, according to a Tribune report. The decision applies across all websites and newspapers in the Chicago Tribune Media Group, and is the product of many newsroom conversations over many years. Those discussions became more frequent, more focused and more immediate over the past weeks and months. The change is also in step with The Associated Press.
The Chicago Sun-Times was the first in Illinois to report the change. Nykia Wright, the newspaper’s CEO, and Chris Fusco, its executive editor, told readers on June 15 that its decision was made after engaging in dialogues with people inside and outside its newsroom and company, including readers and employees. “We also instructed our journalists that in the event the terms Black and Brown are used together to collectively describe a group, we will capitalize the “B” in both words, such as “Black and Brown communities,”
Wright and Fusco said in the note to readers. “Our decision puts Black on the same level as Hispanic, Latino, Asian, African-American and other descriptors. “We also told our journalists to continue to lowercase the “w” in white.” Capitol News Illinois, the Illinois Press Foundation’s news service covering state government, also made the change to reflect the AP’s decision, editor and IPF Director Jeff Rogers said.
AROUND THE STATE
Rochelle News-Leader office re-opens on May 29 ROCHELLE – When the state moved to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, the Rochelle News-Leader reopened its office to the public May 29. The majority of staff members are transitioning back from the past 2 months of working mostly at home. In keeping with state guidelines, visitors and customers are asked to wear face coverings and maintain proper distancing when entering the building, and for the time being visitors will be limited to two at a time at the front desk. The News-Leader’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Shelbyville Daily Union shifts from print to digital only SHELBYVILLE – The Shelbyville Daily Union’s May 29 paper was its last, as it has transitioned to online-only at shelbyvilledailyunion.com. Subscribers who had not yet activated their online access could do so by calling the paper’s office.
According to a story in the May 29 edition, the conversion from print to digital-only is necessary because of the major loss of advertising revenue during the COVID-19 emergency on top of burdensome print delivery costs, newsprint and ink expenses, production and printing.
Alden Global doubles stock ownership of Lee Enterprises DAVENPORT – Alden Global Capital more than doubled its stock ownership in Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises the week of June 8. Lee operates in 77 markets after its purchase of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Media Group's holdings earlier this year. According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, MNG Enterprises Inc., the business name for Alden, has bought 4,099,700 Lee shares this year for about $10 million, which equals about 7.1 percent of the company. Alden now owns 7.1 percent of Lee's shares, and SEC documents filed in mid-June show Alden purchased about 1.3 percent of the company via
buying 522,400 shares in addition to its purchases earlier this year. Alden also recently increased its ownership stake in Tribune newspapers, and through its majority ownership of Digital First Media, owns more than 50 daily newspapers. It has gained a reputation of aggressive cost cutting and staff reductions and was once called "a destroyer of newspapers" in The New York Times. It is expected it will further increase its ownership in Tribune newspapers this summer.
Hyde Park Herald moving to new offices HYDE PARK – The Hyde Park Herald is moving its offices to a new location. After five years in the Hyde Park Bank Building, 1525 E. 53rd St., the Herald will share space in the Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. Since 2006, the Experimental Station has worked to foster small business and community initiates and to build independent cultural infrastructure on the South Side of
Chicago. Through the years, it has supported the development of several journalistic enterprises, including Invisible Institute, City Bureau and South Side Weekly.
Pleasant Plains Press ceases publication PLEASANT PLAINS – The Pleasant Plains Press put out its last edition June 25 due to business reasons, according to a story published by the paper on that date. The newspaper dates back 121 years, and the decision was made despite “a lot of requests from Plains readers to keep the Press going,” the story states. Management said the impact of COVID-19 was highly influential in the decision. “The bottom line is that our entire operation is facing tough times and things can't get back to normal soon enough,” the story states. “The decline of the small-town newspaper is unfortunately a reality we are living, and it is a constant fight to stay in business.”
22 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
AROUND THE STATE
Mount Carmel Register announces local business stimulus program MOUNT CARMEL – The Mount Carmel Register put together a $500,000 advertising stimulus fund for local businesses. The fund will be used to match dollar for dollar to their advertising purchase in Register products, including print, on¬line, and custom marketing. The matching fund will help every local business restart and reconnect to their customers. Businesses could apply for the matching funds online. The program ran through June 30. Register marketing specialists helped each business prepare a restart marketing campaign.
Kankakee Daily Journal launches grant program KANKAKEE – The Daily Journal announced the launch of its Rebuilding Kankakee County program, a special grant program valued at more than $3,000 of advertising to both small and medium-sized businesses. Ten grant recipients will receive three months of advertising on programmatic digital platforms, daily-journal.com, email marketing, Lifestyles Magazine and/or Daily Journal advertising. Any business with less than 100 employees was encouraged to apply. The application process included a 100-word essay on how the business will benefit from an advertising grant and what the advertising and digital strategy is for the next 90 days and remainder of the year. Applying businesses also were asked to describe how they will track the success of the 90-day campaign, to describe the desired design and message and include what other advertising and promotion the business is planning on during this time frame to jumpstart their business.
Tribune Publishing, union agree to furloughs CHICAGO – Tribune Publishing and the Chicago Tribune Guild agreed May 13 to a three-week furlough for all unionized newsroom employees making $40,000 or more as a cost-saving measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. The furloughs will be taken in oneweek increments from May through July, the Chicago-based newspaper chain said. Employees will continue to receive health benefits but no salary during the weeks they are on furlough. They also will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits as well as the extra $600 per week unemployment supplement provided for under federal law through July 25. Newsroom employees may resign from the company and receive severance instead of the furlough, the company said. In April, Tribune Publishing implemented permanent pay cuts of up to 10 percent for nonunion employees making $67,000 per year or more as well as three-week furloughs for nonunion employees making between $40,000 and $67,000. Top company executives took pay cuts, with CEO Terry Jimenez forgoing two weeks of salary in addition to a 10 percent reduction in his annual base pay of $575,000. The median pay last year for Tribune Publishing employees across the country was $47,249, according to an April filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tribune Publishing had about 4,100 full-time employees at the end of 2019. In addition to the Chicago Tribune, the company owns the Baltimore Sun; Hartford Courant; Orlando Sentinel; South Florida Sun Sentinel; New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia; and The
Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia. A majority of the newsrooms are unionized, and all other bargaining units had already reached agreement with the company on pay cuts and furloughs.
Shareholders approve hedge fund seats on Tribune board CHICAGO – Shareholders of Tribune Publishing elected two representatives of hedge fund Alden Global Capital to the newspaper chain's board May 21, as the man with the third-largest stake in the company seeks to break it up. Mason Slaine, who owns a 7.9 percent stake in the company, told the Tribune he voted against all six board nominees at Tribune Publishing's annual shareholder meeting, and said he now believes the company should sell all of its newspapers to local investors. An investor and the former CEO of business information publisher Thomson Financial, Slaine owns 2,866,349 shares of the Chicago-based newspaper company, most of which he acquired on the open market since February. Slaine said he approached Tribune Publishing executives last year to inquire about buying the company's Florida newspapers. On May 21, the Baltimore Sun reported that a group of Baltimore philanthropists, businesspeople and the union representing journalists are continuing a campaign to return that newspaper to local ownership, which it hasn't had since 1986, but its chances of success were uncertain. Journalists at the Chicago Tribune earlier this year launched their own efforts to find new owners. Earlier in May, the union representing newsroom employees at the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune Publishing newspapers launched a proxy campaign to unseat the two Alden board members.
Goreville Gazette merges with Vienna Times GOREVILLE – The Gazette Goreville Gazette merged with The Vienna Times on June 1. The Times will continue to cover Goreville and the Lake of Egypt alongside the rest of Johnson County. The first issue of the Goreville Gazette was published on July 6, 1977. The paper was 15 cents per copy, which is about 66 cents in 2020 dollars. Mary and Ron Hines started the Gazette that year, with Mary Wednesday, serving as publisher and her husband Ron as editor. The Hineses owned the Gazette until October 1979, when Don Sanders purchased it from the couple. Sanders, who had been publishing The Vienna Times since the 1960s, owned the Gazette for nearly 30 years. In 2008, Lonnie Hinton and Jerry Reppert purchased the Gazette along with The Vienna Times from Sanders, bringing the paper into Reppert's publications family.
Daily Record implements paywall June 1 LAWRENCEVILLE – The Daily Record launched a new paywall on its website June 1. While most information will be behind the paywall, content related to public health and safety will not. This will include current coverage of the ongoing COVID¬19 pandemic. Readers who are current subscribers to the paper already have access to all stories on the website. Print subscribers can link their subscription to their account through the website. Non¬subscribers will see a message that will prompt them to log in or purchase a subscription for full access to news articles and features. New readers can buy an online-only subscription for $4.99 per month. A one-day pass is $2, and a one-week pass is $3. A subscription to both the print and online products costs $6.99 per month.
Young journalists introduce ‘The Monday Times’ during pandemic Republished from the May 10 News-Gazette URBANA – The meetings between reporters and editors of "The Monday Times" weekly newspaper in Urbana had to take place on an island in the Nintendo Switch game "Animal Crossing," speaking to each other in animal form. It's the only way 9-year-old Juniper Gaines and her brother, 7-year-old Dashiell, have been able to meet with their classmates since schools closed in March. "They're really missing their friends," said their father, Brian Gaines, in a May story published by The News-Gazette of Champaign. "The Monday Times" was born out of boredom. Home from school, Juniper and Dashiell normally sift through the comics and the word puzzles in each day's News-Gazette. So their mother, Brianna Lawrence, suggested they start a newspaper. "They kind of take after their mother, and she's always creating things," Brian said. "They were just kind of restless and she kind of said, 'What can you do to keep busy?' She just kind of jumped right on it and started writing. They had to get some help for her to get the formatting in the paper printed. But Juniper kind of wrote the screenplay the same way." They decided to call it "The Monday Times" and deliver on the only day The News-Gazette doesn't publish.
Editors Dashiell (left) and Juniper Gaines hold up “The Monday Times,” the newspaper they began publishing in the spring while home from school because of the coronavirus pandemic. Younger brothers Sterling (middle), who writes a weekly garden column, and Tobin look on. (Photo provided to The News-Gazette of Champaign) "There's no newspaper on Monday and everyone is kind of bored," Juniper said, "so we wanted to entertain people while they're at home." So they began calling and texting their friends from their parents' phones and meeting them on "Animal Crossing" to organize a staff of contributors. In the April 27 edition, Juniper wrote the headline of the day with the all-caps headline "SCHOOL CANCELED!!!" after Gov. J.B. Pritz-
ker announced that schools would be closed for the rest of the year. Eight writers ages 4 to 11 submitted stories and comic strips. In addition to his story titled Coronavirus News about the importance of being careful and staying home, Dashiell compiled a word scramble. That first story included an advertisement for May subscriptions to "The Monday Times," which cost $3. Eighteen people subscribed to the print edition,
all within biking distance for Juniper and scootering distance for Dashiell. Three more paid for an online subscription. Juniper and Dashiell are learning both the difficulties of meeting deadlines and the harsh reality of their jobs as editors. They've had to assign stories for kids who want to write comics and make sure stories fit the criteria of a newspaper article. The family also had to buy a new printer to replace their old one that wasn't working properly. And for two weeks, they've managed to work through those struggles to get a paper out. The offerings in the May 4 edition included two stories about fires in town, complete with a contributed photo; Dashiell's story about the cancellation of the 1919 Stanley Cup playoffs that he learned about from a book he's reading; a recipe for brownies; a joke column; a story about hosts; and Juniper's story about her friend, Theo, and his outdoor "Museum of Interesting Things." Subscriptions go through the end of the month, but that doesn't mean "The Monday Times" is going anywhere when the summer months hit. "Our goal is [to keep it going through] May and June," Juniper said, "but if we can, we want to do July. When everything gets back to normal, which is probably going to be awhile, it's going to be hard to do a Monday paper, but we'll do it if we can.”
AROUND THE STATE
Sun-Times launches free Spanish language website CHICAGO – In December, the Chicago Sun-Times created a buzz by publishing a Spanish-language edition that wrapped the Dec. 20 newspaper. Now, after months of gauging feed-
back from Chicago and suburban Latinos, a new project to fill the void left by the demise of the Chicago Tribune's Hoy publication has begun. The print edition, La Voz Chicago, is being relaunched as a Spanish-language news website at suntimes. com/la¬voz. Since the Mother's Day launch, readers have been able to go
to the site and find a wide range of Sun-Times stories, including ones about the coronavirus pandemic, translated into Spanish. As the site grows more established, readers will also find original Spanish-language reporting. A new email newsletter "La Voz a las dos" will put these stories directly in readers'
email inboxes at 2 p.m. each weekday; readers can sign up at getrevue. co/profile/la¬voz. Stories also will be distributed in Spanish on Twitter at twitter.com/ lavozchi and on Facebook at facebook.com/lavozchi. The newsletter and all La Voz Chicago content will be available for free through a grant from AARP Chicago.
24 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
PRESS PEOPLE tion for the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, will cover the same beat in the Metro East for the BND. Report for America is a national program Megan Valley that places emerging journalists in newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered issues. The program pays about half the reporters’ salaries and helps the news organizations raise money for the other half through local donors.
Jacobson wins battle to cover Pritzker news conferences CHICAGO – In what supporters are hailing as a victory for press freedom, Amy Jacobson has won her battle to attend Gov. J.B. Pritzker's media briefings as a journalist. Jacobson, who cohosts mornings on Amy Jacobson Salem Media news/ talk WIND 560¬ AM with Dan Proft, sued Pritzker and his press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, earlier in June for barring Jacobson from daily news conferences. Pritzker said Jacobson had forfeited her status as a reporter by "taking an extreme position" when she spoke at a Reopen Illinois rally May 16 protesting the governor's stay-at-home order. Backed by Liberty Justice Center, a conservative public-interest litigation center based in Chicago, Jacobson and Salem claimed Pritzker's ban violated Jacobson's First Amendment rights to freedom of the press and free speech as well as her rights to equal protection and due process. On June 15, Pritzker and Abudayyeh rescinded the ban. The walkback came in the form of a letter from the office of Attorney General Kwame Raoul. "Ms. Jacobson may participate fully in the governor's press access, including but not limited to press briefings and conferences, to the same extent that any other media is allowed to participate," read the letter, which was signed by Assistant Attorney General Michael Dierkes. Jacobson was employed as a reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 until 2007, when she was fired in the wake of an ethics scandal. Since 2010, she has worked as a talk¬ show host at 560-AM The Answer.
Rockford Register Star Opinion Editor Wally Haas (left) looks over a key to the city on June 29 with his wife, Mary, grandchildren Audrey, Owen and Even Olvera, and daughter, Renee Olvera. Mayor Tom McNamara (right) presented Haas the key as the longtime editor prepares to retire after more than 40 years with the newspaper. (Photo by Kevin Haas of the Rockford Register Star)
Zimmerman promoted to deputy digital editor at Crain’s CHICAGO – Sarah Zimmerman, who joined Crain's Chicago Business last year as a reporter, has been promoted to deputy digital editor for audience and social media. In this revamped role, Zimmerman will edit copy for Crain's website, ChicagoBusiness.com, and Sarah Zimmerman contribute story ideas in collaboration with other members of the editing team. She will also work closely with Crain's audience development team on developing and interpreting data that will help the publication improve its daily digital report, expand its reach via social media, and grow its online audience. A native Californian, Zimmerman, 24, graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and political science from the University of Chicago. She then received a master's degree in public affairs reporting
from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Zimmerman covered the 2018 Springfield legislative session and the Illinois primary election for the Associated Press before heading to Politico in Washington, D.C., to report on agriculture and trade. After that, she returned to the AP and covered another state legislative session, that time in Oregon.
Report for America brings two new reporters to BND BELLEVILLE – Two reporters have joined the Belleville News-Democrat via the Report for America program. DeAsia Page, a recent University of Kansas graduate, will cover critical issues affecting East St. Louis, Cahokia, Centreville and Alorton – all low-income and Black ¬majority comDeAsia Page munities in southeastern Illinois. Megan Valley, a Notre Dame graduate who most recently covered educa-
Key to the city presented to longtime Rockford editor ROCKFORD –¬ Wally Haas, who retired June 30 after more than 40 years with the Rockford Register Star, was given a key to the city June 29 by Mayor Tom McNamara. McNamara surprised Haas with the key, a symbolic gesture of thanks for his service to the city, during a regularly scheduled meeting between the Editorial Board and the mayor and Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney. Haas joined the newspaper as a copy editor on Jan. 28, 1980, and has been the opinion editor since 2001. He also worked as regional editor, news editor and assistant managing editor, among other roles, before becoming the opinion editor. He was also opinion editor for The Journal-Standard of Freeport since 2012 and its news editor since 2017. He previously worked at the Champaign¬-Urbana Courier, The Champaign-Urbana News Gazette and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
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Greg Hoskins, publisher of Better Newspapers Inc., announced the promotions of Scott Hoskins to MetroEast regional manager, Katrina Crabtree to corporate business manager, and Emilee Hutman (of Scott Air Force Base) to corporate account executive. The Better NewspaScott Hoskins pers headquarters is located in Mascoutah and is comprised of 24 weekly publications throughout Illinois and Missouri. Hoskins’ son, Scott, is responsible for the Metro East operations, Katrina Crabtree and his other son, Mark, is in charge of the Altamont press plant and newspapers (Altamont News & St. Elmo Banner). “Scott, Katrina, and Emilee are great assets to our company,” Emilee Hutman Hoskins said. “Each one has established experience in all levels of the newspaper industry, and are proven community leaders.” Scott Hoskins will oversee the following Metro East newspapers: Mascoutah Herald, Scott Flier, Clinton County News, Fairview Heights Tribune, Highland Shoppers Review, Nashville News, and Times-Tribune of Troy.
Daily Herald's Krishnamurthy to lead Chicago Headline Club CHICAGO – As the Chicago Headline Club marks its 100th year, the Daily Herald's Madhu Krishnamurthy is stepping up to lead the nation's largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Krishnamurthy, the paper's diversity editor and education writer, is succeeding Robert K. Elder as president of the nonprofit organization, which promotes ethical journalism and the pubMadhu Krishnamurthy lic's right to know. During Elder's term, the organization doubled its membership and granted $50,000 in stipends to journalists struggling through the COVID-19 shutdown. Elder also oversaw the first virtual Peter Lisagor Awards ceremony in lieu of the annual banquet in May. In an online message to members, Krishnamurthy said her goals include helping area newsrooms improve coverage of communities of color and employment of minorities, and promoting partnerships with higher education journalism programs.
Gutknecht named Illinois Bar Journal editor WATERLOO – Timothy A. Gutknecht of the law firm of Stumpf & Gutknecht, P.C., in Columbia, has been appointed as editor-in-chief of the Illinois Bar Journal, a publication of the Illinois State Bar Association. The 28,000-member bar association, with offices in Springfield Timothy Gutknecht and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public. The IBJ editorial board has responsibility for all of the publications of the association, including the monthly journal and various newsletters. The board is comprised of lawyers, judges and nonlawyers. Gutknecht received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College in 1990 and his J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1993.
26 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Sun-Times names Wright CEO, Fusco executive editor CHICAGO – Sun-Times Media announced May 22 it is promoting its interim chief executive officer into that position permanently and is changing the title of its top newsroom leader to better reflect his role in both editorial and business operations. Nykia Wright, previously the news organization’s chief operating officer and interim CEO, has been named CEO, effective immediately. Chris Fusco, previously editor-in-chief, has been named executive editor, also effective immediately. Wright, 40, and Fusco, 47, have presided over a growth period at the Sun-Times, expanding its digital reach, streamlining business operations and building new products, most recently La Voz Chicago, a Spanish-language news website. The newspaper was named one of Editor & Publisher’s “10 News Publishers That Do It Right: 2020,” and SunTimes journalists in May won 14 top
honors in the Chicago Headline Club’s Peter Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism — as many first-place winners in one year as the total combined in the previous three Nykia Wright years. “I am very happy for Nykia and Chris,” said Jorge Ramirez, chairman of the Sun-Times board of directors. “They have done a great job navigating a volatile business model in volatile times. The Sun-Times and all of our constituents are lucky to have them.” Wright joined the Sun-Times as COO in October 2017 after working as a corporate strategy consultant with experience in financial management, business restructuring and human resources. She became interim CEO a little more than one year later. As a consultant, Wright’s clients ranged from food giants McDonald’s
and Tyson Foods to a variety of universities, including the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin and Duke University. An Atlanta native, she has an MBA from the Chris Fusco Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Carnegie Mellon University. She also has an international business certificate from the University of Cambridge in England. Wright was profiled in 2018 in Crain’s Chicago Business’ “40 under 40” feature for top business leaders under age 40. She recently was named to the board of directors for Choose Chicago, the not-for-profit organization that promotes Chicago’s convention and tourism industry. Fusco was named Sun-Times editor-in-chief in October 2017. Before that, he served as the news organi-
zation's interim editor-in-chief for nearly three months and managing editor for about a year. He had been a Sun-Times reporter for 16 years, including seven as an investigative reporter. As a reporter, he was the recipient of more than a dozen local and several national journalism honors, including the George Polk Award for local reporting, which he shared with colleagues Tim Novak and Carol Marin in 2014. Fusco began his journalism career at the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake and joined the Daily Herald, Illinois’ third-largest newspaper, in 1995, eventually becoming the newspaper’s lead political reporter. He moved to the Sun-Times in 2000, working as a state government reporter and relief editor on the city desk. An Alsip native, he is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.
Illinois native in Paul Simon Public Policy Institute talk
Politics in the Age of Trump" on campus. The discussion with Hulse was part of the Institute's series called "Understanding Our New World" with historians, political Carl Hulse analysts, and state and national leaders discussing how the pandemic is reshaping the world. Hulse, who is from Ottawa, graduated from Illinois State University, He began his full-time journalism career at the LaSalle-Peru NewsTribune in January 1977. Hulse also worked for the Kankakee Daily-Journal and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel prior to becoming a correspondent and later Washington bureau chief for a regional group of community pa-
pers then owned by the New York Times in 1986. Hulse was appointed the newspaper’s night editor in 2001 and went to Capitol Hill a year later.
sTribune. She worked out of the Princeton office covering multiple beats throughout Bureau County. After two years, she was promoted to Princeton Goldie Rapp bureau chief. In February 2013, Rapp accepted a staff writer position at the Bureau County Republican. In September 2014, she was promoted to senior staff writer, which is the position she's held for more than five years. Rapp was promoted when Editor/ General Manager Jim Dunn retired after 42 years with Shaw Media on June 12. Rapp lives in Princeton with her husband and two daughters.
CARBONDALE – Carl Hulse, the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and an Illinois native, participated in a virtual discussion June 1 hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Hulse, who is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on congressional issues, shared his thoughts on the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the November presidential and congressional elections, and the role the U.S. Supreme Court might play during the coming elections. This was Hulse's second presentation with SIU Carbondale. In April 2018, he discussed "Washington
Rapp named Bureau County Republican associate editor PRINCETON – Goldie Rapp, who has been a reporter with the Bureau County Republican since 2013, has been named associate editor of the newspaper, as well as the Putnam County Record. Rapp a Michigan native, earned her bachelor’s degree in English and specialization in journalism in 2010 at Michigan State University. Upon moving to Princeton the summer after graduation, she landed her first reporting job at the La Salle New-
Daily Herald adds Report for America reporter
Kinkel named office manager in Greenville
ADDISON – Trey Arline, a recent journalism graduate of the University ofNevada, Las Vegas, has joined the Daily Herald’s newsroom via the Report for America program. Arline’s position is being funded largely through a unique grant by Report for America and by donations from Trey Arline dozens of generous suburbanites who believe in the importance of local journalism. Report for America is a nonprofit foundation devoted to strengthening local newspapers as a way to reinforce democracy in communities across the country. This year, the Daily Herald is among 164 news organizations nationwide it chose to host journalists. The paper’s original plan was add three reporters to its community coverage through the Report for America program, but the pandemic’s impact on the economy thwarted fundraising, according to a Daily Herald. Arline is focusing on covering two regions in the suburbs: the Irving Park Road corridor in northern DuPage County and the Round Lake-area towns in central LakeCounty.
GREENVILLE – A woman who says she's "always loved newspapers" has been named office manager for
The Greenville Advocate. Tammy Kinkel will manage the daily functions of the business office, including billing, accounts receivable, and customer service. Though she and her husband, Jeff, live between Greenville and Poca-
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Stilt new editor at The Advocate in Greenville GREENVILLE – A Bond County native has returned to the area to join The Advocate as editor. Steven Stilt comes to the position after serving as a staff reporter for The Centralia Sentinel for the past 8 years. He is the son of Ronald and Beverly Stilt of southern Bond County, and is a graduate of Greenville High School as well as Greenville University, where he majored in English. As editor, Stilt will write news articles, take pictures, edit stories, and prepare page layouts for the twice-weekly paper.
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28 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Friends, colleagues mourn loss of longtime Quad-City Times photojournalist Larry Fisher MOLINE – Larry Fisher was there at the right time, the right place, and the right shutter speed. Longtime Quad-City Times photojournalist Fisher, 69, of LeClaire, Iowa, whose eye for news and capturing people's expressions earned him hundreds of awards, died May 23. His friends and colleagues – many one and the same – mourn his friendship and his remarkable ability to tell stories, big and small, without the need for words. His dark sense of humor was a good hiding place for his decency, said Quad-City Times columnist Barb Ickes. “Over years on assignments, we shared boat rides together, but we never accomplished it the way we agreed was best – with fishing poles in the water and beer in the cooler,” Ickes said. “It’s OK, though. Working with Larry was recreation. Godspeed.” Todd Mizener, marketing and communications director for the Quad-City Times/Dispatch Argus, formerly was director of photography for the Dispatch. “Larry was a true character, fierce competitor and an ace photojournalist,” Mizener said. “We battled for the best shot on many occasion. But afterward we swapped stories and always parted with a smile.” “I loved the fact that Larry embraced video late in his career," Mizener remembered. "When so many older photogs were looking for ways to cross the finish line unencumbered by the new technology Larry embraced it,” Mizener said. Fisher was an original, old-school photojournalist – a survivor with a
Longtime Quad-City Times photographer Larry Fisher died May 23. He was remembered by colleagues for his work ethic and sense of humor. (Photo by Todd Mizener of the Quad-City Times) biting wit and an honest tongue. He joined the staff of the Quad-City Times in May 1975. He began his career working for the student newspaper and yearbook while attending Davenport Central High School. He was a graduate of Palmer Junior College and the Kansas City Art Institute. He earned more than 200 local, state and national recognitions for his work over a 39-year career in photography. “Stars are funny things. They say after they burn out, their light will continue to be seen for thousands of years, billions of miles away,” said Quad-City Times Photo Editor Kevin Schmidt. “That's how I'll remember Larry Fisher: always there, always bright." He consistently captured wonderful award-winning images of
life in the Quad-Cities for 39 years, Schmidt said. Among Fisher's assets was his tenacity, recalls former Times News Editor Deb Brasier. "One New Year's day, we were chasing an officer-involved fatal shooting that had happened overnight in rural Scott County," she recalled. "Larry criss-crossed every rural road in the county looking for the farmhouse where the shooting had occurred," she said. "He was on the road for hours, searching for the location of the incident." That time, he didn't get the photo. "But he tried until the sun went down," Brasier said. "It was one of the very few times he didn't complete an assignment." “The thing about photographers is, they cover it all,” said Quad-City
Times reporter Alma Gaul. “A reporter has a beat or area of specialty, but photographers – why, the world is their beat.” In 39 years at the Times, there wasn’t any story, any happening, in which Fisher wasn’t involved, she said, including presidential visits, murder trials, the John Deere Classic, football, concerts, county fairs, fires, car crashes, floods, snow, pelicans, sunspots, rainbows, fishermen, funerals, construction projects, the first flowers of spring, and labor strikes. He photographed young people, old people, rich people, and poor people. “Fearless of heights, Fisher took photos from vantage points that few would attempt to scale,” Gaul said. “He had a police scanner on his desk and in his car and if he heard of news happening, he was out the door. He had a sense of urgency, knowing that if you’re not on the scene at the beginning, you can’t make up for it later.” When Fisher started at the Quad-City Times, cameras contained film and newsrooms were equipped with darkrooms, filled with pungent-smelling chemicals and hung with black curtains. “Fisher was a master of the darkroom, but was the first to shoot color, the first to shoot digital,” Gaul remembered. “Through all those changes his work remained the same: Bringing to readers worlds they otherwise would not see – taking in-focus pictures under bad lighting conditions of subjects that were moving, in color, and, on top of that, capturing the essence of the story.”
See FISHER on Page 30
Bob Frisk, legendary sports editor, dies after cancer battle CHICAGO â€“ Universally beloved, always upbeat and a legend in suburban high school sports, Bob Frisk's rough entry into the sports section of the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights shaped his career. As a member of a strong Arlington High School track squad, Bob's relay team botched a baton handoff and lost a race. This newspaper's headline referred to "Frisk's fumble." Bob never forgot that. "I have tried to emphasize positive writing to all our full- and part-time reporters for all these years. I am proud of that legacy," Bob wrote in the 2008 column announcing his retirement from the Daily Herald, where he started working as a high school sophomore, was hired full-time after his 1958 graduation from the University of Illinois, and quickly became a columnist and sports editor. Bob, a longtime Arlington Heights resident who would have turned 84 in June, died May 16 at the Hospice Center at the Lutheran Home a few months after refusing treatment for cancer. "I've had a great life," Bob told former Daily Herald sports writer Charles Dickinson during a chat before visiting restrictions that kept Bob from being exposed to COVID-19. Bob cherished the idea of impressionable teenagers, devoted parents and caring coaches coming together to make something positive and far bigger than a final score. And they loved Bob for helping them realize what is truly important. People felt better after reading Bob's columns or chatting with him on the sidelines. "Be positive, he always said, because these kids will have a lifetime of dealing with negatives," says John Radtke, the Daily Herald's current high school sports editor. "Bob was never one to shy away from issues, but instead of expanding on the negative, he had a wonderful way of offering solutions to negatives to turn them into positives. Bob became not only a mentor, but a great friend and confidant. His legacy will live forever." Editors can make enemies. Bob didn't do that. "When I joined the newspaper in 1970 as a young reporter, Bob was the person we all looked up to in the newsroom. He knew everyone in the community, cared so much about young athletes and the sports section where their talents were displayed," said Douglas K. Ray, CEO and chairman of the
Sports Editor Bob Frisk, at his desk at the Daily Herald. (File photo by Bill Zars of the Daily Herald) Daily Herald. "I admired him through the years as he became a mentor to all of us. We have never had anyone quite like Bob and his impact on the newspaper is carrying on." Whether he was on the sidelines or in the stands, Bob drew a crowd of admirers. "Bob wasn't just a legend in the high school sports community. His devotion to the well-being of the athletes also made him an inspiration to thousands," says John Lampinen, editor of the Daily Herald. "In our coverage, he was committed to doing right by them, and in his heart, he delighted in their successes as much as any fan. Beyond all that, Bob was a joy to be around and an inspiration also to all of us who had the pleasure of working with him." His enthusiasm for kids, coaches, sports, the suburbs and the Daily Herald was genuine, says his daughter, Susan Alesia. "He was that way all the time. He meant it. It was all good, and that was wonderful," she said.
Bob was born in 1936 in Berwyn, where his parents, Don and Pearl, lived in an apartment with his older sister, Joann. The family moved to an apartment in Evanston, where Bob attended grade school before their move to Arlington Heights. His junior high yearbook listed sports writer as his career ambition. "Bob's efforts have produced a litany of awards and honors, including IBCA (Illinois Basketball Coaches Association) Hall of Fame induction, as well as Hall of Fame enshrinement from three local high schools," reads his biography for the Illinois High School Association, which quotes Bob as saying, "Sports at this level are still refreshing. I love watching kids compete." His trophies, plaques and other honors were important to him, but not because of ego, says Tom Quinlan, a longtime friend and retired Daily Herald sports editor.
See FRISK on Page 30
30 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
FRISK Continued from Page 29 "All those were affirmations that he lived a good life," says Quinlan, who met Bob for breakfast every Saturday and was a frequent visitor after Bob got sick. "To truly appreciate Bob Frisk and what he meant to high school sports and the Daily Herald, all you had to do was tag along with him to a game.” That went for softball or baseball, basketball or football, track or volleyball. Whatever the sport, Bob would arrive on the scene and a variety of friends and acquaintances ¬, coaches, parents, scorekeepers, announcers, athletic directors, referees, officials, trainers and boosters ¬would spot him and talk to him. "Before Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, Bob Frisk was our social media at the Daily Herald,” Quinlan said. “No one was more connected. He knew everyone around high school sports, and everyone knew him. And many of those who had never met him felt they knew him ¬and his beloved grandson ¬through his insightful
columns." Bob was proud of his role in getting the Prospect High School Field House named after his friend, Jean Walker, who played an integral role in the passage of Title IX and putting girls sports onto a more even plane with the boys. Track was the only sport Bob participated in during high school, but he rooted for all amateur sports. "His love of high school sports ¬– both boys and girls – was unconditional. He couldn't wait for each new season to begin," said Jim Cook (now retired), who worked alongside Bob in the sports department for a quarter-century before becoming assistant vice president of marketing and promotions. "In hiring and grooming his staff, Bob's positive attitude infiltrated our thinking and writing. Never a disparaging word about high school athletes, only positives. The kids weren't playing for money, only the love of the game. And that's what Bob cherished. His vise-like handshake almost made your knees
buckle, and he punished his old Smith-Corona typewriter keyboard, pounding with lightning speed and accuracy on deadline. Bob was your biggest fan, most delicate critic and the reason those who worked closely with him or for him never considered their life's work a job. It was truly a privilege." Working under Bob's direction for nine years left an impact on Paul Logan, who was the assistant sports editor until he left in 1976. "I've worked with many sports editors in 40 years, but no one was as devoted to high school boys as well as girls," Logan said from his home in Idaho. "He loved watching young people competing for the love of the game." When he retired, longtime Daily Herald sports columnist Mike Imrem reached out to his former boss to ask how he handled life after newspapers. "Well, among other activities like reading, he had lunch on this day with that group of friends and on another day with another group of
friends and on another day with another group of friends, on and on," Imrem says. "Most of those groups were composed of former coaches he had written about and had supported over more than a half-century. He admired them because of how they helped young people build character and they respected him for the way he chronicled their efforts." Bob's wife, Nancy, died of cancer in 1992. He lived in the Arlington Heights home they bought in 1964, until his recent move to the Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights. Bob wrote columns of letters to his grandson, Mark, the child of his daughter, Susan, and her husband, Tom Alesia, of Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to the Alesia family, he is survived by his older sister, Joann Frisk Svikhart, who lives in Utah. Bob drew admirers wherever he went, and his memorial service will be delayed until the COVID-19 restrictions against crowds are lifted.
FISHER Continued from Page 28 “A split second and you either have the shot or you don’t. There is no re-do,” she said. She recalled Fisher’s most-famous picture, taken Oct. 3, 1995. It shows reactions of Augustana College, Rock Island, students to the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict, a reaction divided according to race. “Simpson was acquitted in October of 1995, and the polar-opposite reaction among students said it all,” she said. The picture was reproduced nationally. “Newsweek” used the image over two pages the week after the verdict. “Fisher had been in the right place at the right time, but it wasn’t just chance or luck. It was instinct honed over years of doing his job,” Gaul said. Gaul shared Fisher’s final assignment before retirement.
“In May of 2014, I was writing a story about a memorial ceremony for a World War II soldier from tiny Massillon, Iowa,” Gaul said. “Fisher drew the assignment for driving out to the cemetery with me,” she remembers. “We had worked together for 37 years, and I couldn’t believe that this was really his last day. He took those pictures with as much professionalism and care as he had taken all his others. Then he turned them in and was out the door.” “Sometimes we jokingly referred to him as a COG (Crabby Old Guy), but that wasn’t really true,” she said. “Not at all.” A tribute in the Quad-City Times newsroom aligns perfectly with Fisher’s sense of humor: He is the only staff member to have a newsroom table named in his honor. His desk was near an all-purpose office table used for serving when staffers
brought food to the office – doughnuts for birthdays or pizza for election night. In time, it became known as the Larry Fisher Memorial Table, and when he retired in May 2014, his boss got a small plaque designating it as the LFMT. Fisher and former Quad-City Times photographer John Schultz worked side-by-side on many assignments, including presidential campaigns, the Quad-City Times Bix 7, the John Deere Classic and numerous other events. “I'll miss his wit, his humor and him bragging proudly ‘I've only got one lung,'" Schultz said. "We shared a good part of our lives together and knowing he is no longer with us makes me very sad." “Goodbye, my old friend,” Schultz said. “May you rest in peace and enjoy that perfect darkroom in the sky.”
Former DeKalb Daily Chronicle editor dies Barry Schrader a 'newshound who loved media' Republished from the July 1 edition of the Daily Chronicle of DeKalb DeKALB – Barry Schrader, 79, died June 30 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. DeKalb Mayor and close friend Jerry Smith confirmed the news, and said he was informed by one of Schrader's sons of his death about noon. He said he found it poignant that Schrader, whom he called a "newshound," died the same day that Facebook announced it will build an $800 million data center in DeKalb, a story Schrader would have loved, Smith said. "My good friend Barry Schrader, the newshound who loved media, would have been so darn excited about this," Smith said. "We had a great relationship and he's got a wife and two sons that he just adored. We're going to miss him as a community, but we're so much richer having known him." Schrader leaves behind wife, Kay Schrader, and two sons among other extended family. A Genoa native, Schrader was a 1963 Northern Illinois University graduate whose journalism degree took him all over the country, first as editor of the Byron Tribune, Stillman Valley News and Leaf River Register, all weekly newspapers. He bought his hometown newspaper, the Genoa Republican, with his wife, and shortly after he also bought Kirkland's weekly paper, the DeKalb County Journal. Schrader founded the DeKalb County Press and bought the Sycamore True Republican and the Sycamore Tribune, and then in 1966 sold his share of the county press to head to southern California to work on the San Bernadino Sun. He later served as editor of the Livermore Herald from 1967 to 1969 before heading back to
Barry Schrader voices his concerns about a new fitness and wellness center during an Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board meeting which was open to the public on Feb. 9, 2017, at the DeKalb Public Library in DeKalb. The meeting discussed the Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital’s plan to construct a $46.4 million fitness and wellness center. (Photo by Matthew Apgar of Shaw Media) his roots in DeKalb as editor of the Daily Chronicle from 1969 to 1972. It was during that time that he competed directly with his former NIU peer Jerry Smith. Smith laughed to himself recalling his first encounter with Schrader at NIU. "He was leading a demonstration on what is now Lowden Hall in 1962, and then I met him on the Northern Star," Smith said. "Barry was also the editor of an underground newspaper at Northern called the Quarterback, and Leslie Holmes, after whom the Holmes Student Center is named, was president at the time and threatened to throw Barry out of school. But Barry didn't quit." Schrader’s voice remained a regular feature in the Daily Chronicle long after his tenure as editor ended,
as he penned a weekly column called "DeKalb County Life." His final column, titled "Be they gargoyles or grotesques atop The Castle," was published Feb. 14, Valentine's Day. Schrader's passion for history, photography, writing and community service also was apparent in his work, as he collaborated on several books telling the history of DeKalb County, including "Hybrid Corn & Purebred People," a collection of his favorite Daily Chronicle columns and "Acres of Change," a history of DeKalb from 1963 through 2012. He co-founded the DeKalb County Historical Society, the Livermore Heritage Guild, and was a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Oral History Association, National Society of Newspaper Col-
umnists, American Amateur Press Association and The Fossils. Schrader's legacy in the community spans beyond newspapers, though that was his life's passion, said Eric Olson, who served as editor of the Daily Chronicle from 2012 to 2017 and then general manager for the paper through March 2020. "Barry was a friend who made a real mark on this community through his writing and activism," Olson said. "I felt a real kinship with him, not just because we were both newspapermen, but because he loved people, he loved DeKalb County and loved telling stories. He was admired by many who came to know him, and for good reason." After a second career as a public information officer and science writer at Sandia National Labs in California, Schrader retired in 2006 and eventually moved back to DeKalb County with his family. During retired life, he remained active as a member of the Rotary Club in Livermore, California, for 34 years and the Sycamore Rotary Club up until his death. After he and his wife moved into Oak Crest retirement home, he founded a Rotary Club there, too. The club commemorated Schrader a few weeks ago with a tree-planting ceremony in his honor. In 2013, he was named to NIU's Northern Star Hall of Fame. And in 2017, he ran Smith's successful campaign for mayor of DeKalb. "During the campaign, he was very, very insistent that we walk this neighborhood today, that one tomorrow, and I would just say, 'Barry let's slow this thing down,' " Smith said. "Barry was just doggedly tenacious on so many things, and one of the dearest friends anybody would ever want to have."
32 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
JEAN SMITH GAERTNER WHEELING – Jean Smith Gaertner passed away peacefully May 9, 2020, at Addolorata Villa in Wheeling. She was born Nov. 5, 1935, in Ottumwa, Iowa, to A.J. and Cecilia Daniel Smith, and was raised in Harper, Iowa, alongside her sister Joan. The two shared an Jean Smith incredible bond throughGaertner out their lives. As a young teenager, Jean rode her bicycle around the tiny town of Harper, asking residents about local happenings, then wrote up news articles to contribute as a"stringer" to the Daily Courier. The editors were so impressed by her talent and gumption that they hired Jean as a reporter. She was trusted with numerous high-profile assignments – among them interviewing President Harry Truman when his train made a stop in Ottumwa. Jean's father had been a foreman for Natural Gas Pipeline, which opened the door to Jean writing for its corporate magazine Between the Lines in Chicago. She quickly rose to become editor. During this time Jean attended night school to earn a bachelor’s degree at DePaul University and a master’s from the University of Michigan. Jean attracted the attention of another Natural Gas employee, Fritz Gaertner, a Fulbright Scholar from Vienna, Austria. They married Aug. 23,1969, and their daughter, Senta, was born June 19, 1970. Jean treasured being a mother and did an incredible job of balancing her career and home life. The family loved to travel¬, especially to Fritz's native Austria to visit family, to explore new places and to spend time in nature. Jean continued to be recognized by executives at Natural Gas and ultimately served as director of corporate communications. Her work in all mediums of communications – including film – was honored with numerous awards. She was invited to
join Executive Women International and became the group's president. After taking an early retirement, Jean discovered a passionate interest in city government. She began her second career working at the City of Chicago's Department of Human Services and was eventually promoted to assistant commissioner by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Jean truly flourished in this final chapter of her professional life. She loved her staff and the residents she served. Jean treasured her title of "Ama" to Senta's three children who she adored. She was their biggest supporter, always involved in tennis and soccer tournaments, school plays and chorus concerts. Jean was incredibly proud of Senta and her husband, Andy, and the family and life they built together. Jean was a woman of great faith, courage and endless inner strength. Even though she endured a series of severe health issues, her optimism and resilience were an inspiration to all who had the honor of knowing her.
VICKI DIANE KIRKLAND LAUREL, Md. – Vicki Kirkland, a longtime resident of Elgin, died May 18, 2020, at a University of Maryland regional hospital in Laurel, Maryland, due to complications related to the novel coronavirus. She was 72. Born in Elyria, Ohio, on Aug, 23, 1947, as Victoria Diane Toth, Vicki Diane she was the oldest child Kirkland of Emery and Agnes (Mack) Toth. Vicki spent her early childhood years surrounded by family who had settled in the Hungarian-American enclave west of Cleveland. The hunt for work inspired the family's move to the Chicago suburbs, where Vicki graduated from Crystal Lake Community High School in 1965. Vicki took an interest in art, writing, politics and women's issues before graduating from Northern Illi-
nois University. Those things shaped the rest of her life. She embarked on a newspaper career, which landed her at the Elgin Courier-News and led to a job as a features writer and copy editor at the Chicago Tribune. In 1975, after deciding to leave her full-time career, Vicki wrote a short essay for the Tribune's Lifestyle section headlined, 'It's my choice, my challenge.' In it, she wrote: "It is hard to face the term 'housewife' because it lugs around so many negative connotations. But if I am not happy and productive, there will be no one to blame but myself – I will be my own boss." Vicki was her own boss. She returned to Elgin and raised a son, Joel, and a daughter, Brooke. From 1979 to 1981, she was board president of Elgin's Community Crisis Center, which serves women and children fleeing domestic violence and financial hardship. Over nearly 40 years, Vicki served on local boards and committees from housing services to the YWCA. She raised money and did publicity for public school district and library referendums, and she played important leadership roles in local election campaigns. Around 1990, Vicki started her own business, V.K. PR, which did media and marketing work for the city of Elgin, the Elgin Chamber of Commerce, the Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and area companies and unions. Vicki could be tough, and even acerbic. But she laughed a lot. She had long friendships. She was always there to lend an ear and offer very good advice to her loving friends and family. Vicki is survived by her grandchildren, Edie and Henry; her son, Joel; daughter, Brooke; daughter-in-law, Annie Snider; and son-in-law, Kevin Kesler, all of Silver Spring, Maryland. She also is survived by her brother, Terry Toth, and sister-in-law, Marsha Toth, of Grayslake; her niece and nephew, Natalie Toth and Peter Toth; and her former spouse, James Kirkland, and family. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Community Crisis Center. Attn, Business Manager, P.O. Box 1390, Elgin, IL, 60120.
JEAN L. NEWCOMER MADISON, Wis. – Jean L. Newcomer (nee Barnes), of Madison, Wisconsin, died May 23, 2020, at Agrace Hospice in Madison. She was 99 years old. Jean was born Jan. 28, 1921, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to Olin and May (Petersen) Barnes. She graduated from Jean L. Newcomer Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, where she earned a BA degree in psychology. Later she did post-graduate study in library science at Northern Illinois University. Upon graduation from Maryville, she moved to Illinois to become social editor of the Belvidere Daily Republican. There she met and later married Edward Newcomer. In 1950, she applied for a staff position at Ida Public Library. She served two years as reference librarian and 38 years as the library director. At her retirement she was surprised by an editorial in the Belvidere Daily Republican titled "Give Your Regards to Jean". In addition to her love of books, she was interested in music, gardening and painting. A gifted painter and co-author of two books, “For the Love of Ida”, a history of library services in her community, and “Speechless: Living with Spasmodic Dysphonia”, about the vocal cord disorder she developed at the age of 15. In the latter part of her life she began painting oil landscapes and exhibited annually at area art shows. Jean is survived by a son and daughter, Stephen Newcomer (Diane) of Burnsville, Minnesota, and Gale Barber of Middleton, Wisconsin; and two granddaughters, Amelia Barber (Matt Blango) of Jena, Germany, and Maggie Barber-Hasanovic (Nedim Hasanovic) of Los Angeles. She was preceded in death by her husband, sister, Hazel Barnes, and brother, Paul Barnes.
RICHARD B. "RICK" DAVIS SPRINGFIELD – Rick Davis, 68, of Springfield, died on June 15, 2020, surrounded by his loved ones. Rick was born on September 22, 1951, in Chicago, to Richard and Lorraine Davis. He attended Catholic schools in Chicago before receiving his journalism degree from Northern Illinois University. Rick met his future wife Gloria Zienty in 1967. They were married in Chicago in 1972. Rick and Gloria were blessed with two lovely daughters: Carrie, who was born in 1973, and Kelly, who was born in 1974. Upon graduation from NIU, Rick went to work as a reporter at the Kankakee Daily Journal, where he worked until February of 1979. Rick always considered his time at the Journal to be his favorite job. In February of 1979, Rick was hired as Assistant Press Secretary to Illinois Senate President Philip J. Rock. He and Gloria moved to Springfield and lived there until his passing. In 1986, Rick went to work for Illinois Comptroller Roland Burris. In 1990, he worked on the campaign for Secretary of State for State Treasurer Jerome Cosentino. He then went to work for Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch. In 1994, Rick wrote a widely acclaimed campaign commercial featuring Netsch playing pool during her campaign for Governor of Illinois. The commercial was regarded as the key to Netsch winning her primary election. In January of 1995, Rick started his own media consulting company. In 1998, Rick was a key advisor on the successful campaign of Jesse White for Secretary of State. He continued working for Secretary White until Rick's passing. Rick visited thousands of Illinois schools overseeing the Toby Tire school bus safety program for Secretary White. Rick wrote two highly praised books: When Glory is Just as Whisper, the biography of Chicago Bulls basketball legend Bob Love; and They Call Heroes Mister, the biography of Secre-
tary of State Jesse White. Rick was an avid runner who completed five different marathons. He was a successful golfer who regularly broke 80. Rick loved his favorite Chicago sports teams, most notably the Chicago White Sox. Two of the greatest days of his life were when the Sox won the American League pennant in 1959, on his 8th birthday, and the 2005 World Series. Rick and Gloria were fortunate enough to travel to some of the most beautiful and historic cities in Europe, including London, Rome, Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Krakow, and Warsaw, where they celebrated their Polish heritage. In 2015, Rick and Gloria purchased a condominium in Bonita Springs, Florida, and they spent a good portion of each year there socializing with fellow retirees from the Springfield area. Florida was truly Rick's happy place, and they also enjoyed hosting their children and grandchildren there. Rick and Gloria enjoyed watching their grandchildren compete in various sports, including baseball, softball, and tennis. He was particularly proud that during the spring of 2020, he got to see his granddaughter Kira play college softball near their Florida home. Rick is survived by his wife of almost 48 years, Gloria; his daughters, Carrie (husband Steve Tisckos) and Kelly Davis; his grandchildren, Joe and Olivia Tisckos, and Veronica and Kira Brown; his sister, Alison (Tom) Bercik; brother, Dirck (Debbie) Davis. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister DruAnne Davis, best friend and fellow prankster Bruce J. Gill; and his faithful canine companions Barney and Ozzie. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Animal Protective League of Springfield, 1001 Taintor Road Springfield, IL 62702, and the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, 3760 Fowler Road, Ft. Myers, FL 33901. Rick also encourages all eligible voters to vote on November 3, 2020. Please visit the online "Life Re-
membered Story" at bischfuneralhomewest.com where tributes and condolences may be left for the family.
EDWIN ROMAN LABUZ Edwin Roman Labuz, who worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune for 27 years, died June 23 in a place much the opposite of the city where he spent most of his career. In recent years, Labuz, 90, lived in the small village of Central Lake, Michigan, a Edwin Labuz place filled with maple and oak trees, cherry orchards hidden in the hills and lakes glistening with clear water. "There's more deer than people," Charles Schroeder, an 81-year-old neighbor, said. Labuz's health had declined with age, his daughter, Lisa Labuz-Stowers, said. Labuz was born July 13, 1929, in Hamtramck, Michigan, to Polish immigrant parents. Before retiring from the Tribune in 1991, Labuz spent long hours coordinating the newspaper's sales and printing staff. Labuz-Stowers, who works at WBEZ-FM 91.5 in Chicago, remembers visiting her father at TribuneTower. As a child, she watched the printing press transfer ink onto newspaper pages from metal letters. "All the machines were huge and loud, and the guys who worked at the printing press, sometimes they'd give you a letter or something," Labuz-Stowers recalled. Labuz's son, Jeff Labuz, said workers even gave him one of their self-made newspaper hats. "I remember we had the guys that painted the flagpole on the top of the tower come paint our house one summer," Jeff Labuz said. In 1974, someone gave Edwin Labuz the printing plate with the historic headline "Nixon Resigns" following the Watergate scandal. The plate is
now a keepsake for Labuz-Stowers. Edwin Labuz didn't care for his long hours and commute at the downtown location. He eventually transferred to an Oakbrook location, closer to his home. Edwin Labuz served in the military before working at the Tribune. At his alma mater Michigan State University, he was required to participate in ROTC for two years, but he completed four. "My mom often said that he probably should've made the military his career because he loved it," Labuz-Stowers said. "He would always talk about how he liked the structure, he liked the camaraderie, and he liked the rules. It was just something that really agreed with him." After graduating from college, Edwin Labuz went overseas to help in the Korean conflict, but United States involvement ended before he was deployed. He spent 35 years as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Not very musically inclined, Edwin Labuz still hummed old songs from his college days. His favorite was military marching band music, Labuz-Stowers said. In his final days at a Michigan hospital, Edwin Labuz went in and out of sleep. Labuz-Stowers heard a familiar sound. Her father began following the beat of "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," a tune sung by World War I soldiers. In addition to his daughter and son, Edwin Labuz is survived by his wife, Elaine Labuz, sister Janina Kroneman and two grandchildren. "He had some humility. He didn't think he taught me very much," Jeff Labuz said. "Once, after a couple of drinks, he said, 'You know, I don't think I've been a great father,' and I said, 'You know what? You've been the greatest father I could ever wish for.' " There will be a small family celebration at a later date. Memorials can be made to the youth center at First Congregational Church, 8066 W. State St., in Central Lake, Michigan.
34 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Former Addison Trail teacher helped give journalism students a voice ADDISON – As adviser to the school's Torch newspaper, William Colosimo kept the flame of journalism education burning at Addison Trail High School. Colosimo, who lived in Oswego, died May 29 from complications from COVID-19 at Edward Hospital in Naperville. He was 81. Cecilia Soto, one of Colosimo's last students, and a close friend until his death, said Colosimo, who lived much of his life in Oswego but spent his last years in Naperville, was a priest before his teaching career. DuPage High School District 88 Superintendent Scott Helton, who was principal at Addison Trail in Colosimo's final years at the school, said Colosimo taught at the school from 1973 until 2003, holding classes in English and journalism and serving as adviser to the Torch. "If you were in one of his English classes or if you were working for him on the newspaper, you were one of his kids," Helton said. "He cared for them and they stayed in contact with him even through retirement." In fact, one of his students, Steve Bruns, was chosen as his successor as adviser to the Torch. "I'm his successor, but I could never replace him," said Bruns, who was editor of the Torch his senior year. "He had a real knack for reaching teenagers. He just had a way of talking to a teenager without being judgmental, but still being an authority on what was right and what was wrong." Bruns said Colosimo was a positive influence on
ALFRED ROBERT SCHEFSKE SR. CHICAGO – Alfred Robert Schefske Sr. died Saturday, May 30, 2020, at age 84, after battling a long illness. He was born June 6, 1935, and raised in Chicago. Alfred was the beloved son of the late Alfred and Catherine (Hennessy) Schefske. On Feb. 7, 1959, he married Joan Moreau from Lombard. Alfred and Joan had four children together. Alfred was a veteran having served honorably in the U.S. Army. He belonged to a volunteer fire department in Lombard, while work-
all students and was loved by all. "He was just like that William Colosimo grandpa figure who always knew the right thing to say and was always understanding and always positive. He was just the nicest, most gentle man I ever knew," Bruns said. On the other hand, Colosimo could William Colosimo be a taskmaster. "He pushed you to the next level,” Bruns said. “If Mr. Colosimo told you that you wrote a good story, then you must have really written a good one, because most of them were handed back covered in red ink. Because he was pushing you. He was telling you it's not good enough yet. You’ve got to do it better." Colosimo also pushed back on administration. "I can just tell you from personal experience, he was always fighting the good battles to try to get the controversial articles in the Torch," Bruns said. Referring to these battles, Soto said Colosimo would tell her he lived in the principal's office. Soto said the two forged a friendship that lasted a lifetime. "He liked to say he saw me every day of my high school career, but a few days late," after she dropped a freshman studies course that combined three subjects "that didn't make sense" and chose his English class instead. She quickly won him over, she said, when he asked, "What are you doing in here now?" and she looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Freshman studies isn't going to
ing at the Chicago Sun-Times. He retired from the Chicago Sun-Times and moved to LaValle, Wisconsin, in 1992. He was a member of the LaValle American Legion Post 242. He had a great sense of humor and brightened the life of everyone he met. Alfred was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Kathleen Sullivan. He is survived by his loving wife, Joan; children, Bonnie Benitez, Jeffrey (Pacita) Schefske, Alfred (Christina) Schefske Jr., and John Schefske; and six grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Jessica and Ryan Schefske, Anthony
meet my needs." Soto said succeeding in his English classes was a prerequisite for being accepted into his journalism classes. She said he was a stickler for grammar and proper usage. "To this day, I will not text in slang or shorthand because of him," she said. Soto said Colosimo wanted students to have a voice and taught them how to find angles on difficult stories. "If we wanted to write about something really serious, he (would say), 'They're never going to let us print that. But we can print this,'" she said. Colosimo also promoted high school journalism outside AddisonTrail. "As a founding member of (the Illinois Journalism Education Association), Bill's support of the IHSA journalism state series was instrumental in the development and advancement of the competition,” said Susie Knoblauch, the IJEA’s associate executive director. "The groundwork he set with the Illinois Journalism Education Association manifested into the structure we have today that supports so many journalism students and educators." Besides the Torch, Bruns said, Colosimo loved Scottish deerhounds and would breed them at his home in Oswego and go to dog shows. Colosimo was preceded in death by his wife Karen, who died in 2004. His survivors include two sons, Jeff and David Springman.
Benitez, and Megan and Zachary Schefske.
THOMAS R. ADAMS JR. ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Thomas R. Adams Jr. of Arlington Heights died May 31, 2020, at age 94, as a result of COVID-19. Thomas was born June 1, 1925, to Thomas and Edith Adams. He grew up in Chicago, attending St. Ignatius High School and Loyola University. Mr. Adams saw combat as a tailgunner during WWII with the US Army Air Corps. Mr. Adams started his career in
advertising sales with the Chicago Tribune and retired as the national sales manager of the New York Daily News. He enjoyed walking, talking and swimming and was an avid reader, enjoying novels and multiple daily newspapers. Survivors include his daughter, Maggie Dowling; sons, Daniel (Michele) and James (Mary); six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Edith, wife, Mary Jane, and son-in-law, Mike Dowling.
HELEN LUCILLE DREW MITCHLER Helen Lucille Drew Mitchler passed away peacefully on the afternoon of July 4, 2020. Helen was born on July 29, 1924, in Aurora, the daughter of Hazel Long Drew and David Provan Drew. Helen grew up in Aurora, a proud graduate of Bardwell Grade School and East Aurora High School, never forgetting the rousing school spirit songs for each school. Along with growing up in Aurora, Helen spent considerable time at the Walker Farm in Oswego, where her sister-in-law, Lois Walker Drew, grew up, and at the Lyon Farm in Yorkville, which in much later years she was so happy to see become part of the Kendall County Historical Society. After graduating in 1942 from East Aurora High, Helen worked at the Beacon Newspaper as a proofreader, and a year later attended the Copley School for Nursing at Copley Hospital in Aurora, where she fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse. Helen's Copley classmates became lifelong, dearly treasured friends. She worked many years at both Copley Memorial Hospital and the Dreyer Medical Clinic, beginning work there shortly after it first opened. In 1949, Helen met Bob Mitchler, also of Aurora, on a blind date arranged by their mutual friends, Laila and Richard Marti. Bob and Helen were married on June 16, 1950, at Fourth Street United Methodist Church. While on their honeymoon, the news of the Korean War broke, and three months later Bob, who was in the Navy Reserves, left for Korea. After Bob returned home from Korea, they bought and moved to their beloved home "Hill Spring Oaks" on Route 34 in Oswego/Yorkville, working together to create a warm and inviting home where they raised their three children, John, Kurt and Heidi, and lived together until Bob's death at age 91 in 2012. One of Mom's favorite stories of buying the 100-year-old farmhouse in 1954 was Bob saying it looks fine but where's the bathroom – and
finding out the home still had an outhouse and that they would need to install an indoor bathroom before moving in. Helen had an incredible green thumb and put in huge vegetable and flower gardens every year. She and Bob spent many years raising sheep, where her tender heart often had her bring newborn lambs to the house to warm up if she felt they were born when it was too cold. Helen was an incredible hostess; she absolutely loved hosting huge "picnics" and get-togethers at their home for their friends, neighbors, family and the numerous organizations that they both belonged to – no group was too large! It was nothing for Helen to spend the evening before a picnic making 100 or more hamburgers for Bob to grill, along with all the numerous side dishes she could make in a snap. Even when they began to cater their picnics, Helen would still be busy making anything else she could think of to make each event special. She loved Christmas Day – her "favorite day of the year!" – and treasured all the family Christmases spent in their home. Helen was very involved in numerous clubs, spending many years of membership in local organizations. She served as vice chairman of the Emergency Medical Services Council of South Kane and Kendall counties that led to the implementation of the local 911 emergency system. Helen was passionate about history and was a member of the Illinois State Historical Society and a lifetime member of both the Aurora and Kendall County historical societies. Helen always maintained a connection to Rush-Copley Medical Center, especially through her membership with Rush-Copley Nursing School Alumni, where she chaired a fundraiser that provided a conference center in the new hospital. She spent many years as a locally active volunteer with the American Cancer Society. She was a lifelong member of the Aurora Fourth Street United Methodist Church. Helen enjoyed
her hobby as an active enthusiast of world lighthouses. She and Bob took many lighthouse tours in the states and abroad, and she had an extensive knowledge of almost every lighthouse, old and new. She enjoyed the symbol of a lighthouse as a beacon of light for hope and guidance and its connection to how she viewed her Christian faith. Helen was passionate about genealogy and since 1960 was a devoted and very active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she held many offices on both the state and national level, including serving as Illinois State Regent in 1999 and 2000. She was most active as a member of the Aurora Chapter DAR, and in her later years, she enjoyed participating with the Ansel Brainerd Cook Chapter in Libertyville. She was a member of the National Society of New England Women, where she served as Chicago Colony president and colony historian. She was very involved in local politics and enjoyed her many years of membership in The Kendall County Women's Republican Club, where she served as president. She was also a past Kendall County Chairwoman and served as a14th Congressional District committeewoman. Helen spent countless years as an election judge and treasured the close friendships she developed over the years with other election judges. Helen was a kind, beautiful, gentle, loving woman who made friends everywhere she went. She found gratitude in the simplest things and appreciated and genuinely cared for everyone she met and knew. Anyone who met Helen even once will always remember her beautiful smile and kind ways. She radiated her Christian faith in her actions and care in an effortless way that gave joy to all she met. She loved her family beyond measure and welcomed her children's friends, their neighbors and the families of her son and daughters-in-law into her heart. Most recently, she counted the staff
and residents of both Sunrise Senior Living in Gurnee, and Victory Lakes Skilled Nursing in Lindenhurst, as new friends and a joy in her life. She prayed daily for others and continually lifted thankful prayers to the Lord. One of her favorite mottos was "attitude is everything," a saying that she actively lived by until her final journey home to the Lord. Those who knew her for years or even a short time will always have a special place in their heart for this remarkable and lovely lady. Helen is survived by her adult children, John (Kathy Dalsaso) Mitchler of Golden, Colorado, and Oswego, Dr. Kurt (Maria Aragon) Mitchler of Santa Rosa, California, and Heidi (Daniel) Lyjak of Grayslake. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Trevor Mitchler, Garrick Mitchler, Briana (Peter) Brierton, Haley (Cody) Kellor, Scott, Joseph, Natalie, Olivia and Matthew Lyjak; along with two greatgrandchildren, Vivienne Louise and Royce Daniel. She is also survived by her sisterin-law, Cec Mitchler of Aurora, along with many nieces and nephews and their spouses, and great nieces and nephews and their spouses; each and every one held a special and dear place in her heart. Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Mitchler; her parents, David and Hazel Drew; brothers, Stan and Ellsworth Drew; sister-in-law, Lois Drew; brother-inlaw, William Mitchler; and daughterin-law, Maria Aragon Mitchler. Memorial service and final resting place at Spring Lake Cemetery in Aurora, will take place at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Helen and Robert Mitchler Nursing Scholarship at Aurora University, 347 S. Gladstone Ave., Aurora, IL 60506, aurora.edu/about/index.html or the Senator Robert W. and Helen Drew Mitchler Scholarship Endowment Fund with The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley www.cffrv.org/profile/mitchlerscholarship.
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