July-August 2021 PressLines

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Sam Fisher is retiring as president and CEO of the IPA, and Don Craven will be succeeding him. PAGES 2-3

'LITTLE SLICE OF NORMALCY' Some daily newspaper employees are returning to the office as the pandemic's peak has passed, but others will be waiting to do so for a while yet. STORY ON PAGES 11-12




I'm retiring, but will remain involved in IPA


e often mark our life by milestones – getting our driver’s license, graduating, landing our first job, getting married, purchasing a first home, having children, losing family members or friends, and retiring. I’ve reached the latter milestone, as I intend to retire at the end of August after nearly 45 years of working in the newspaper industry. I had informed the Illinois Press Association Board at the time of my hiring in 2017 of my intent to retire at the end of 2020. Given the events of the past year with the pandemic, I decided to wait to retire until this year. I had advised the IPA Board’s Executive Committee this spring of my intent to retire this summer. I started this journey back in 1976 when I walked into J-School at Mizzou. I grew up in a newspaper/ printing family, as my dad was a pressman and my mom worked at the local newspaper. My dad taught me to print at an early age – some might say it would have violated child labor laws. So, I had grown accustomed to the smell of ink, and with the Missourian (newspaper) being printed in the same building as the J-School, the smell of ink lured me to apply to journalism school. The best career advice I ever received was when one of my reporting class professors advised me early on that I ought to pursue the advertising program at Mizzou instead of editorial. She recognized that probably news reporting and

editing wasn’t a career path for me. I took her advice and spent the first 15 years of my career in ad sales and management. The next 25 years were spent as a small-town community publisher. And now I’ve been blessed to lead the Illinois Press Association for nearly four years as its president and CEO. I’ve worked with a lot of great people over my career, SAM FISHER but I had never had the President & CEO opportunity to work with a staff as great as the one here at the IPA. They are dedicated and have a passion for what they do. Anything that was accomplished during my tenure was because of them and not me. I don’t look at them as my employees, but rather as my friends. The board couldn’t have chosen a better person to succeed me as Don Craven is one of the most respected and well-known individuals in the Illinois newspaper industry. I’ve known Don for years and have relied on his counsel both when I was a publisher and president of the IPA. There is no doubt that there will be some adjustment for me, as I will miss the relationships with staff and IPA members. Admittedly, I’m not sure what to expect, but I do know that I will stay


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

Don Bricker | Chair Shaw Media, Crystal Lake Sue Walker | Vice-Chair Herald Newspapers, Inc., Chicago

active in the Association. I’ve been elected to the Illinois Press Foundation Board, where I plan to keep my toe in the water. I also plan to get more involved in the community where I live, Princeton, as that was something that I did extensively when I was a publisher. These are challenging times in our industry, but the IPA is probably better equipped than any other press association to meet the challenges. As an industry, we must not lose sight of the importance of the relationships that we have with our communities and our readers – it’s who we are. If I can offer words of advice: Have someone answer the phone, respond to voice messages and reply to emails. We see it here, as many people ask the Association about how to reach their local newspaper. I understand the financial difficulties we face, but let’s not make it worse by not being accessible. I’ve told many that I’m lucky to have spent my life doing something that I thoroughly enjoy – it’s an opportunity that many never get to experience. We all do what we do because it’s our passion. I still have that passion, but now find myself wanting to spend more time with Lori, my three children and two grandsons. I will always cherish the friendships that I’ve made by being part of the IPA, and thank all of you for the opportunity and support that you have given me the past four years. I will see you around, as I’m not going away completely!

DIRECTORS Stefanie Anderson Paddock Publications Inc./ Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group David Bauer Hearst Newspapers, Jacksonville

Dorothy Leavell | Treasurer Crusader Group, Chicago

Durrell Garth Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group

Scott Stone | Immediate Past Chair Daily Herald Media Group, Arlington Heights

Margaret Holt Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago

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

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

Sandy Pistole, Director of Revenue Ext. 238 - spistole@illinoispress.org

Ron Kline, Chief Technology Officer Ext. 239 - rkline@illinoispress.org

Tracy Spoonmore, Chief Financial Officer Ext. 237 - tspoonmore@illinoispress.org

Cindy Bedolli, Member Relations Ext. 226 - cbedolli@illinoispress.org

Jeff Rogers, Director of Foundation Ext. 286 – jrogers@illinoispress.org

ILLINOIS PRESSLINES is published bimonthly for $30 per year for Illinois Press Association members by the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703. Jeff Rogers, Editor © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Volume 27 July-August 2021 Number 5 Date of Issue: 7/26/2021




Fisher to retire; Craven to be next leader of Illinois Press Association SPRINGFIELD – One familiar face at the Illinois Press Association is retiring and another will succeed him. IPA Board of Directors Chairman Don Bricker on July 19 announced that Sam Fisher is retiring as the organization’s president and CEO, effective Sept. 1. Fisher has been the IPA’s leader since 2017. Bricker also announced that the IPA Board has voted to appoint Donald M. Craven, longtime legal adviser to IPA membership, to be the next president and CEO. Craven has provided legal counsel to members of the IPA and Illinois Press Foundation for nearly four decades. He was interim president and CEO of the IPA from 2009 to 2010, and again in 2017 until Fisher was named to the position. “I look forward to leading the great staff at the Association and Foundation,” Craven said. “The staff is a relatively small group, much smaller than in the past, but to call them talented is an understatement. They know their jobs, they know the membership, and they know (and like) each other. “Having the opportunity to help them help the IPA is an honor. We have the task of preserving where we are and what we have, while at the same time working to further expand existing programs such as Capitol News Illinois and Public Notice Illinois. We will continue to have the same fights in the General Assembly on legislation impacting the press and public notices, and we will hopefully continue our success under the dome.” Craven currently operates a general practice law firm with a concentration in media and government law in Springfield.

Illinois Press Association President and CEO Sam Fisher accepts a "Friend of Scholastic Journalism Award" from the Illlinois Journalism Education Association during a meeting of the Illinois Press Foundation Board on June 10 in Springfield. The meeting was Fisher's last as the IPA's president and CEO. Upon his retirement on Sept. 1, Fisher will join the Foundation board. (Photo by Jeff Rogers) He has been with the firm since 1986, when he joined his father, former Illinois Appellate Court Justice James C. Craven. Fisher had informed the IPA Board at the Donald Craven time of his hiring in 2017 of his intention to retire at the end of 2020. “Given the events of the past year with the pandemic, I decided to wait to retire until this year,” Fisher said. “I had advised the IPA Board’s Executive Committee this spring of my intent to retire in August.” Bricker said of Fisher, “After almost 45 years in the newspaper business, Sam is certainly moving to a well-deserved retirement. However, I’m sorry this day has come. As a member, board member, board chairman and CEO, there are few people who can match

the contributions Sam has made throughout the years to the IPA and the Illinois newspaper industry. “But we are fortunate to have someone with Don’s skills and experience step into the role at this very challenging time. Our businesses face challenges from every direction. Don has been a key advocate for the IPA and its members for decades and will bring that experience with him every day as he works with members and the Illinois legislature to keep the Illinois news and information landscape vital and thriving.” Fisher said he is excited that Craven will be his successor. “Nobody has more experience with our industry and knows the challenges that we face than Don,” Fisher said. “I’ve known Don for years, as he provided me wise counsel when I was a publisher that kept me out of harm’s way. He has provided me the same sage advice and direction during the

past four years. He taught me the ways of Springfield, and that is a key prerequisite of the position.” Craven has counseled members, executive directors and board members of the Illinois Press Association, Illinois Broadcasters Association, and Illinois News Broadcasters Association on legal and legislative activities. He has testified before committees of the Illinois General Assembly on media issues, and is the author of the Illinois chapter of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’ Open Government Guide publication. “The friendships and professional relationships forged during that time are near and dear to me,” Craven said. “I look forward to IPA gatherings as much for the opportunity to renew those friendships as any other reason.” Craven noted Fisher’s many contributions to the IPA over many years. “It is important to me that I thank Sam Fisher for his service to the IPA,” Craven said, “not just over the last several years while he was leading the Association, but for the many, many years of service before that as a board member, board chairman, and prior to all that, just an active and participating member of the Association. “Sam and I share a trait – some would say more than one – and that is a passion of the newspaper industry and for newspaper people. So, Sam, as you prepare to ‘ride your pony into the sunset’ – a phrase I have heard more than once – know that we will still be calling you for your continued participation in this industry we both feel passionate about.

See LEADER on Page 6




Remote meetings might become permanent option for public bodies; how should IPA weigh in? Share your opinion E arly in the COVID-19 crisis, the Illinois Press Association was asked by the leadership in the Illinois Senate to craft some language to allow public bodies to meet via Zoom or other platforms, so the work of local communities could move forward safely and efficiently. We proposed language that does allow remote meetings, with some additional safeguards to allow the press and the public to monitor the activities of those governing bodies. (see below) Some of you love remote meetings; some of you hate them. Remote meetings allow reporters to save the time and expense of travel, and perhaps the opportunity to cover more than one event a night. Stories can be put together more efficiently, and can be filed earlier. It has also been my experience that remote meetings do not last as long as in-person meetings. On the other hand, remote meetings do not allow reporters to approach board members with questions after the meeting. Members of the public body can “escape” the meeting without having to face those pesky questions. And, according to some, there have been instances when there has been obvious give and take between members of the public body, probably by text, outside the scope of view of the camera. This happens in person as well, but is harder to detect in a remote setting. There will be an effort in next year's General Assembly to make the “remote meeting” provisions of the Open Meetings Act permanent, so that local bodies can continue meeting remotely if they so choose. The conversations I have had suggest this will simply be an option – remote meetings will not be mandatory. My conversations with some local leaders suggest they

are more than happy to be back in regular meetings, with board members and members of the community together again. So, the question is: What should be the position DON CRAVEN of the IPA? Do IPA Legal Counsel & we support Incoming President the change to allowing remote meetings as an option going forward, or do we oppose extending the use of remote meetings outside any pubic health emergencies? Or, is there some position in between those two? Send your thoughts to me (don@ cravenlawoffice.com).

That language is found in Section 7(e) of the Open Meetings Act. I include the whole subsection, because you will need it for today's quiz: (e) Subject to the requirements of Section 2.06 but notwithstanding any other provision of law, an open or closed meeting subject to this Act may be conducted by audio or video conference, without the physical presence of a quorum of the members, so long as the following conditions are met: (1) the Governor or the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a disaster declaration related to public health concerns because of a disaster as defined in Section 4 of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, and all or part of the jurisdiction of the public body is covered by the disaster area; (2) the head of the public body as defined in subsection (e) of Section 2 of the Freedom of Information

Should the Illinois Press Association support or oppose an effort by the General Assembly next year to make the "remote meeting" provisions of the Open Meetings Act permanent, so that local bodies can continue meeting remotely if they so choose? Let Don Craven, incoming president and CEO of the IPA know, by emailing him at Craven Law Office in Springfield.

Act determines that an in-person meeting or a meeting conducted under this Act is not practical or prudent because of a disaster; (3) all members of the body participating in the meeting, wherever their physical location, shall be verified and can hear one another and can hear all discussion and testimony; (4) for open meetings, members of the public present at the regular meeting location of the body can hear all discussion and testimony and all votes of the members of the body, unless attendance at the regular meeting location is not feasible due to the disaster, including the issued disaster declaration, in which case the public body must make alternative arrangements and provide notice pursuant to this Section of such alternative arrangements in a manner to allow any interested member of the public access to contemporaneously hear all discussion, testimony, and roll call votes, such as by offering a telephone number or a web-based link; (5) at least one member of the body, chief legal counsel, or chief administrative officer is physically present at the regular meeting

location, unless unfeasible due to the disaster, including the issued disaster declaration; and (6) all votes are conducted by roll call, so each member's vote on each issue can be identified and recorded. (7) Except in the event of a bona fide emergency, 48 hours' notice shall be given of a meeting to be held pursuant to this Section. Notice shall be given to all members of the public body, shall be posted on the website of the public body, and shall also be provided to any news media who has requested notice of meetings pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 2.02 of this Act. If the public body declares a bona fide emergency: (A) Notice shall be given pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 2.02 of this Act, and the presiding officer shall state the nature of the emergency at the beginning of the meeting. (B) The public body must comply with the verbatim recording requirements set forth in Section 2.06 of this Act. (8) Each member of the body participating in a meeting by audio or video conference for a meeting held pursuant to this Section is considered present at the meeting for purposes of determining a quorum and participating in all proceedings. (9) In addition to the requirements for open meetings under Section 2.06, public bodies holding open meetings under this subsection (e) must also keep a verbatim record of all their meetings in the form of an audio or video recording. Verbatim records made under this paragraph (9) shall be made available to the public under, and are otherwise subject to, the provisions of Section 2.06. (10) The public body shall bear all costs associated with compliance with this subsection (e).




Two ways – one comes at no cost – that your newspaper can further CNI's success


t’s been a great first 36 months for Capitol News Illinois. Now, we’re literally planning for the next 3 to 5 years for the Illinois Press Foundation’s news service. That plan won’t happen without additional support from the state’s newspapers. Capitol News Illinois staff has been working with former Rockford Register Star Executive Editor Mark Baldwin to develop a strategic plan for the news service. That plan will include a plan for how CNI can grow over the next few years, and how it will increase and diversify its funding to accomplish that growth. One of the ways we must get there is through funding JEFF ROGERS support from Illinois’ Director of Foundation newspapers. More than 440 newspapers have published CNI coverage of state government since the news service’s inception in January 2019. Many of them publish CNI stories with regularity. The service has been, and will continue to be, provided at no cost. CNI has been funded during its first phase by significant grants from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and a substantial financial commitment from the Illinois Press Foundation. That funding, at least at current levels, can’t be expected to continue forever. Additional funding sources will be needed to not only grow Capitol News Illinois, but frankly first to ensure its long-term viability. The strategic plan will include a number of fundraising approaches. One that is absolutely critical to CNI’s continued success is for financial commitments from the news service’s largest beneficiaries – newspapers. As we seek additional donors and sponsors, it will be necessary for us to show that there is literal buy-in from the newspapers that rely on CNI’s coverage. There are two ways newspapers can provide a financial lift to Capitol News Illinois in the coming months. The first is obvious: a financial donation. A few newspapers and newspaper groups have made donations to CNI thus far, and we absolutely

Capitol News Illinois is working with a developer to create an easy-to-install collection of news service stories (above) that would be posted to a newspaper's website home page and provide the news service with a way to bring in revenue through sponsorships and ad sales. When site users click on a story, they will be taken to a story page on your site that will include a right rail of other CNI stories.

appreciate that. But if every daily and nondaily newspaper that finds CNI content valuable enough to publish would work into its 2022 budget some level of donation, it would go a long way toward ensuring the news service’s financial stability. It also would be a great story to tell potential donors. We will soon be asking each of your newspapers to make that financial commitment as you begin working on your budgets. However, we know that times are tight everywhere in our industry. A donation might be difficult to squeeze into your 2022 budget.

Acknowledging that reality, we have another way newspapers may add to CNI’s funding base without spending a dime. We have been working with a developer to create a “newspaper website funding partnership” which would ask newspapers to place a Capitol News Illinois collection of stories on its website home page. You can see an example of the collection in the screen grab photo with this column. You may also see how the collection looks and works by visiting the Illinois Press Foundation website.

See ROGERS on Page 6




Newspapers have great stories to tell. Tell them!


merica’s Newspapers recently launched an advertising campaign promoting the importance of local newspapers. READ LOCAL reminds readers that when you support your local newspaper, you support your community. I come from a small rural Illinois community, Walnut, where a weekly newspaper has served the community since 1892. The history it’s recorded and continues to chronicle is so important to the families that have lived there and live there now. In 2022, Walnut will have its 150th anniversary celebration. Thinking back, I can remember the pictures in The Walnut Leader from the 100th celebration when the women wore long dresses and men grew beards. There were so many activities and events that were recorded in the paper. The Walnut Leader has been there for celebrations, school events and activities, city meetings, business news and advertising, public notices and more. It is glue to the community. Our local newspapers are not only important in recording history, but they also tell us what is happening now and in the future of our communities. Sometimes, the local newspaper even helps guide a community in a future direction. And, as has been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, newspapers are vital in helping their communities navigate crises. That important role newspapers play in their communities should be celebrated, and promoted. We have to toot our own horns more often to remind people why we are influential and relevant to the communities we serve. We also need to remind our communities of the many different ways we share our timely stories. In addition to the newspaper, many organizations now

have websites and social media accounts that help them reach even more people. This larger and immediate presence is another way that newspapers are significant in community conversations. We must be sure to show our advertisers how our larger audience beyond print products matters. Newspapers, like their communities, have great stories to SANDY PISTOLE tell. Promote the work your Director of Revenue newspaper does, and how it makes a difference in your community. Promote reading the newspaper’s coverage in print, and online. Do for your newspaper what your newspaper does for others every day – tell your story; advertise and promote your products. Tell your story in news coverage, in promotional ads, and on social media. Email your subscribers to promote the work you do. Create a plan to share consistent and constant messages that remind your readers how important your newspaper is to the community. Whether doing so increases your newspaper’s advertising revenue or circulation, drives more traffic to your website, or creates more social media conversation, your organization and communities will be better for it. We can’t put a price on the value that newspapers have to a community, but we can tell our readers and communities that we are here and will stay with them as long as we are supported!

LEADER Continued from Page 3 “I look forward to continuing and expanding my role with the IPA/IPF and our members. I encourage you to keep those calls and emails coming.” Craven’s hiring was also lauded by Illinois Press Foundation Board President Jerry Reppert. "The selection of Don Craven to lead the Association is an outstanding choice,” Reppert said. “No one is more qualified to hold the post. Much of his career has been devoted to the newspaper industry. As Foundation president, I look forward to working closely with Don.” He also had kind words for Fisher. "Sam's leadership of the IPA was marked by one of the most challenging times in the history of the organization, but he was up to the task,” Reppert said. “COVID, and all of the issues it brought with daily operations, could never have been expected. On a positive note, that state government coverage news service Capitol News Illinois will always be much to his credit as the best program the Foundation has ever sponsored. And, the hiring of Jeff Rogers to lead CNI was remarkable. “Sam also did an excellent job with government relations and kept membership well informed. There are many facets to being IPA president, and Sam has checked all the right boxes."

ROGERS Continued from Page 5 The collection would feature the most recent CNI stories and would link to a viewer page that contains the full story as well as a right rail of related stories from CNI. Capitol News Illinois staff would manage the collection. No work would be required of your newspaper beyond placing the collection somewhere on your home page. There is an opportunity through this collection to have financial sponsors and in-story advertisements. Given the potential digital audience reach of IPA member

newspapers, there is potential for significant ad and sponsorship revenue. This is how your newspaper can make a financial contribution to CNI without spending a dime. Your allowance of having the CNI collection on your home page would allow CNI to realize ad and sponsorship revenue. ALSO, because CNI would be managing the collection, your staff would be spared the labor of posting CNI stories to its website! (Though, if you’d like the CNI story on the

state budget passage to be among your top stories on your site, you may also post the story there if you wish.) ALSO, when users click on a story in the collection, they remain on your website! (This project will also allow us to track CNI digital reach through your newspaper and all others, which will help us even more in fundraising!) We’re excited about this opportunity and hope you are as well. In the coming weeks, I and others in our organization will be reaching out to your newspaper to ask for your

assistance in this critical project. It would be great if your news organization not only participated in the website effort but also made a donation to Capitol News Illinois. But if doing both is just not financially feasible in 2022, we understand, and will be very grateful for your significant “contribution” by providing a place on your website. You’ll be hearing from us soon, but if you have any immediate questions or suggestions, email me at jrogers@ illinoispress.org.



U.S. Postal Service announces starkly higher postage rates By NATIONAL NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION WASHINGTON – The United States Postal Service has announced a planned adjustment of postage rates as of Aug. 29, 2021, for the public and commercial mail users. For community newspapers using Periodicals mail to reach readers, the average rate increase will be nearly 9%. The First-Class Stamp will move from 55 to 58 cents. The rate increase is part of a new USPS business plan that also includes a weakening of service standards for mail that is moving across the country.

The proposed new rates must be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission. But the PRC has already granted USPS the authority to eliminate an inflation-based price cap on rates. It gave USPS a new set of parameters that allows it to charge more for mail that remains in the postal system while digital technology provides new competition for delivery of messages and advertising. Brett Wesner, chair of National Newspaper Association and president of Wesner Publications in Cordell, Oklahoma, said the rate

Don't miss Mike Reilley's next webinar! If you were part of the first two IPA webinars hosted by Google News Initiative SPJ trainer Mike Reilley, you know his sessions on making data research and graphing super easy are not to be missed! Also, these sessions ARE NOT RECORDED, so signing up and joining the live webinar is the only way to participate and learn. From 1 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 5, learn about using Google Earth Tools. Learn how to pull archival satellite photos and create video tours using the free Google Earth Pro tool. We'll also experiment with Google Earth Timelapse and the Earth Measure tool, as well as look at practical examples of how to use these tools in your reporting. Prior to the session, download Google Earth Pro on your computer from the link at the bottom of this page. All you need to do to participate in the webinar is click here at 1 p.m. Aug. 5!

Hardware delivery to Oakland!


On May 27, the Illinois Press Association delievered the traveling David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy to the Oakland Independent newsroom, where it will be proudly displayed for the next year to celebrate the Oakland Independent being named the best small nondaily newspaper in the state. The trophy is held here on Main Street by owner/ publisher Janice Hunt. The Oakland Independent won the Division A sweepstakes in the editorial contest during the 2021 Illinois Press Association and Illinois Press Foundation annual convention, which was held virtually May 5-7. (Photo by Sandy Pistole of the IPA)






Journalism continues to be worth the investment This editorial was published in the June 24 edition of The Hinsdalean. At a newspaper conference years ago, a speaker talked about the virtual circle of newspapers. Owners invest in the creating a good product. That quality product attracts readers. Readers attract advertisers. Advertisers spend money to buy ads, providing the owners funds to invest back in the product. That model has been the guiding philosophy of The Hinsdalean since the first issue in September 2006. Unfortunately, the same model has not been followed at the Chicago Tribune. And things have gotten even worse since hedge fund Alden Global Capital purchased Tribune Publishing, publisher of the Trib and other major newspapers, for $633 million a month ago. Two days later, the new owners offered newsroom employees a buyout, and some 40 journalists are taking it. Among them are columnists John Kass, Mary Schmich and Heidi Stevens and sports columnist Phil Rosenthal. Columnist

Georgia Garvey is leaving as well, and in her farewell piece, reflected on her early days in journalism. “In that world, facts were beautiful, never shameful,” Garvey wrote. “In that world, truth sat on a throne, was more valuable than money or fame or any other common reward.” That is a world a hedge fund with a reputation for cost-cutting values little. In his final column, John Kass turned nostalgic as well. “I’ve loved this newspaper from the moment I walked through the doors of the Tribune Tower as a smartass kid copy boy more than 40 years ago,” he wrote. Kass, for those who don’t remember, was a city hall reporter before taking over for another Chicago legend, Mike Royko. Why is any of this relevant? Longtime Chicago news anchor Ron Magers, commenting on one of Rob Feeder’s columns, said it best. “I don’t like every columnist I read but I like to read almost every columnist,” he wrote. “I’ll continue my subscription to several

POSTAGE RATES Continued from Page 7 announcement was grim news for community newspapers that have for months been fielding complaints that subscribers are not receiving their copies on time. “Nothing about this scenario is good,” Wesner said. “These increases will require many newspapers to increase subscription prices to cover this new cost and readers will think we have lost our minds to charge more when USPS cannot get the paper to so many on time. But times are tough in our world. We have to pay these bills. “The increase in the stamp cost will be felt most in a rural economy.

People in small towns across America send checks through the mail to pay their bills. The stamp goes up and delivery goes down. I fear that just as economic hopes have started to rise for people returning to work, faith in the Postal Service’s ability to serve the nation will put a damper on commercial activity for many of us. “At the same time,” Wesner said, “we have been warning our member newspapers for several years now that if Congress did not enact postal reform legislation, we would wind up exactly where we are today. It is not a recipe for success.”

newspapers because to cancel feels like giving up on journalism.” We hope there are more who feel like Magers does. Not all the news on the state of journalism is distressing. In January 2019 the Illinois Press Foundation created Capitol News Illinois, a syndicated service available free to all member newspapers, to provide coverage of the Illinois Legislature. Dozens of reporters across the state used to cover Springfield, but with consolidation and cost-cutting, that number has dropped dramatically over the years. During the last session, CNI had six reporters (three of its own, two interns and a reporter from Report for America) providing credible and unbiased coverage of state government. The service had some 50,000 stories published in 441 newspapers (including The

Hinsdalean) in its first two years and two months of existence. The First Amendment is often cited for guaranteeing people freedom of speech, which is certainly important. But its real power, in our opinion, is its guarantee of a free press AND the ability of people to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Without reporters covering lawmakers at all levels — federal, state and local — how will people know what the government is doing? In his farewell column, Kass shared his favorite quotation inscribed in the Tribune Tower lobby, from Lord Macaulay. “Where there is a free press, the governors must live in constant awe of the opinions of the governed.” Let’s not give up on journalism.





Gaza, crisis reporting, and the crisis of local journalism Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the May 19, 2021, edition of the Wednesday Journal. By MICHAEL ROMAIN Wednesday Journal On Saturday, May 15, Jawad Mahdi, the owner of the 11-story al-Jalaa tower in Gaza City that was home to residential apartments and the offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, pleaded with an Israeli intelligence officer for more time. Less than an hour earlier, Mahdi and others in the building had been notified by the Israeli army of the military's intention to bomb the building. The army claimed it housed "military interests of the Hamas intelligence," Al Jazeera would later report, a line typically used after buildings are bombed in Gaza. (The outlet would also report that the military's claims were not backed up by any evidence.) "All I'm asking is to let four people … to go inside and get their cameras," Mahdi told the officer. "We respect your wishes, we will not do it if you don't allow it, but give us 10 minutes." "There will be no 10 minutes," the intelligence officer told Mahdi, who then replied: "You have destroyed our life's work, memories, life. I will hang up, do what you want. There is a God." Mahdi's comment is both fatalistic and defeated, but also hopeful and optimistic. Mahdi's energy is spent, but his reserve is not depleted. The army may have obliterated his life's work and artifacts of collective memory, but not his faith. Recently, while thinking about the state of journalism, I've found myself feeling the mixed emotions Mahdi so vividly articulated over the phone in Gaza.

On the one hand, I'm resigned to a reality that's pretty hard to deny. The al-Jalaa tower is, in some meaningful ways, a fitting metaphor for the state of local Michael Romain news in America. When asked in 2019 about the future of local newspapers, billionaire and famed investor Warren Buffett said frankly: "They're going to disappear." Unfortunately, that's how things seem to be trending. A study in the Newspaper Research Journal showed that from 2004 to 2015, the country lost more than 1,800 print outlets – each shuttered newspaper like a patch of brick wall holding up the alJalaa tower. Since then, more debris has fallen (and recently in Chicago, as Alden Global Capital aims its weapons of value destruction at the Tribune, we've gotten used to looking over our heads, so to speak). For a country, newspapers in particular (the first drafts of history) and journalism in general are like neurons in the brain of a person. When she loses newspapers and journalists, a country also loses her ability to remember who she is, which is essential to forging the country she wants to be in the future. This amnesia plays right into the hands of authoritarians like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In “Race, Media and the Crisis of Civil Society,” his penetrating book published in 2000, sociologist Ronald Jacobs, referencing the philosopher Jurgen Habermas, explains that "the principle of open public discussion came to replace that of parliamentary secrecy" in the West due to the development of the public sphere: "The sphere of private people come together as a public, who

claimed the space of public discourse from state regulation, and demanded that the state engage them in debate about matters of political legitimacy and common concern." After Habermas, Jacobs said, scholars questioned the validity of a single public sphere, arguing that civil society actually comprises multiple public spheres "oriented just as often to cultural issues as to political ones." Of course, in our age of hyperfragmentation (of Fox News and Facebook), this point is no longer up for debate. However ancient, the conversation is still instructive. I found Jacobs' analysis of the 1991 beating of Rodney King particularly useful as a tool for looking at crises like the al-Jalaa tower bombing beyond the lens of crisis journalism. Jacobs explains that in 1991, most mainstream media outlets like the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and TV news outlets like ABC News "represented the beating as a 'shocking' event, criticized the police officers for using their powers illegitimately, and described them as being irrational and excitable in their works." The heroes in this mainstream media framework were good cops and politicians and well-known advocacy groups working against the uniformed villains seen in the grainy, black-and-white footage pounding Rodney King to a pulp. In this narrative, King himself is not worthy of much sympathy, his human suffering rendered invisible, overshadowed by the much greater emphasis white media placed on his alleged drug use and criminality. It took Black newspapers like the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Chicago Defender and the New York Amsterdam News to make Black agency and the Black community in

LA central to the story and to provide a counter-narrative (an alternative public sphere, if you will) to the one provided by the mainstream white press. "News reports in the Los Angeles Sentinel juxtaposed the outrage over and collective attention to the Rodney King beating with the relative lack of attention concerning another beating case whose trial had begun on the same day," Jacobs writes. "The trial stemmed from the Don Jackson case, a 1989 event where two Long Beach police officers were captured on videotape pushing an off-duty, African-American police officer through a plate-glass window." By recalling these other instances of police brutality, the Black newspapers "placed the event of the [Rodney King] beating in the middle of a long and continuous narrative, rather than at the beginning of a new one." For these much smaller and often overlooked outlets that were nonetheless critical platforms in their respective communities, it was important to show in their reporting that King's beating wasn't a unique emergency or one-off crisis, but consistent with hundreds of years of struggle that "had been largely ignored by the mainstream media and white society." Call it a long crisis. As with the 1991 beating of Rodney King, the current crisis in Gaza has to be understood within the context of deep history and of a larger struggle that has often been ignored or distorted by Western media. The bombings are nothing new and neither is the unjust false equivalency in the media between the harm done by the Israeli government and that done by the Palestinian forces. AP and Al Jazeera are important, but we

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Here's how you can support local coverage from the BND Editor’s note: This column, written by Editor Jeffry Couch, was originally published in the May 23 edition of the Belleville News-Democrat. By JEFFRY COUCH Belleville News-Democrat Greetings from the Belleville News-Democrat virtual newsroom. Philanthropic support is now a key part of keeping the BND's local reporting strong and focused on public service journalism. That's one of the reasons we are reaching out to you today: to ask for your support through the nonprofit Journalism Funding Partners during our spring fundraising campaign. BND journalists work hard every day to report the news that is essential to people living in southwestern Illinois. Since early

2020, we've covered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in our region and delivered information to help keep you safe. We will continue Jeffry Couch to cover that story as Illinois reopens, people continue to be vaccinated, restaurants and other businesses regroup and rebuild and life begins to return to normal. The BND's local coverage goes beyond the latest pandemic news. It includes everything from accountability stories about public officials and government to a unique digital voter guide and extensive coverage of the April 6 election and its aftermath. BND journalists write about life in metro-east communities, delightful

human interest stories, the latest from our schools and city councils, daily breaking news and business updates, plus much more. This is the kind of coverage our team delivers every day, and these examples are just from the past few months. By now, everyone knows the financial challenges that local news organizations have faced as we've navigated the digital transformation and worked on finding a path to a sustainable, healthy future. We are making progress as the work continues. Subscriptions and advertising are certainly a part of ensuring that future, and we deeply appreciate all of that support. Philanthropic giving is also an important component. We need all three to support the expensive, but essential, work of local journalists and ensure the future of

the BND. You can make a tax-deductible gift to help the BND continue its mission by following this link or typing bit.ly/ BNDsupport in your URL bar. Or if you want to discuss a possible contribution, please contact me at jcouch@bnd.com or 618¬ 239-2551. Journalism Funding Partners, a nonprofit organization, is partnering with the BND in this campaign. The mission of the organization is to "increase the depth, diversity and sustainability of local journalism by building and stewarding connections between funders and news organizations." If you have already contributed to the campaign, thank you for your gift. If you haven't, we appreciate your consideration. And as always, we thank you for reading the Belleville News-Democrat and bnd.com.

ROMAIN Continued from Page 9 also need to think about the local journalism that may be threatened by the bombs – particularly the journalism told by reporters who aren't just "embedded" in Gaza and Israel, but who live and have roots there. They are the Defenders and Sentinels of this particular moment. And I'm embarrassed that I can't name a single one. Despite my fatalism, I am still somewhat hopeful and optimistic about the state of local journalism much closer to home. On May 5, I listened to Illinois Senate President Don Harmon give some remarks during the Illinois Press Association's annual convention, which this year took place virtually. When he was younger, Harmon said, he delivered copies of the Chicago Daily News in Oak Park and was a sports reporter for his college newspaper, the Knox Student. Those experiences in local journalism stayed with him and helped shape his identity, Harmon said, adding that he's been subscribed to Wednesday Journal "for as long as I can remember; my mom

always had it delivered and I certainly have kept a subscription." Then, Harmon spoke about the overwhelming, bipartisan support that SB 0134 has received in both the House and the Senate. The bill, which would create a Local Journalism Task Force designed to propose possible solutions to the many existential problems confronting journalism in Illinois, was introduced by Sen. Steve Stadelman, himself a former journalist. Sen. Jacqueline Collins, the bill's co-sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Dave Vella, the bill's sponsor in the House, are also all former journalists. The task force will include representatives from a variety of institutions ¬ journalism schools and trade associations such as the IPA. When I learned of it several weeks ago, I realized that this task force, as it was composed, wasn't representative of the many diverse media outlets that are owned by Black and Brown people and/or outlets that serve Black and Brown communities. Any entity analyzing local journalism needs to

hear these voices or risk perpetuating the kind of media that has historically ignored Black and Brown suffering, and that prompted Malcolm X to offer this word of caution: "If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." To their credit, Stadelman, Collins and Vella all took my phone calls, listened attentively to my concerns and vowed to ensure that the task force will be open to a diversity of perspectives and viewpoints. The process of engaging with these politicians gave me another reason to be optimistic about the future of journalism and, by extension, democracy. It turns out, not all of our elected officials are aspiring authoritarians. America, as Robert McChesney and John Nichols once wrote, was "called into being by a journalist" named Tom Paine. The current efforts of journalists (and former journalists) are what will save her.




Returning to the newsroom Some newsrooms sample a ‘little slice of normalcy’ with office reopening BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association BLOOMINGTON – In April, the newsroom staff Lee Enterprises’ papers in central Illinois got a literal slice of normalcy. About half the staff at The Pantagraph was in the office covering the election. They were all masked, spread way out, with dividers alongside every cubicle. “It was like a whole other world,” said Chris Coates, Central Illinois editor. “But we did socially distanced Election Night pizza. People wanted to be in the newsroom and be part of that energy. It felt like a little slice of normalcy.” Coates splits time physically between the Decatur Herald & Review, The Pantagraph and the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier that serves Mattoon and Charleston. While he rarely sets foot in Woodford County, he also oversees the Journal. He said in late spring, staff was welcomed back to all four offices, “and they’re all a little bit different.” “It’s kind of an honor system, but we encourage people to spread out,” Coates said, adding that mask-wearing is “all over the place” for staff. “We just kind of trust everybody.”

Varied plans still forming, in flux Reopening plans vary from newsroom to newsroom throughout the state, but all the editors interviewed for this story agreed that it behooves media outlet owners, publishers and newsroom leaders to work with staff on a hybrid plan, not just in the reopening phase, but in the long term. In Springfield, about an hour’s drive from Bloomington, Executive Editor Leisa Richardson said that while the State Journal-Register office is open, editors and reporters rarely set foot in it. “I think the pandemic has allowed us to see how flexible we can be,” she said. “Technology surely has become a great friend. I think we learned how to use technology even more than we did when we were in the office.” And if you think you can’t replace the magic of in-person Election Night pizza, Richardson begs to

Photographer David Proeber inspects a drone in the newsroom of The Pantagraph on July 2 in Bloomington. (Photo courtesy of The Pantagraph) differ. She had personal pizzas sent to every staff member working that night. She said the impromptu inspiration, brainstorming and planning that used to take place at the water cooler or in the breakroom still exists. It just looks different. “We talk just like we would in the Leisa Richardson newsroom,” she said. “People connect by text, by phone, by (Microsoft) Teams. That has kind of replaced the water cooler. It also allowed us to be more efficient with our time. The camaraderie you have in the newsroom is different, but it’s still there.” Two newsroom hires are yet to set foot in the office, although staff did have a get-together by dining outside at a local restaurant. Richardson expects Gannett to first come out with a comprehensive plan sometime in the

fall, but there’s no urgency in her newsroom. The Chicago Tribune’s editorin-chief, Colin McMahon, said in an email that the newsroom is open on a voluntary basis, and that some reporters, editors and visual Colin McMahon journalists come and go as they wish, and that COVID-19 protocols remain in place in all public areas and shared spaces. The brutal reality for many papers is that they’ve been able to work in the office safely because there’s simply not as many employees at the paper these days. Less than an hour southeast of Bloomington, The News-Gazette in Champaign has pivoted after staff cuts and begun relying heavily on contributors for content.

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Reporters Kelsey Watznauer (left) and Kade Heather work in the newsroom of The Pantagraph on July 2 in Bloomington. (Photo courtesy of The Pantagraph)

RETURNING Continued from Page 11 “So other than the occasional writer, pretty much everyone has worked [in] the office this whole pandemic – while masked and keeping a safe distance from one another,” Editor Jeff D’Alessio said. Some Chicago-area newsrooms are yet to reopen their doors. Steve Warmbir, interim editor-in-chief at the Chicago Sun-Times, said in an email that several factors delayed a decision on reopening the office until Sept. 7. In Arlington Heights, the Daily Herald’s doors will first reopen on that date, “barring any unexpected issues related to the pandemic, of course,” Heather Ritter, vice president of resources, said. She said department heads are working on hybrid work expectations. “We also have dictated to our managers that it is expected that while remote work has a lot of advantages – for both the employee and the business – that there is little substitute for in-person contact and collaboration,” Ritter said. Managers will be expected to have reviews in person when possible and make regular in-person contact with their staff, “even if it’s a meet-up at a doughnut shop,” Ritter said. “So, in other words, we will be

open but it won’t look the way it did before,” she said. “Each team will have different routines and expectations and this space will be available until our lease expires in a few years.” If staff are reluctant to work in the office, management will discuss employees’ concerns. “This is unchartered territory so we expect a slow rollout until we are feeling completely back to normal,” Ritter said. “We are encouraging reporters to work from their home offices or within their territories. So if someone simply no longer wants a desk at the office, that’s not an issue at all.” She admits that she was initially dreading working from home, but has seen many benefits. Employees can sleep in a bit, get their kids off to school and be home when the handyman shows up or a package is delivered. HR Generalist Sara Zawila saves hours by not needing to commute at least two hours round trip every day. “She’s legitimately gotten two hours of her life back,” Ritter said. “From a business perspective, let’s say she has a doctor’s appointment at 4:30 in the afternoon. If she was in the office, she’d have to leave at 2 o’clock. You get more productivity from just that alone.” Everyone interviewed for this story

said their employees haven’t been required to prove they’re vaccinated. Every editor interviewed agreed that output hasn’t been an issue since Day 1 of the pandemic. “We have not missed a beat,” Richardson said. “We’ve taken safety measures, and we certainly wanted to make sure that when we were completely shut down that we didn’t jeopardize anyone, but we found ways to make sure we still got the story. I’m so proud of our staff. No one ever seemed to be daunted by the task at hand. They knew what our job was, and they did it. They did what they’re here to do: to report on what’s going on, tell the truth and shine a light on places people wouldn’t normally get information on on their own.”

Reflecting while returning Coates said newsrooms should take time to recognize what’s been accomplished since March of 2020. “I think we do need to take stock of all the incredible work we did,” he said. “The puzzle now is to bring us back to where we were before. Now what do we cover? What does this look like? The audience is cooling on COVID, too. They don’t want to read

about it anymore.” He also admitted that he’s worked more hours each week than he did before March 2020, which reflects a disconcerting trend in the industry. “That work-life balance went totally out of whack,” Coates said. As head of HR, Ritter said she can only sympathize with reporters who’ve not only braved COVID-19 in first-hand reporting, but who’ve also followed every story angle, including national stories of families in despair and makeshift morgues. “That’s hard enough for a person like me who doesn’t work in the newsroom,” she said, adding that she and other leadership members urged staff to step away from the news cycle when off the clock. “When you shut off the computer and turn on the news as average Joe citizen, we need you to step away. It’s kind of too much.” In that vein, she also urged that managers be aware of journalists’ willingness to work themselves to the bone. “Newsroom people are so passionate about their craft, and they have a work ethic to beat the band,” she said. “They’re the most passionate group of all of us. If anything, we have a hard time getting them to stop.”




Production team bravely pressed on at Daily Herald BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – If he were a reporter, Don Stamper, director of production at the Daily Herald, would undoubtedly be terrific at protecting his sources. Last fall, as he walked among nearly 150 employees in Schaumburg who bravely kept the flagship newspaper and various other papers and publications printing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he was keeping the mother of all secrets under lock and key. Each and every one of those employees was about to be honored during the company’s awards ceremony with the Above and Beyond honor. “I’m pretty good at keeping secrets. Nobody else knew about it,” said Stamper, 58. Typically, a few production employees would attend the banquet, but this time it was mandatory for all, as IT set up monitors so they could watch the ceremony during their break. “The management staff and the whole team, I couldn’t be more proud of them, and to be recognized for that, it was quite an honor,” Stamper said. While the rest of us showed up to those initial Zoom meetings with business on top, pajamas on the bottom, Stamper was contacting his staff by phone – many don’t have internet, he said – to lay out plans when the pandemic hit and state shut down non-essential operations. He and his staff plastered signs everywhere, instituted protocol checklists and informed truckers they’d be allowed in the building only to drop off paperwork. “A light switch went off, the whole economy shut down, and the world was different,” Stamper said. His team masked up and showed up every day to do its job. And it had

Jose Marsol checks the final color of a print job May 13, 2020, at the Daily Herald Print Center in Schaumburg. (Photo courtesy of the Daily Herald) to do it short-handed. When the pandemic hit, some staff quit, and about a half-dozen took leave because of health conditions. Two full-time employees got stuck in India and the Philippines. “Some planned to be out 2 or 3 weeks, and they were out for months,” Stamper said. Employees picked up the slack by working harder and clocking lots of overtime, Stamper said. They worked long shifts wearing masks any time they weren’t eating or drinking, and they did it with few complaints, Stamper said. “At first, everybody had a reason they didn’t want to wear one – I can’t breathe, or I can’t do this or that – but eventually they got on board,” Stamper said. “Most of the employees – we did have some that there was some pushback, and me and management staff had to remind

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Oak Park journalist a Pulitzer finalist

Kevin Gielmer switches out some plates May 13, 2020, at the Daily Herald Print Center in Schaumburg. (Photo courtesy of the Daily Herald)

PRESSED Continued from Page 13 them – they understood it.” As guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed from day to day, Stamper and his management staff put their employees’ safety first. Notices were posted everywhere. The packaging and inserting lines were particularly problematic, but employees did their best to keep themselves, and each other, safe. And supervisors stayed on them, Stamper said. “Obviously, we were not able to keep 6 feet at all times, but whenever possible we did that,” Stamper said. In early October, a few weeks before the awards ceremony, the press team was featured on the front page of a special section commemorating the company’s work during the pandemic. “We are forever thankful to our own on-site heroes in our production facilities who never wavered in their mission to print a paper every day,” Colin O’Donnell, senior vice president of operations and strategic initiatives, wrote in a Page 4 story on Stamper’s team. O’Donnell was among the VPs and other brass who chose to honor the

production crew. Stamper has been with the company since 2014, but he’s spent his entire career in production rooms – first at the Daily Southtown in the mid-1980s, then as operations director at Gatehouse’s Chicago division. “You get so involved in the dayto-day when something like this happens – pushing through day to day until it becomes the norm for you,” Stamper said. In his story, O’Donnell paid credit to Assistant Corporate Secretary Kristine Wilson and Vice President of Human Resources Heather Ritter for helping procure gallons of hand sanitizer, hundreds of masks, and thousands of gloves on short notice to keep the operation humming. Ritter, in turn, lauded Stamper. “I love him dearly,” she said. “He has from Day 1 taken this very seriously. He saw the big picture. I mean, if one guy in the pressroom gets the coronavirus, we’re going to have a mess. So I know the culture was there from the get-go – the cleaning regimen and temperature checks. We weren’t playing around.”

ORLAND PARK – Bill Healy Jr. was among a group of journalists who were named finalists for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in "Audio Reporting," or podcasts. The prize went to a team of veteran NPR journalists for their podcast "No Compromise," which "examined a group of American right-wing activists with extreme pro-gun views and a growing following on social media," the Pulitzer Committee announced June 11. Healy is a member of the staff of the Invisible Institute of Chicago, the Intercept and Topic Studios, which collaborated in producing a podcast called "Somebody." They were all cited as being finalists. The judges described "Somebody" as "a dogged and searing investiga-

tion of the murder of a young Black man in Chicago and the institutional indifference surrounding it." Healy’s bio describes him as a freelance journalist "based in Bill Healy Jr. Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood.” He produces StoryCorps for WBEZ and teaches documentary radio at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Healy's photography has been featured in books, magazines and newspapers. He graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in sociology and has two master's degrees from Northwestern.




Examining the state of college newspapers: A period of retooling, rebuilding, reinventing By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association College newspapers are facing many of the same challenges legacy newsrooms are navigating: declining advertising revenue, the rapid shift to the digital product, and news illiteracy. But there are some distinct differences, and five student advisers recently joined the Illinois Press Association for a virtual roundtable on the struggles, adaptations, and potential solutions.

Evaluating the viability of print

A panel of advisers for collegiate student newspapers talks with moderator Christopher Heimerman during a virtual roundtable discussion May 27. Pictured are (clockwise from top left) Lola Burnham, director of student publications and editorial adviser at Eastern Illinois University; Shelley Hendricks, adviser for The Northern Star at Northern Illinois University; Marla Krause, faculty adviser of The DePaulia at DePaul University; Peter Kreten, director of student media at St. Xavier University in Chicago; Heimerman, communications correspondent for Illinois Press Association; and John Plevka, general manager of the Vidette at Illinois State University. (Credits: Zoom.us)

Watch Click here to watch the full discussion.

The Vidette at Illinois State University recently published a 28-page commemorative section that was as aweinspiring as it was tear-jerking. After all, it marked the end of an era. After 132 years of publishing, the Vidette has ceased its print publication and has gone online-only. “Going back through 132 years of papers and seeing the paper survived all these other crises, knowing we couldn’t make it through this was especially hard,” said John Plevka, general manager of The Vidette. “But it’s the right thing. This is the right direction to go. As good of a job as we were doing post-COVID, a lot of those newspapers were ending up in the recycling bin.” That same problem on other campuses prompted many college newspapers to rein in their frequency, and the Western Courier at Western Illinois University also went digital-only after the spring 2020 semester. The Daily Eastern at Eastern Illinois University is part of a dying breed: college newspapers that have continued to print daily. The newspaper hit stands each weekday this past semester. Lola Burnham, director of student publications and editorial adviser at EIU, said one reason it’s survived is that the Daily Eastern is printed on a press on campus – right on the other

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COLLEGE Continued from Page 15 side of the wall of her office, in fact. But she’s running out of other areas to cut. “We have cut and cut and cut and cut every expense that we can,” she said. “Our goal is to keep it as long as we can afford it, but the times they are a changin’.” Plevka said the last businesses standing as advertisers in the Vidette … well, they aren’t standing anymore. “The only advertisers we had left were a few bars and restaurants, and COVID did them in,” he said. In fairness, at least the Vidette was able to provide an advertising platform for the bars. Not the case at St. Xavier University in Chicago, which is a couple of miles away from two premier breweries that call Peter Kreten, director of student media, every semester asking him to take their advertising dollars. “So each new supervisor I get, I go to them first and ask if we can take breweries as sponsors, because there’s a lot of money there,” Kreten said, “and every time they fly it up the flagpole and it gets shut down. It’s the most frustrating thing in the world. I’m at the point where I might need to ask for forgiveness, rather than asking for permission.” “I wouldn’t run it up the flagpole if I were you,” said Marla Krause, faculty adviser of The DePaulia at DePaul University. “I’d just take the ad and see what happens.” While Kreten said increasing revenue is “the $64,000 question,” he said collaboration between the campus newspaper and radio station on advertising packages has paid dividends. He said focusing on fostering relationships with advertisers will always be part of the solution. He’s playing the long game with the owner of a local bookstore by continuing to run his ads, even though he can’t pay for them until October. “I know in talking with him that he doesn’t have the money for it, but in 6 months he will, and he’ll start paying again,” Kreten said “It’s working

out strategies, and trusting those relationships with your sponsors.”

Pandemic crushes recruiting opportunities In a typical summer, The Northern Star at Northern Illinois University would get about 120 applications from its fun, ultra-inviting recruiting events on campus. A little more than half of those applicants would show up at initial training, about 20 would say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and adviser Shelley Hendricks would net about 50 employees. With that recruiting opportunity canceled by the pandemic, she got about 10 new employees going into fall of 2020. “It’s been a huge struggle for us, and I was surprised we were able to get anyone, honestly,” Hendricks said. “But we were able to get just enough people to do the work we need to do. The staff is pretty much as small as it’s ever been.” Burnham said all her recruiting events are virtual again this summer, so she’s taking the few students she’s able to recruit and immediately turning them into recruiters. “It’s been that old confirmation class from church,” she said. “Each one bring one. You’re responsible for bringing one in. Usually if we can get someone into the newsroom, we can talk them into at least giving it a try.” Kreten and Krause both said their communications faculty members have welcomed opportunities for representatives of the newspaper to speak to their classes. Krause is brutally honest with students. “I tell them, ‘You need these clips, and you need this on your resume. Nobody cares what your grade-point average is when you look for a job. They care that you worked for your school newspaper,’” she said. “We don’t say that in front of the dean.” Hendricks said rethinking recruiting is part of an ongoing top-to-bottom overhaul of The Northern Star.

“We’re kind of reinventing the Star from the ground up, and how we recruit is going to be one of our big pushes,” she said. She said the newspaper is shifting from topic-based beats to a community-based system. She also said those uber-welcoming tables will be visible year-round – not just during the summer. “We’re kind of stealthily hoping some people will join,” she said. “We’re hoping by engaging with communities, rather than saying, ‘We’re going to cover this topic,’ we will be more personable and more in the faces of different communities, and that more people will join our staff.” On the subject of rethinking engagement …

We need to talk about social media Perhaps the days of ignoring trolls of every shape and size are gone. After all, one of them ended up working at The Daily Eastern after staff responded to his chiding and posed a challenge. “It was sort of, ‘Oh, you think you can do this? Come on in and give it a try,’ ” Burnham said. “That kid rose to the challenge, and that worked. I don’t necessarily think he’s going to end up being a journalist for a career, but he is quite opinionated and has made some contributions for the opinion page.” Burnham said getting chattier on social media has been part of her

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COLLEGE Continued from Page 16 newsroom’s evolution. Although simply keeping up with the revolving door of platforms is a whole thing of its own. “Know your audience and adapt to whatever the strengths and weaknesses of those particular platforms are,” she said. “Also know that by the time you graduate, if you’re a freshman, by the time you’re a senior, all those platforms, it could be something completely different.” Kreten said students laugh at him when he mentions Facebook, but he points out that he’s not the only perceived dinosaur. “The president and provost are on Facebook, not Instagram,” he said. Burnham echoed that many alumni, townspeople, faculty and

staff are predominantly on Facebook, while a certain age of alumni are on Twitter, and current students or recent grads are on “whatever the platform of the day happens to be. I’ve been here long enough to watch all that change.”

Shifting to digital-first Most advisers the IPA has interviewed in the past year agree that a silver lining in the pandemic is that student media has been forced to shift to a digital-first mentality – just like legacy newspapers. “A lot of the bad habits we used to have just don’t exist anymore,” Hendricks said. “It used to be that our online product just kind of

got whatever energy was left over. That’s been a huge part of the reinvention.” She’s still grateful The Northern Star will stay in print, even if it’s dropping from twice-weekly to weekly, with that edition effectively being a digest. Hendricks said more than 25 percent of the student body “has never been on campus to step over a Northern Star on the floor of the student center. A lot of them don’t even know we exist.” “So for us, just to get readership and get in front of students’ faces, we need that print product still. We see our print product almost as our calling card.” Kreten is something of an old soul, so he’s excited to strike the balance between print and digital. “It’s like an unshaped piece of clay,” he said. “We get to mold it for what we need to reach our students. It's an opportunity, and it’s what we make of it.” He did say, however, that he continues to drive home his appreciation of the print product, and that he subscribed to the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune and routinely drops copies in front of his students, then asks them what’s going on in the world. “By having them have that paper in the office, they’re picking it up and reading it, and they’re getting it,” he said. “They’re getting the journalistic style of writing. If they don’t read it, they’re more inclined to do this very blog-style, Tumblr-style of writing. I’m seeing them falling in love with print.” Plevka wishes he could be so lucky. “I’m not seeing that,” Plevka said, adding that he rarely sees his own staff holding a physical copy of The Vidette. “I have not experienced that in the classroom or at the paper. I wish I did, because it’s such a great learning tool for everything – in news literacy, but it’s also a built-in how-to manual.” Since he brought it up …

News literacy is as crucial as ever “Politically, this is the most news illiterate group I’ve seen,” Plevka said. “It scares the crap out of me. Every 4 years they get fired up about a presidential election, and then it goes away. How much spinach journalism can I make them eat? How much are they going to listen to the old man in the room?” He said teaching virtually has only compounded the problem. “If I could look them in the eye with as much sincerity I could muster, and tell them that this is vital that you read and understand these things and begin sharpening your filters,” he said, throwing his hands up in the air. Krause recalled a member of her staff at DePaulia discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that a friend had told her it’s been going on a couple of years. “I refrained from bursting into tears, at the fact that this girl wants to be a journalism major,” Krause said. “I don’t know what to do about it, and it’s terrifying.” Burnham shared some heartening news: EIU has begun offering a general education course in news literacy, which she hopes will be required at some point. Another get-with-the times course is being offered at DePaul.

Gig Economy 101 The few students working at college newspapers who decide to enter the field will face a new, burning question: to go after the full-time job, or to string together a living as a freelancer? In response to the growing rate of reporters-for-hire, DePaul has begun offering a course in freelance journalism. “Students are learning how to pitch a story, how to negotiate pay for a story, what to do when you don’t get

See COLLEGE on Page 19




Pictured are members of the Illinois Journalism Education Association's All-State Journalism Team for 2021. They are (top row, from left) Sydney Laput of Huntley High School, Jenna Lin of Kaneland high School, Ella Marsden of Libertyville High School, Emma Snyder of McHenry High School, Olivia Plangger of Normal Community High School, and Tricia Rennegarbe of Okawville High School; and (bottom row, from left) Isabella Mendoza of Oswego East High School, Rick Lytle of Prospect High School, Caroline Look of St. Charles North High School, Victoria Feng of Stevenson High School, and Caroline Hohner of University of Chicago Laboratory High School. (Photos provided by Illinois Journalism Education Association)

True Journalism All-Stars at their schools


oes your staff have an MVP? That doesn't necessarily mean the top editor or the staffer who puts the most plaques on the wall. It means a “go-to” person — the one who you know will, despite any circumstance, get the job done. It means the person who other staff members naturally gravitate to for guidance. It means the person who sets aside personal work or priorities to help with whatever’s needed. The role of the “MVP” is what the Illinois Journalism Education Association's All-State Journalism team celebrates at the high school level. This year's team was honored at a virtual event on June 5, and its members are normally recognized during an annual IJEA celebration at the Illinois Press Association office. But until we can gather together again, here’s a brief look at this year’s 11 honorees. Sydney Laput, a senior at Huntley High School, was photographer and photo editor for both The Voice student newsmagazine and

Harmony yearbook. “Some kids in the class are what I call ‘hoop jumpers,’ kids who are only worried about their grades and doing what they need to do,” adviser Dennis Brown said. “But Sydney isn’t like that. She’s passionate about The Voice GREG BILBREY and about The Harmony yearbook and making sure that IPF Board Member they live up to expectations.” Jenna Lin, a Kaneland High School senior, was editor-in-chief and social media manager for the Kaneland Krier newspaper. “She oversees all elements of our production, and she is the student most responsible for the growth of our program and the changes in our overall design,” adviser Dominic Bruno said. “Jenna fills any need that arises. Because of her genuine enthusiasm and ability to connect with others, our Journalism 1 enrollment went from

12 students during Jenna’s sophomore year to 34 students this year.” Ella Marsden, Libertyville High School senior, was editor-in-chief of the Drops of Ink newsmagazine — overseeing the entire issue process, making sure each was complete and sent to the printer on deadline (including staying after for paste-up until things were finished). “Several times this year, she has put the publication’s needs ahead of her own interests by agreeing to design layouts, even though her first preference would be to write,” adviser Michael Gluskin said. “Additionally, when problems have arisen during the year, Ella is unafraid to speak honestly to either me or the school administration. She pushes for what she feels is the best solution while also keeping the larger publication and its goals in mind.” Emma Snyder, a senior at McHenry High School, was news editor of the McHenry Messenger newspaper.

See BILBREY on Page 19




BILBREY Continued from Page 18 “When there's a tough news story or a story that needs to be turned around in less than 24 hours, Emma is our go-to writer,” adviser Dane Erbach said. “She is, in fact, a natural journalist, one who is unafraid of asking tough questions, who can put together a thorough, well-reported story with seemingly little effort, and who pushes herself to do her best.” Olivia Plangger, Normal Community High School senior, was co-editor-in-chief of the print and online NCHS Inkspot. “She was a true extension of me, the adviser, and I knew she could be trusted to lead our staff of 40-something students,” adviser Brad Bovenkerk said. “Olivia has been the ultimate team player, doing whatever she felt would make our journalism program as a whole the best it could be now and in the future.” Tricia Rennegarbe, Okawville High School senior, was editor-inchief of Timepiece yearbook. “Tricia works very hard to achieve goals, not only for herself, but for the staff,” adviser Dana Donovan said. “She became truly invaluable last spring during the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She simply refused to give up on the yearbook. …She was involved in the production until the very end.” Isabella Mendoza, a senior at Oswego East High School, was editor-in-chief of Wolf’s Eye yearbook. “Isabella’s biggest jobs were being a

IJEA honors Sam Bull as Journalist of the Year The Illinois Journalism Education Association on June 5 named Sam Bull, a senior at Downers Grove North High School, as its Illinois Journalist of the Year. He becomes the organization’s 32nd Journalist of the Year since 1989 and the third from Downers Grove North High School. “Sam is an outstanding student who is fully engaged in and passionate about everything he undertakes,” says Janice Schwarze, principal of North High. “We are so proud of him for achieving this prestigious honor.” Bull served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Omega. He also served as the North High student representative on the District 99 Board of Education. The IJEA named Elizabeth Keane of Prospect High School as its Runner-Up Illinois Journalist of the Year.

Sam Bull

Elizabeth Keane

decision maker and a problem solver,” adviser Colleen Calvey said. “She pushed her staff members to think outside of the box and encouraged them to pursue new ideas.” Rick Lytle, a senior at Prospect High School, was editor-in-chief of The Prospector. “It would have been easy to take the same route as so many of his peers: write a few stories for the newspaper, design a page or two, and call it a day,” adviser Jason Block said. “But Rick isn’t wired that way. … Rick is the kind of selfless leader who is always willing to put aside his own work so he can help one of his peers improve theirs.”

Caroline Look, a senior at St. Charles North High School, oversaw the year's transition of The Stargazer publication from print to digital as editor-in-chief. “We are impressed with her resilience and reflection in finding and overcoming the challenges this year presented for our paper,” adviser Alice Froemling said. “She’s helped build a sense of community and pride in keeping journalism alive at our school even through a pandemic that has radically changed our means of distributing news.” Victoria Feng, a junior at Stevenson High School, was managing/news editor for the web for

land that job that’s rich with bennies and job security, so we push that as hard as we can,” Plevka said, “but the reality is, there are significant freelance opportunities out there. As papers rely more and more on independent contractors to do a lot of heavy lifting, there’s experience to be had.” Hendricks said she puts her

students in “buckets,” including students who would thrive as freelancers, or covering a niche market such as law or aviation. “Then you have a few who are so strong, they will be working for major legacy newspapers,” she said. “I’m here for those people, because society needs people of that caliber. There are also some people who

The Statesman newspaper. “Sensitive to those she leads, Victoria is a role model of patience while cajoling her staff to meet the highest standards of journalism,” adviser Dean Bradshaw said. Caroline Hohner, a junior at the University of Chicago Laboratory High School, was arts co-editor for the U-High Midway newspaper “Caroline thrives as part of the team, helping wherever she can,” adviser Logan Aimone said. “When editors need someone to handle a complicated story, Caroline volunteers. When a sudden news story must be written on short deadline, editors most frequently turn to her.” The theme that unites these descriptions of the All-Staters is inspirational: They all stuck with the job until it was done — not just until their assigned part of it was done. If any of these schools are in your coverage area, congratulations. Schools turning out these kinds of students clearly are still committed to journalism and committed to the future of the profession. And that should compel you to get involved and support them as much as you can. How? That's a subject for the next column. Greg Bilbrey, a member of the Illinois Press Foundation and Illinois Journalism Education Association boards, will be writing occasionally about scholastic journalism for PressLines.

COLLEGE Continued from Page 17 paid for a story and you have to go back at them,” Krause said, adding that the course is quite popular. Plevka, recognizing a quorum of the Illinois College Press Association board was on the call, asked Krause to get the instructor to speak at the next convention. “You want those coming out of here with significant bills to pay to

won’t be able to make a career of it, honestly. For those people, I see my role as a citizen, and for the future of democracy, that my role for them is to help them be very aware news consumers. "That they learn to think critically and be part of the discussion. That might be the only role The Northern Star has for them.”




Former Illinois photographer now at the White House Editor’s note: This story was first published in the June 2 edition of the Forest Park Review. WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chandler West, 31, had just been hired in his new position as deputy director of photography at the White House when he was assigned the surreal task of photographing the "flip." "It's one of the craziest things I've done since coming here," West said. "My first job on day one [Inauguration Day] was to get to the White House and be there to capture the flip as it was happening. So I spent like four or five hours just standing in the Oval Office watching people physically carrying furniture out, putting in new rugs and hanging art." The moment was all the more surreal, considering that just six years earlier, West was working in Oak Park as the staff photographer for Forest Park Review and Wednesday Journal – a job he held from late2014 to mid-2015. "The job I had at the Journal was truly one of my favorite jobs, probably second to this one," West said. "I really liked the community and the way people get excited when we'd show up and say, ‘We're from the Journal.’” After his stint in Oak Park, West was lured to New York for more editing and photography experience. He landed jobs in photo editing at the Daily Mail and Refinery29 before a moment of serendipity changed his career. In 2016, he came across a job opening on the website of Hillary for America. He applied for the position of photo editor, not thinking he'd get it, considering he had no connections to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. "I assumed I'd never hear anything," he said. "I was planning to move from New York to Washington, D.C., to see what I could find down here and as I was packing up, I got a call from the

Chandler West, once a staff photographer for the Forest Park Review and Wednesday Journal in Oak Park, now works in the White House. West (above) working behind the scenes during a rally for Senator Elizabeth Warren at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, on Nov. 21, 2019. (Photo credit: Chandler West for Warren 2020) campaign asking me to come in." West worked as one of roughly five staff photographers on Clinton's campaign until it ended. What did he think of his principal subject? "I met Hillary Clinton a couple of times, but I spent more time with other principals, since she had her own chief photographer," West said. "So I wasn't super-close to her personally, but any time I interacted with her, she was super-close and warm. She's a very caring person. When people would get off the plane, she'd get off and check on things, asking if everyone had their bags and if they needed anything." After the Clinton campaign, West moved to California and worked roughly two years as a multimedia specialist with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropy established by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. Once campaign season picked back up in 2018, he moved back to D.C. and started doing freelance photography for the presidential

campaigns of New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "All of the candidates I've worked with are great," West said. "I haven't met anybody who is a jerk or anything, but [Booker] is one of the most personable and most engaging people. When we launched the campaign, I met him at 6 a.m. and hung out in his kitchen for most of the day. He was doing media calls. One moment, he gets off the phone after talking to his senior advisers and I'm kind of huddled in the corner of the room trying not to make noise and he turns to me and says, 'Hey Chandler, how do you think I did on that call?' He goes out of his way to make sure everybody feels part of the process and engaged." West connected with the Joe Biden campaign just as the former vice president was gaining unstoppable momentum after his surprising landslide win in the South Carolina primary. He had cultivated a relationship with Biden photographer

Adam Schultz while working on the Clinton campaign (Schultz is now Biden's chief White House photographer). "By the time I joined his campaign, Biden was basically the presumptive nominee and the campaign was kicking into high gear and hiring more staff," West said. "That's when I got a call from Adam asking to help him keep up with everything." West said that's been his job ever since. The days can be as long as 16 hours, and the work is not always glamorous. West helps manage a small staff of about six photographers who are charged with myriad tasks, not the least of which is ensuring that the White House "jumbos" (the largescale prints hanging up throughout the house) are rotated with regularity. Despite the tedium, he said it's hard to be jaded in the new gig. On the morning of this interview, he had been taking photographs in the Rose Garden. "A lot of the halls in the West Wing look just like any other office hallway," he said. "Not all of it is super¬grand. A lot of it is doing normal office things. But then you get snapped out of normalcy when you hear the helicopters flying on the lawn, or the other day I was getting a COVID test down the hall in the medical unit and I realized John Kerry was in line ahead of me. So it's this weird jumping back and forth out of those moments." And then there's the daily commute. "When you walk up to the building, it glows from the sunlight kind of bouncing off the white and it's definitely something you never get used to," West said. "I've worked with pastry chefs and security and other staffers who have been here for 20 years or more and they say the same thing. It never gets old."





The Southern Illinoisan hires longtime freelancer CARBONDALE – The Southern Illinoisan has hired Les O’Dell, who has been a freelance writer for the newspaper for more than a decade, as a full-time reporter covering higher education, along with timely features on business, faith and other topics. A longtime Southern Illinois resident, O’Dell is the author of the paper's popular weekly Business Spotlight, and has long contributed to its quarterly Life&Style magazine and a wide range of special publications. In addition to his background in print, O'Dell, who’s lived in the region more than 30 years, holds a degree in agricultural communications with emphasis on radio/television news. His background is especially strong in the areas of agriculture, business,

health care, religion, children's issues and nonprofits.

staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. You can preorder the book through Indiegogo.com.

a junior at Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, majoring in sports business management

ELGIN – The Daily Herald's grief columnist, Susan Anderson-Khleif, was honored May 13 as a leader at the YWCA Elgin's Leader Luncheon. Anderson-Khleif, who writes a weekly "grief and healing" column in Susan Anderson- the Monday Health and Fitness section, won the Khleif communications and technology award. Anderson-Khleif’s column focuses on positive ways to deal with grief, especially the lingering grief that doesn't go away. She was nominated by Chapter GD of PEO International, an organization of women that supports women.

Lincicome, the premier sports columnist for the Rocky Mountain News before it folded, and before that for the Chicago Tribune for 17 years, has joined the Daily Herald’s stable of sports columnists. Lincicome is an expert on Chicagoarea sports, and his columns provide insights that add to a sports fan's appreciation of the games. A resident of the suburbs, he's been back in the Chicago area for 10 years and wrote frequently for the Tribune during that time. In addition to the Tribune and the Rocky Mountain News, he began his career with the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Former Swinford Publications staff writer to publish book Daily Herald columnist earns Bernie Lincicome joins Daily Herald sports pages LANSING, Michigan – Carbondale YWCA Elgin leader award native Scott McClallen will publish a ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Bernie book titled "Twisted Tech: The Death of Privacy in The Digital Age” in December 2021 through New Degrees Press via Georgetown University. The book explores Big Tech censorship, the future of privacy and Scott McClallen the internet. McClallen, who attended grade school and high school in Carbondale and graduated from Hillsdale College, wrote for Swinford Publications for two years, before leaving Illinois to attend college in Michigan. He is now a

Breeze-Courier adds two new staff members TAYLORVILLE – The BreezeCourier has added a journalist and an advertising department employee. Royale Bonds, 25, of Springfield has joined the staff at the Breeze-Courier as a journalist. She is a 2014 graduate of Macomb Senior High School and a 2019 graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, minor in Africana studies, and a specialization in news editorial. Bonds will cover Taylorville City Council, Taylorville Park District, Christian County Board and several other municipal meetings, as well as other stories as they arise. Hendrix Barnes, 21, of Nokomis, has also joined the newspaper for the summer in the advertising department. He is a 2018 graduate of Nokomis High School and currently

Loftus named publisher of Cass County Star-Gazette BEARDSTOWN – Gary Loftus has been named publisher of the 147-yearold Cass County Star-Gazette. Loftus has nearly 45 years of newspaper experience, coming to Cass County from Laramie, Wyoming, where he was the regional general manager of the Laramie Boomerang. In Gary Loftus addition to running the daily paper in Laramie, he was also in charge of two of that area's weekly publications. Loftus has extensive experience working in newspapers in Colorado, Michigan, Kansas, and Indiana. He was also the advertising director for the Quincy Herald Whig. He is currently a resident of Quincy, where his wife, Rhonda, and his son, Izak, also reside. Loftus said he plans to relocate to Beardstown soon.




Sauk Valley Media names Troy Taylor as its editor DIXON – Troy E. Taylor has joined Sauk Valley Media as editor and is providing weekend editing duties for Shaw Media's other publications. Taylor, 54, has three decades of industry experience, most at daily newspapers serving small towns. He recently was sports Troy Taylor editor for the Star Courier in Kewanee for two years. Taylor is a 1987 graduate of Illinois Valley Community College and a 1989 graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in news-editorial journalism. While a student, Taylor was a correspondent for the Putnam County Record and the La Salle NewsTribune. After graduation, he served as an assistant sports editor for the Mexico Ledger in Mexico, Missouri. He then became a sports editor for the Kerrville Daily Times in Kerrville, Texas. He spent two years as managing editor at the Dispatch in Cordele, Georgia. He was an assistant managing editor for nighttime production at the Morning News in Florence, South Carolina. He returned to Illinois in 2000 and spent 18 years as a copy desk editor and page designer at the Journal Star in Peoria. Taylor and his wife, Paula, live in Granville. They have three children.

has been with the newspaper for six years. She said she began as a “'floater”, answering the phones, helping customers and even occasionally doing delivering routes. As a newsroom reporter, PaisleyJones wrote on a broad range of topics. She covered the inception and success of the Safe Passage program, worked on highlighting the Farm Crawl events, and brought community attention to families in need of aid. She also covered government beats with her village and school board articles.

As a result of the promotion, PaisleyJones is leaving the newsroom to take over as the advertising manager for the Ad Department following the retirement of a longtime fixture at the paper, Joe Dorr.

Lammert joins Waterloo Republic-Times staff WATERLOO – The Republic-Times has hired recent Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville graduate Madison Lammert as a reporter.

Lammert graduated from Edwardsville High School in 2017 and graduated summa cum laude from SIUE this past May, earning a degree in mass communications. At SIUE, she was heavily involved in the university's award-winning student newspaper, The Alestle, serving as a reporter, managing editor, editor-in-chief and lifestyles editor. She also interned for St. Louis Magazine, where she performed a number of roles, including writing stories for the Dining vertical.

You have questions. We have answers. Got Trucking Questions? Need Answers? If you have one and need the other, contact us! Don Schaefer Executive Vice-President

(217) 525-0310


Illinois Press Association Government Relations Legal & Legislative Sam Fisher, President and Chief Executive Officer sfisher@illinoispress.org

Paisley-Jones chosen as Breeze-Courier GM TAYLORVILLE – Local news reporter Kim Paisley-Jones has taken the reins as general manager of the Breeze-Courier. Paisley-Jones, known by many in the community for her engaging and emotional human interest articles,

Contact us when you need the latest information on the petroleum marketing and convenience store industry. We are CELEBRATING 100 years of working together! Phone: 217.544.4609 www.fuelingillinois.com

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Chicago writer biked Route 66 during pandemic Editor’s note: This column written by the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan was first published in the newspaper's June 8 edition and then republished by many other newspapers statewide. CARBONDALE – What sort of person decides, standing in a foot of Chicago snow in February, that it would be a good idea to ride a bike from Chicago to the West Coast, following the storied Route 66? Michael Sean Comerford is that sort of person and he is not, of course, the first person drawn to that byway, often called the "Mother Road" or "America's Main Street." Not long ago I told you about former Tribune photographer Wes Pope who took to that road with a pinhole camera and gave us a book about it, 2018 s "Pop 66: A Dreamy Pop Can-camera Odyssey Along Route 66" (Press Syndication Group). I also told you about writer Susan Croce Kelly's 1988 book "Route 66: The Highway and Its People" (University of Oklahoma Press) in which she writes, "When it was born, traveling Route 66 was an adventure. For 59 years that highway was a factor in millions of trips, vacations, and relocations. ... Over the years it became a highway the country could not forget." She told me, "You know that feeling you have when you're 20 that you can do anything? That's what Route 66 represents." Comerford is not 20. He is some four decades older and has spent much of his adult life as a journalist, working for such newspapers as the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Daily Herald, as well as papers in Moscow and Budapest. He has also been an energetic world traveler, having visited 100 some countries, swimming in the Nile, studying Buddhism in the Himalayas and dancing "an Irish jig in the Amazon jungle with a jug of local white lightning." If you sense in Comerford an adventurous spirit, you are correct. For a couple of years, he worked for traveling carnivals and that time is captured in his 2020 book, "American Oz: An Astonishing Year Inside Travel Carnivals at State Fairs & Festivals." I wrote then that it is "a remarkable book, colorfully lively and filled with a cast of characters that would do a Fellini movie justice, as well as deep observations of life." He spent much of this fall and some of the

Chicago writer Michael Sean Comerford with his bike at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, near the traditional starting point of Route 66, on June 4. He recently cycled across the country via the highway. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune) winter in Chicago promoting the book, as best as one could given the restriction caused by the pandemic. He spent some time with his daughter, a teenager named Grace who is an environmental activist and the author of her own book, "Power of Purple: Jackie's Purple Ninja Story." In February he made what he calls a "snap decision" to tackle Route 66. "The idea came to me in a dream," he told me. "I knew the time was perfect since I would be riding during some of the major milestones of the country's portion of the pandemic, including crossing the 500,000 mark for deaths, the 1-year anniversary of the CDC declaring it a pandemic and a record vaccine rollout that in May would see half the country vaccinated." And so he rode, pedaling through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ending on Santa Monica Pier, in California in mid-May.

"I rode about 2,500 miles across eight states through snow, hail, sleet, rain, 50-mph winds and tornadoes in the next county,” Comerford said. “I rode over the Continental Divide in a snowstorm and had five bicycle breakdowns." He was inspired in part by a long-ago meeting he had with former Tribune reporter and twotime Pulitzer Prize winning Paul Salopek, who told Comerford of his own ambitious plans which involved his concept of "slow journalism," which he described as "another name for immersive journalism, ...a way to subvert the conventions of the digital media industry." Nearly 8 years ago, Salopek began his "Out of Eden Walk," a perilous, revelatory and enchanting 21,000mile trip around the world. He is still walking. When Comerford told his daughter (and his exwife, with whom he remains on good terms) of his bicycling plan, Grace was not pleased.

See BIKED on Page 24




Chicago magazine names Carr new editor CHICAGO – Amy Carr, who stepped down after eight years as a top features editor at the Chicago Tribune, is back in the fold as editor of Chicago magazine. Both publications are owned the Alden Global Capital, which acquired Tribune Publishing in May. In a statement posted June 23, Carr said she applied for "but didn't ultimately accept" a buyout as planned. Parr Ridder, general manager of Chicago Tribune Media Group, announced Carr's appointment as editor in an email to staffers. Ridder also confirmed that Terry Noland, executive editor of Chicago magazine since 2014, will leave after publication of the August issue. Carr succeeds Susanna Homan, who accepted a buyout after five years as editor-in-chief and publisher of Chicago magazine. Homan announced June 23 she will be CEO of the nonprofit no-kill shelter PAWSChicago.

Carr, who joined the Tribune in 2013 as development editor, most recently held the title of director of life and culture content, overseeing entertainment, Amy Carr lifestyles, food and dining, travel, books, homes, health and family, real estate, cars, the Tribune's Sunday magazine and editorial events. She previously worked for TimeOut Chicago, where she signed on as managing editor at its inception in 2004 and was promoted to executive editor in 2009. Earlier, the Eastern Illinois University graduate spent 15 years at the Daily Herald, where she rose from reporter to assistant features editor.

Daily Herald adds food writer ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Karen Nochimowski of Deerfield, author of the popular food blog MommaChef. com, will write regularly for the Daily

Herald Food section. Beyond recipes, flavors and techniques, Nochimowski also shares what she knows about being a busy mom trying to get a healthy meal on Karen Nochimowski the table. Nochimowski found her niche in creating easy, quick recipes using a minimum of ingredients. She also opened a Chicago-based soup kitchen in 2018 to service underprivileged and under-resourced families. Once a week, Momma Chef's Soup Kitchen at Congregation K.I.N.S. provides a seven-course, homemade, hot dinner, as well as bagged lunches to go.

Trib names theater critic as editorial page editor CHICAGO – The Chicago Tribune has named its longtime theater critic, Chris Jones, as editorial page editor. Jones, 57, who has been the newspaper's chief theater critic and a

leading voice for Chicago's cultural scene for nearly two decades, took the helm of a downsized editorial board July 12, seeking to write a new chapter for himself and the city's most influential Chris Jones opinion platform. Kristen McQueary, who had been editorial page editor since March 2020, announced on Twitter that her buyout application was rejected, but that she would be leaving the newspaper. A native of Manchester, England, Jones holds a doctorate from Ohio State University, and taught at Northern Illinois University and DePaul University before shifting to a career in journalism. Jones began freelancing for the Chicago Tribune in the mid-1990s and joined the staff as theater critic in 2002. Jones inherits an editorial board that because of staff departures now consists of two other members, Alex Rodriguez and Clarence Page.

BIKED Continued from Page 23 "She hugged me and started to cry," he says. "She said, 'Dad, don't do this. I feel like you are going on a death ride."' He was able to allay her fears as he bought for $200 a silver 40-year-old Panasonic touring bike through Craigslist and left Chicago. On the back of the bike was a sign: "Tell Me a Story." On his journey, he mostly slept outdoors and covered between 35 and 70 miles a day. He can get downright poetic about it: "To be outdoors in the middle of nowhere really and look up at a sky filled with stars, you start to have cosmic thoughts," Comerford said. His journey attracted some modest attention and admiration. Sam McManis, a reporter for the Arizona Daily Sun, wrote this: "Part Studs Terkel's 'Working,' part Steinbeck's 'Travels with Charley' and part Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo reportage, Comerford has encountered all manner of Americans with widely divergent stories and opinions, from COVID deniers to those dealing

with severe illness to just common folks trying to cope in this most uncommon of times." Most people, Comerford says, were eager to talk, and he was impressed at how "articulate they were, how heartfelt their opinions." He is respectful of even the most outlandish stories, such as that from a rancher who told of curing himself by taking a friend's advice to drink a de-wormer used on cattle. Comerford gathered 100-some of these interviews on "The Story Cycle" YouTube channel, through a partnership he formed with The University of Florida's Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. They are, if you care to sample, compelling, odd, moving and spooky. But there is no doubting the sincerity of the people talking. "These people and what they had to say deepened my respect for the variety of opinions out there," Comerford said.

By the middle of May, after 75 days on the road, he reached the end of Route 66, the Santa Monica Pier. Reporter Clara Harter of the Santa Monica Daily Press met him there and later wrote, "From fatalism to folk wisdom, conspiracy theories to church services, and science to superstition, Comerford discovered a vast range of ways people are coping with pandemic life." Tired but ever enthusiastic, Comerford and his slightly battered bicycle went from California to Florida (by plane), where he met his "snowbird" parents. They all drove to Chicago, where he plans to spend the next few months reinvigorating his promotional work on "American Oz." Comerford will also try to figure out a compelling narrative structure for what he hopes will be a book about his Route 66 adventure. He also is eager to work with a videographer to make a film. As for Grace, she's happy her dad is home. "I never thought you'd make it," she said.





Astoria South Fulton Argus sports editor retires

Elmhurst sports writer honored by local group

ASTORIA – The Astoria South Fulton Argus’ sports editor, Darren Churchill, retired July 1 after several years of service to the local newspaper. Churchill also helped out by covering human interest stories and community events. He plans to keep busy working on his farm, traveling and spending time with his wife, Paula and daughters, Tiffany and Taylor.

ELMHURST – Mike Miazga, who’s been a sports writer at the Elmnhurt Independent since 2003, one year after the paper began printing, was recently recognized by the Elmhurst Princesses, a nonprofit group that promotes strong bonds between fathers and daughters through shared activities. Miazga and his daughter, Kyleigh, 13, got involved with the group

when Kyleigh was in the second grade. Activities of the Elmhurst Princesses include earning patches, service projects such as working at Feed My Starving Children, a Christmas party at Enchanted Castle, “camping" overnight at the Field Museum, a pinewood derby, and a daddy-daughter dance at River Forest Country Club. After assisting with activities, Miazga went on to take a bigger role in the organization, including two stints in a leadership position, and later, two terms as chairman of the board. "There's nothing better to bond a daughter and father than a program like this," he said. "And I can't say enough about the importance of building that relationship. My daughter and I have had great experiences that are memories for a lifetime. I can't stress enough how important that program is for building relationships between daughters and their dads."

Journal & Topics welcomes Angell Luc as reporter SCHAUMBURG – Karie Angell Luc has joined the Journal & Topics Media Group news team. Luc, an award-winning multimedia journalist, previously freelanced for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago SunTimes, Chronicle Media, Lake County News-Sun and Daily Herald. A Northbrook resident and Elk Grove Village native, she will cover Des Plaines, Rosemont and Wheeling to start, in addition to assisting with coverage of Glenview.

Dispatch-Argus adds four reporters MOLINE – Four reporters have joined the staff at the Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus. DeWitt native Sarah Watson, a University of Iowa spring graduate, will cover the east metro, including

East Moline. She was editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan, which won the Iowa Newspaper Association award for newspaper of the year under her leadership. Brooklyn Draisey, another spring grad who was Watson’s second in command at The Daily Iowan, will cover the people, places and culture of the Quad-Cities. Cara Smith of New Jersey, who earned degrees in English and economics this spring from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and was an editor at the student newspaper, will cover business at the Dispatch-Argus. She will also serve as the lead writer for the quarterly business journal Insight magazine. A fluent Spanish speaker, Emily Andersen joins the team from Utah, where she graduated from Brigham Young University in 2020 with a degree in journalism and a minor in editing. She covers local crime.

Greene Prairie Press names Haggitt regional editor CHATHAM – Cynthia Haggitt has been named regional editor of the Greene Prairie Press and will oversee editorial production of that newspaper, along with the Calhoun News-Herald and the Jersey County Journal. Haggitt replaced Jarad Jarmon, who was in the role for two years and is moving to Mattoon, to be closer to his fiancee's family. Haggitt graduated from Western Illinois University in 2000 with a degree in journalism, photography and advertising. She began her journalism career while serving in the U.S. Navy, as a command photojournalist and news writer in England at Naval Security Group Agency in Menwith Hill. She served her tour of duty there for almost 4 years. She also wrote for The Pontiac Daily leader as a reporter in 2010, and most recently did newborn photography.




Laako-Swanson joins Intelligencer staff EDWARDSVILLE – The Intelligencer has hired Julie LaakoSwanson as its education reporter. A Mascoutah native, Laako-Swanson last served as editor of the Nashville News. She previously worked for Herald Publications for about a year, as a reporter for Julie Laako-Swanson the Mascoutah Herald and the Clinton County News in New Baden. She has also helped edit the Fairview Heights Tribune. Before her work in journalism, Laako-Swanson worked for the Mascoutah Public Library. She graduated from McKendree University in 2017, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and English.

At McKendree, Laako-Swanson played soccer and danced for the Pomcats gameday dance team and the competitive dance team. She was also a member of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society, and Phi Eta Sigma National First-Year Student Honor Society. Laako-Swanson writes fiction in her free time and has been featured in two anthologies of fiction by Z Publishing House. She also enjoys drawing, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Garrett Krohne named editor at Nashville News NASHVILLE – Garrett Krohne, a former sports editor with The Nashville News, has been named its editor. Krohne returns to the newspaper

after serving in the sports editor role until the summer of 2020. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Southern Garrett Krohne Illinois UniversityEdwardsville, after getting his associate’s degree from Southwestern Illinois College and Kaskaskia College.

Alexa Zoellner joins Ogle County Newspapers OREGON – Alexa Zoellner has joined the staff of Ogle County Newspapers, a division of Shaw Media. Zoellner, 30, a native of Cary, previously worked at the Daily Jefferson County Union as a staff reporter. Her bylines also can be found in the Traverse City Record-

Eagle, based in Traverse City, Michigan. One of her Daily Union articles, "Good Samaritan risks high waters to save drowning goat", won an honorable mention in Division B in the 2018 Wisconsin Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. An accompanying video Zoellner shot has, to date, garnered more than 19,000 views on the Daily Union's Facebook page. Zoellner also won first place for investigative reporting, Division C, in the 2016 WNA Better Newspaper Contest for her series, "Heroin: Consuming Resources". She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Illinois University, graduating at the top of her class and with honors. Zoellner replaces Jeff Helfrich, who took a position in May with the Rochelle News Leader.

Notable columnists exit Chicago Tribune As one would expect, media columnist Robert Feder has been tirelessly tracking and reporting on the buyouts being taken in the wake of Alden Global Capital’s purchase of Tribune Publishing. His May 24 column in the Daily Herald shared the email Colin McMahon, editor-in-chief of the Chicago Tribune and chief content officer of Tribune Publishing, had sent to his staff "What comes next for Chicago Tribune and for our newsroom is uncertain,” the email read. "I expect to get some direction next week when our new owners officially take over. Until then, take a breath, practice your craft, control what you can.” For dozens of staff, including household-name columnists, controlling the controllables has meant taking a buyout. Feder first reported June 17 that after 40 years with the Chicago Tribune, progressive columnist Eric Zorn had taken a buyout from the notorious newspaper-shredding hedge fund. In that same column, he reported that on June 14, columnist Heidi Stevens had applied for a buyout after 23

years at the paper. In his June 19 column, Feder reported John Kass had taken a buyout after 38 years at the Trib, and the next day, he reported that Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Schmich had bowed out after 36 years. On June 22, Feder wrote that Dahleen Glanton, “who brought a thoughtful perspective on issues of race, poverty, violence and social justice to Tribune readers,” had announced on social media she was leaving the Trib. The following day, he reported Phil Rosenthal had left after 16 years. Those are just the premier columnists. Here are some snippets from their goodbyes.

John Kass still has ‘a few spears left to throw’ “Love isn't a pie with only so many pieces. What do I love most? God, our country, Betty and the boys, our extended family. But I have loved the Chicago Tribune. I've loved this newspaper from the moment I walked through the doors of the Tribune Tower as a smartass kid copy boy more than 40 years ago.

“... What happens next? An adventure happens. I'm not going away. If you follow me on Facebook and listen to 'The Chicago Way' podcast, you'll learn all about it. "Old Laertes puttered around in his garden talking to his plants. I'm no Laertes. I still have a few spears left to throw. Let's see what happens.”

Mary Schmich knows her ‘Limits’ “Tribune readers have introduced me to music, books, plays and poems, often ones about the nature of grief, the power of nature, and the complexity of love. One of those poems is Jorge Luis Borges' "Limits," about the impermanence of everything. For years it hung next to my desk in Tribune Tower: If there is a limit to all things and a measure And a last time. … Those lines popped into my mind as I sat down to write this column, for the last time. After 41 years in the newspaper business, I'm taking a buyout and leaving my Tribune job.

See COLUMNISTS on Page 27





Chicago mayor limits access to only journalists of color CHICAGO – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced May 19 that she would grant one-on-one interviews to mark the two-year anniversary of her inauguration solely to journalists of color, saying she had been struck by the "overwhelmingly" white press corps in Chicago. "I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many," Lightfoot, who is Black, tweeted. "That isn't just in City Hall. It's a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city

identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American." Lightfoot's choice was made public May 18 when longtime WMAQ-TV political reporter Mary Ann Ahern, who is white, tweeted about it in a post that drew more than 5,000 comments. Reactions varied. "I am a Latino reporter @ chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today. However, I asked the mayor's office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled," tweeted Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt. "Politicians don't get to choose who covers them." Others, including The TRiiBE, a

Black-oriented digital media platform that offered extensive coverage of civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd's death, among other topics, found the anger over the mayor's decision offensive. "With this outrage, y'all are implying that Black and Brown journalists aren't capable of asking the hard questions," TRiiBE tweeted May 19, saying it got an interview the same day.

Better Newspapers acquires five papers MASCOUTAH – Better Newspapers, Inc., has acquired five Illinois newspapers: Calhoun

News-Herald, Greene Prairie Press, Pike Press, Scott County Times, and Jersey County Journal, all located in Jerseyville. Based in Mascoutah, Better Newspapers, Inc. is a family-owned company operating 31 publications in Illinois and Missouri. Greg Hoskins bought his first group of newspapers in Mascoutah when he formed Better Newspapers, Inc. on May 1, 1991. In 2012, Hoskins expanded his corporation by building a regional press plant in Altamont. This plant not only prints publications owned by Better Newspapers but also a variety of other newspapers in the area.

COLUMNISTS Continued from Page 26 “ … I've never written a column that I didn't wish was better, including this one. But I've done it as well as I knew how, never forgetting, even when I cursed the constant deadlines or felt bad that I couldn't answer all the email, that there was nothing better than being granted this education and this connection with the world, with all of you.

Heidi Stevens fit the job to her “It's been a funny fit in some ways. Journalism demands a certain amount of stoicism and a fair bit of cynicism; I'm not great at either. You probably know the journalism axiom, ‘If your mother says she loves you, check it out.’ It hung on the wall of the City News Bureau of Chicago, a daily reminder not to believe everything you're told. If your mother says she loves you, I want to give her a hug. I love mothers. I don't want to fact-check mothers. But journalism requires you to leave your comfort zone and track down the truth. So I've done my best. “... For now, goodbye. If you're on social media, you know where to find

me. I will always want to hear from you. Unless you send me a lot of hate mail, in which case it's probably time to move on. My life and my work has been immeasurably enriched by our conversations. I'm eternally grateful. Take good care of yourselves and each other. I really do believe that's our calling.” In the June 29 edition of the Tribune, columnist Rex. W. Huppke, tongue firmly in cheek no doubt, announced that he’s not taking a buyout. “Over the past week or so, you've read farewell columns from wonderful opinion writers who for years graced the pages of this newspaper. This is not one of those columns. For that, I apologize. As soon as my remarkable colleagues began announcing their departures, I started receiving concerned emails from readers. Some were afraid I might be going, while others were understandably worried I might be staying. “... We have stories to tell, news to cover and wrongdoing to root out. And I have some creative swear words I still hope to sneak into the pages of this paper. Off we go.”




Henry County Republic building sold GENESEO – The building for the Henry County Republic was recently sold. The building at 108 W. 1st Street in Geneseo has housed the Geneseo Republic since 1887. The building alone was sold, and the Henry County Republic will continue to publish weekly. The newspaper is celebrating 165 years of publication. First publishing under the Geneseo Republic

masthead, the first edition appeared on June 5,1856. The Republic will remain in the building until further notice, and operations will continue from there. The staff, although not necessarily in the building, will remain the same.

Herald-News app gathers insights on life in Joliet JOLIET – The Herald-News has launched a new app to empower neighbors to share their stories about living in Joliet.

The Joliet Focus app is made for community members to send in their photos, videos, essays, articles and poems. The app is available for download in both the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Users can submit their content through an easy, step-by-step process within the app. If their submission is approved, it will be featured on the app's feed for other users to see. The aim is for submissions from the community to encourage discussions and share viewpoints of Joliet-area residents and visitors.

Jacksonville newspaper sues over records denial JACKSONVILLE – A lawsuit filed in circuit court by the Journal-Courier accuses South Jacksonville officials of improperly denying the newspaper's request for records under the Freedom of Information Act. The civil complaint was filed July 7 in Morgan Circuit Court. It challenges a June 21 decision by the village to withhold records sought by reporter Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree. On June 4, she filed a request for any police incident reports involving South Jacksonville Mayor Tyson Manker or Jason Hill, "as well as records for any calls for police service or assistance to Village Hall (since) May 1." After asking for an extension of the time needed to respond, the village denied the request June 21, saying the records were exempt from public disclosure. Ogletree requested reconsideration, saying the exemption cited was not applicable; that request also was denied. State open records laws stipulate such a denial can be appealed to the state or can be challenged in court. Manker, when reached for comment July 8, had not seen the lawsuit, but called it "harassment" and

said he was "going to bury and embarrass" the newspaper. "It's not going to end well for the people wasting taxpayers' money," Manker said. He called the lawsuit a waste of time and said he is "in the office working my ass off undoing illegal acts." The lawsuit, which presents only one side of a case, maintains the village "violated (the Freedom of Information Act) by denying … access to inspect or copy public records by erroneously asserting an exemption, and further violated (it) by failing to provide a detailed factual basis for why the claimed exemption would apply." Journal-Courier Editor and Publisher David C.L. Bauer said "the newspaper takes what it considers violations of open meetings and open records laws seriously, which the decision to sue demonstrates." The Journal-Courier is seeking acknowledgement that the village violated the Freedom of Information Act by withholding the records, that it be compelled to release the records requested, and that it be awarded attorneys' fees and costs and any civil penalties determined by the court.

Through the endeavor, the HeraldNews aims to cultivate and share stories of community members around Joliet, especially in historically underserved areas of the city. Content shared on Joliet Focus also might appear in the Herald-News, and could spur more coverage. The newspaper also plans on hosting local events to share the stories and perspectives of community members in a public setting, especially to share the work of local artists.

AG tells police to give Journal & Topics DUI video of alderman DES PLAINES – Video recording of the Jan. 18 arrest in Mount Prospect of Des Plaines Alderman Mark Lysakowski, who was charged with driving drunk, was released to the Journal & Topics Media Group after a nearly five-month battle to obtain the public records. The Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Bureau issued a determination June 25 that the Mount Prospect Police Department "improperly withheld video records" when Journal & Topics Associate Editor Richard Mayer filed a Freedom of Information Act request Feb. 5. In the FOIA request, Mayer asked the police department to provide video and audio recordings of Lysakowski's encounter with a police officer on the night of Jan. 18. On Feb. 9, the police department denied the newspaper's request for video footage. In a written reply to Mayer, the department said releasing the video would likely deprive Lysakowski of a fair trial or impartial hearing. It also stated that "release and publication of this video would likely taint a potential jury pool if this case were to go to trial." After learning Lysakowski was arrested by Mount Prospect Police on Jan. 18, on Feb. 19 the newspaper used court records to publish a detailed article on the incident. According to the police report, Lysakowski's encounter with police was filled with profanity, threats, and refusals to cooperate. The officer said in his report that he observed Lysakowski's "eyes to be extremely bloodshot and glassy."

See VIDEO on Page 29





Nancy K. Weigel NEW LENOX – Nancy K. Weigel (nee Krueger), 77, of New Lenox, passed away peacefully on May 10, 2021, at Silver Cross Hospital, New Lenox due to complications from a recent motor vehicle accident. Nancy was born Aug. 14, 1943, in Freeport, to the late William and Katheryn Krueger, and married Tom Weigel on Sept. 11, 1965. Nancy was a graduate of Freeport High School, and served for a short period of time in the U.S. Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of St. Francis and a master’s degree from Governors State University. She worked for a time as a teacher at St. Raymond's school in Joliet, she was the editor of the New Lenox Community Reporter newspaper, and worked as an administrative assistant for the Will County Sheriff's Department for several years before retiring in 2003. She loved to travel, taking several trips to Europe on bus tours and Viking Riverboat tours on the Rhine and Danube rivers, and enjoyed visiting Myrtle Beach and

Branson, Missouri. She was a volunteer at Sunny Hill Nursing Home where she played bridge with the residents, and also loved to play bridge with several other bridge groups. She was a Board Nancy Weigel Member of Sunny Hill Foundation (Friends of Sunny Hill), past member of CCW at St. Jude, former member of the St. Jude School Board, a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW in New Lenox, and a member of the Visitation and Aid Society of Joliet. Nancy will be remembered as a loving mother of her son Matthew and grandmother of Austin Weigel. Nancy is survived by her loving husband Tom Weigel, who is a Will County Board Member; her son, Matthew of Merrillville, Indiana; her grandson, Austin Weigel; a sister, Kimber (Robert) Bellis of Elk Grove Village; and many dear in-laws, nieces, nephews and wonderful friends. She was preceded in death by her brother David who was killed in the Vietnam War.

Rodney “Rod” H. Sanders AUSTIN, Texas – Our beloved Rodney was born Dec. 25, 1949, and left our lives Wednesday, April 7, 2021; he will be sorely missed. Rodney was born to Samuel V. and June R. Sanders in East St. Louis and grew up in Belleville. He was a U.S. Army Veteran serving during the Vietnam era. Rod graduated from Belleville Twp. High School West, was drafted and served in the U.S. Army, then graduated from SIU Edwardsville with three degrees. While at SIU-E, he held a position as ad manager and associate editor for The Alestle (the SIU-E paper). He was very active at the university and was one of the founding members of the National Town Meeting student group, which advocated for televising Congress, in the days before C-SPAN. Rod leaves behind many lifelong friends who he cared for deeply. After college, Rod took on a position as an advertising sales representative and climbed to the position of publisher for three papers simultaneously for the Suburban Journals of the greater

St. Louis area. He then founded and published TV Weekly Magazine in Madison County in Illinois, and North St. Louis County in Missouri. Rod moved Rodney Sanders and fell in love with Austin in 1984. As an entrepreneur, he sold advertising specialties, graphic designs, framing and online merchandising amongst other ventures before settling into a position for the IRS. All the while, Rod kept in touch with many of his lifelong friends and family, even taking long trips in the Southwest United States which he loved. Rod leaves a wide circle of family and friends. He is survived by his brother, Timothy K Sanders (Donna R. Sanders); his two sons, Jason F. Sanders (Mandy M. Sanders) and Jacob V. Sanders; and five grandchildren, Lauren A. Sanders, Andrew R. Sanders, Taylor P. Bailey, Tylor J. Sanders and Mason F. Sanders. Rodney was preceded in death by his brother, William C. Sanders; his mother, June R. Sanders; and his father, Samuel V. Sanders.

VIDEO Continued from Page 28 As the officer was driving Lysakowski to the Mount Prospect police station, the alderman allegedly started banging his handcuffs against the seat, the newspaper reported. When he was asked by the officer if he was all right, Lysakowski allegedly said he was annoyed, adding "what did you (expletive) prove?" According to the report, while at the station, Lysakowski told the officer "I will have your ass. You will see." After the police department said it wouldn’t release the video, Journal & Topics Editor and Publisher Todd Wessell appealed to the Illinois Attorney General's Office. After the police department provided the AG’s office with unredacted copies of the video, Wessell was offered an opportunity to respond to the information denial. He wrote that the police department's response is "contrary to a free and open society," and that the department's refusal is "baseless."

In reviewing the public records and responses, the AG’s office remarked that "All records in the custody and possession of a public body are presumed to be open to public inspection or copying." It added that a public body "has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that a record is exempt from disclosure." In its arguments not to disclose the record, the police department said that jurors are prohibited from permitting any previous media coverage they may have seen about the case to influence their verdict. It also argued that the requested video footage "has significantly more likelihood to taint a potential jury pool than just the description of a report and because the defendant is a public figure, his arrest would generate more interest within the community and lead to a far larger community spread of the video and knowledge of his arrest and make it harder to find an unbiased jury when he proceeds to trial."

In its response to the Mount Prospect Police Department arguments, the AG's office said the department had failed to provide facts that the newspaper's request would create a substantial likelihood that Lysakowski would be deprived of a fair trial. It asserted that the department did not provide the AG's office with details establishing that a trial in the underlying prosecution was pending or truly imminent at the time Mayer filed his FOIA request. Further, the statement said the assertion that Lysakowski would not likely get a fair trial is largely based on speculation in a region of more than five million people. "Even assuming the video would be widely viewed by potential jurors in Cook County before trial, the Illinois Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions referenced in the department's response instructs jurors to disregard materials to which they are exposed outside the courtroom,” the statement reads.




Joanne I. Strong NAPERVILLE – Joanne I. Strong (nee Knoch), 87, a noted financial writer, died May 17, 2021, after a prolonged illness, with her beloved family at her bedside. She was the youngest of four daughters of Irene and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Win G. Knoch of Naperville. Joanne Strong In 1958, after 3 years at the Chicago Tribune, she joined a small but growing number of women seeking greater roles as editors. Joanne was named the first full-time female financial writer at the Tribune and was among a growing number nationally. Writing under the byline Joanne Knoch, she initiated the "Women In Finance" column and authored a series on the latest innovation to hit the Chicago area – giant suburban shopping malls where "at least" 100 were under construction or in the planning stage. In the 1960s, she introduced a new column to Tribune readers aimed at the city's burgeoning advertising and marketing industry. Joanne attended SS. Peter and Paul elementary school and was in the first graduating class of the "new" Naperville Central High School. She attended Barry College in Florida before graduating from the University of Illinois in 1955 with a B.S. degree in Journalism. In 1959, she married James Strong, labor writer and City Hall reporter. Their son, Mark, was born in 1968. A short time later, the family moved from the excitement of Chicago's North Side to the relative quiet of Arlington Heights, where they lived for 47 years and were members of Our Lady of the Wayside parish. Joanne always had a love of music. She studied piano throughout her life, including with her longtime teacher and friend, the late Marilyn Crosland, until a stroke interfered

with her lessons at age 83. Once described as a "Woman for All Seasons", Joanne enjoyed life after retiring from the Tribune in 1968. She pursued a new world of oils and watercolor art, exhibiting in shows and local venues. As an artist, she served as a longtime member and recording secretary for the Arlington Heights Art Guild. She was a great hostess of holiday and other celebrations for friends and family. She was loved by her immediate family and her many nieces and nephews. Joanne is survived by her husband, James, son, Mark, and sister, Doris Wood. She was preceded in death by her sisters, Marjorie Schaller and Jean Wehrli. In lieu of flowers, please support and enjoy your local music and art programs.

Mario Sebastiani KANKAKEE – Mario John Sebastiani, 93, of Kankakee, died Monday, June 7, 2021, in the house he loved. He was surrounded by those he lived for, his family. He was born Feb. 25,1928, the son of Eugene and Carlotta (Lenci) Sebastiani. Mario married the former Betty Bright on June 26, 1954. In his youth, he was a paperboy for the Kankakee Republican (precursor of The Daily Journal). At age 16, he officially began employment with the newspaper. It became his career for 65 years. His first responsibilities were the jobs in the pressroom no one else wanted to do, such as wiping down the presses. His older brother, Louie, was inducted into the U.S. Navy during World War II. Mario took his place in circulation. When Louie came home, Mario returned to the pressroom and soon became a pressman. As improvements began to influence the printing of newspapers, new offset presses were acquired. During this same period,

he became pressroom superintendent. The Daily Journal also became a print site for USA Today for the Chicago area. Under his supervision, The Daily Journal won Mario Sebastiani many prestigious awards for printing quality, including several from USA Today His final position with the paper was that of general manager. He was instrumental in the dayto-day operation of the paper. His reputation and relationship with his peers was one of highest respect and admiration. Marion served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Because of his printing experience, he was stationed in Tokyo, Japan. Each day he would receive aerial photographs of the battle front and print maps for the field command that showed battle lines and troop placements. His military service ended in 1954. His great pleasure was to see things grow; primarily his garden and fruit trees. Every summer there was an abundance of vegetables and fruit to be picked and delivered to friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances. His two most favorite spots on earth were his own backyard and, in recent years, his living room chair. From that viewpoint he could watch his plantings grow with one eye and the stock market with the other. Surviving are his daughters, Gina (Michael) Pullen and Linda (Jim) ScanIon; grandchildren, Mary (Mitch) Holmgren, Melissa (Peter) Chung, Brad Johnson, Stephanie (Mark) Alessi and Sarah (Kelly) Krippel; stepgrandchildren, Jenna Kostelicz and Jamie Panici and their families; great-grandchildren, Brady and Ella Chung, Evan and Leah Alessi and Kyle Holmgren; sisters-in-law, Dorothy and Elinor Bright; and caregiver, D'Angelo Hunter. Preceding him in death were

his wife of 67 years, Betty (Bright) Sebastiani; parents, Eugene and Carlotta Sebastiani; beloved brother, Louie Sebastiani; brother-in-law, Joseph Bright; and sister-in-law, Elsie Menard. Memorials may be made to the family to carry out Mario's wishes. Please sign Mario's online guestbook at clancygernon.com.

April R. Alexander ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – April R. Alexander died peacefully June 8, 2021. April was born in St. Louis, where she met her husband of 68 years, Bob Alexander. April was employed at Paddock Publications (the Daily Herald) for more than 40 years. April Alexander She was known for her compassion and generosity. No one ever went away hungry or thirsty from her house. Although she had said one place she never wanted to live was the Chicago area, she happily raised her family in Palatine, living in the same house for more than 50 years. April is survived by her daughters, Sandra (Lames) Jessogne, Micki (Tod) Planert; son, Robert (Debbie); grandsons, Jason (Jacqui), Chad (Jennifer) and Brett Jessogne, Rusty (Kirsten) and Casey Planert, Brandon and Zach Alexander; granddaughter, Natalie Alexander; nieces, Debra Stroot (Dennis), Denise Votrian (Craig); nephew, Duane Miller; and great-grandchildren, Finnley, Jaxon, Cole, Mason and Afton Jessogne and Zoe Planert. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Alexander; her father and mother, Rudolph and Melba Altenbernd; and her sister, Rosalind. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, 800 E. Palatine Rd., Palatine, IL 60074.





Roger Wells SPRINGFIELD – Roger A. Wells, 80, of Springfield, died Friday, June 4, 2021, at his home. Roger was born Sept. 11, 1940, in Springfield, the son of Lauris H. and Helen (Fricke) Wells. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1960. Roger worked for the State Journal-Register in the mailroom for over 11 years, at Buick for 21 years, and at the Illinois Comptroller's Office for 7 years. Roger was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Dale L. Wells. He is survived by his sister, Carol Farley of Springfield and her children, Marti Dove of Riverton, Chris Cavenaile of Plainield, and John Stokes of Arlington, Texas; and sisterin-law, Virginia Wells of Springfield, and her children, Gail McCusker of Springfield and Wayne Wells of Florida. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 675 E. Linton, Springfield, IL 62703.

Thomas B. Littlewood SAVOY – Thomas Benjamin Littlewood, 92, of Savoy, died Sunday, June 6, 2021, at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Thomas was born Nov. 30, 1928, in Flint, Michigan, to Thomas Nelson Littlewood and Louise Grebenkemper Littlewood. He grew up in LaPorte, Indiana, and caught the journalism bug as a high school sophomore, serving as the part-time sports editor of his hometown newspaper. Thomas attended Depauw University and Northwestern University, receiving his BS and MS from the Medill School of Journalism. He was recruited to cover the police beat right out of college and soon after began his career as a political writer. Thomas worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1953 to 1977, first in Chicago and then as a Springfield state capital correspondent, followed by a decade as correspondent in the Washington, DC, bureau. During historic and

tumultuous times, he covered Congress, the Supreme Court, national politics, presidential campaigns, national conventions and, from 1972 to 1974, the White House. Thomas Thomas Littlewood witnessed and wrote about such significant events as the civil rights struggles in Cairo, Illinois, the Little Rock Central High School integration, and the 1960 election of then-political newcomer John F. Kennedy. He later covered the Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign, and was sadly present at his assassination. In 1975, he was awarded a fellowship at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Thomas followed this with service on the staff of Senator Robert Dole. In 1977, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as Professor of Journalism, and for the first 10 years served as department head. Thomas was the author of six books and numerous professional publications covering a range of political and historical subjects, and was the recipient of a number of journalism awards. He retired as professor emeritus in 1996, but never retired from being an Illini sports fan. Thomas was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara. They were high school classmates and fellow writers for the LaPorte Herald-Argus. The high school sweethearts were married in 1951. After marriage, they traveled in support of his career and to indulge their many interests. He had a lifelong fascination with the smalltown circus, American history, Big Ten football, and the Chicago Cubs. In his younger years, he received a complimentary ticket to see the last game at Wrigley Field, and skipped school to see the Cubs play the Tigers in the 1945 World Series. He proudly displayed the Wrigley Field brick bought for him by his children. Thomas and Barbara summered in Empire, Michigan, entertaining generations of

family. Vacations typically included a checklist of recommended sightseeing excursions, dune climbs, canoe trips, picnics on the beach, and visits to the Empire Area Museum where he volunteered. Thomas is survived by his four children, Linda Johnson, Lisa Ratchford, Thomas S. Littlewood, and Leah Hamrick; three siblings, Ellen Frahm, Mary Littlewood, and Robert Littlewood; 11 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren. Memorials may be directed to the University of Illinois Library or The Leelanau Conservancy.

Lorraine H. "Lori" Taylor MIDLOTHIAN – Lorraine H. “Lori” Taylor, 89, of Midlothian, died May 18, 2021. Lorraine was born Sept. 29, 1931, and was the wife of the late George Taylor and the late Albert Hansen. Lori was a member of the Midlothian V.F.W. Post #2580 Auxillary, past president of 16th Dist. V.F.W. Auxillary, past president of V.F.W. Auxillary Dept. of Illinois. She was editor-in-chief for the Midlothian Messenger Press for more than 37 years, a past president of Midlothian Historical Society, on the Board of Directors of the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce, a secretary of Gage Park Alumni Association, and was Cook County Sheriff’s Person of the Year. She was the loving mother of Raymond, Daniel, Jeffrey and John Hansen, proud grandmother of Jamie, Colleen, Cassie, David, Chris and Jessica, and great-grandmother of nine. She was the fond stepmother of Della Taylor, the late Constance and the late Georgia. She was the dear sister of the late Eileen. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a Veterans Charity of donors choice.

Ron Emery MARION – Ronald C. Emery, 82, of Marion, passed away peacefully at

9:38 p.m. Monday, June 21, 2021, in Parkway Manor of Marion. He was born Wednesday, March 15, 1939, at home in Marion, the son of Guy and Clara Ethel Ron Emery (Rogers) Emery. Ron attended school in Marion and was a graduate of Marion High School's Class of 1957. He was united in marriage to Janet Sue Kneezel on Friday, June 5, 1981 in Marion and together, they shared more than 25 years of marriage until her death Dec. 6, 2006. During his working career, he had sold real estate, was a writer and had self-published several books. More recently, he had immersed himself into photography and was currently working with Swinford Publications as a freelance photographer and writer, where he took photos and reported for The Marion Star, Herrin Independent and Carterville Courier. He was of the Islamic Faith and was also a member of National Press Photographers Association. In his spare time, he enjoyed dancing, bird watching and nature photography, going to political events and was an avid reader. He is survived by his first wife Mardell Mallaburn; five sons, Mark David Emery, Lance Eric Emery and his wife, LeAnn, Ronald Scott Emery, Van Travis Emery and Michael Ali Emery; grandchildren, Sarah, David, Amber and Madison; great-grandchildren Donovan, Aidan, Sophia and Jake; brothers, Orian Dee Emery and wife Marcy, James Roger Emery and wife Mary, Stephen Michael Emery, and Charles Gregory Emery and wife Jackie; brothersand sisters-in-law, other extended family and many friends. He will be missed by all who knew him. He was preceded by his parents; wife; grandson, Michael Van; two sisters, Mary Madaleine and Margaret Evadne "Deanie"; and brother, Guy Jr.




Mary Grapperhaus TROY –¬ Mary "Mae" Olivia Mersinger Grapperhaus, 82, of rural Troy, passed away Saturday, June 5, 2021 at Morningside of Troy, where she had lived for the past 2 years. Mae was born June 30, 1938, the daughter of Oscar and Louise (nee Levo) Mersinger in Highland. She attended Spring Valley School, a country school south of Troy, across from the farm in which she grew up, through the sixth grade. When the country schools were consolidated, she attended Troy Grade School and graduated from McCray Dewey High School, Class of 1956. She later studied Journalism at SWIC and SIUEdwardsville. As a child, she studied piano and guitar under the instruction of Leroy Singleton, a prominent music teacher in Collinsville. After high school and before marriage and children, she worked as a personnel clerk at Stix, Baer & Fuller in St. Louis for over 5 years. She married James "Jim" Grapperhaus on June 10, 1961, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with Rev. J.V. Dineen, officiating. Their children attended and completed all sacraments in the same church. Jim and Mae farmed south of Troy, raising cattle, pigs, chickens, and growing corn, soybeans and wheat. Early in life, she began giving piano and guitar lessons. At one time she had 18 students. She was former Editor of the Times-Tribune and served as a reporter and editor beginning in 1985. Mae was always involved in a lot of projects, clubs, organizations, both civic and religious. She was a big promoter of Troy, and whenever someone wanted to know something about the history of Troy, they went to the newspaper office and asked for Mae. She enjoyed her friends and could name her entire high school class and kept in touch with most of them her entire life. Organizations in which she was a member: Diocesan Catholic Women, of which she was a former secretary, Hie Alton Deanery, president; National Road Association

of Illinois (vice-president, secretary, treasurer): former member of the Troy Democrat Woman' s Club; Troy Jaycettes; and Troy Unit of Madison County Homemakers. She was one of the charter members of the Troy Kiwanis Club. She was a 4-H Leader of Cloverleaf Ag club for 12 years; former member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and was president of the Altar and Rosary sodality; she was a former member of Daughter of Isabella (Dofl) Sacred Heart Circle, Highland, past vice regent; was currently a member of the Edwardsville O'Reilly Circle of D of I; was organist at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, troy and a member of the St. Ann's CCW and Cemetery Board of the Church. She was a member an one of the founders of Troy Historical Society and served as president for many years; Troy Genealogy Society; Woman's Club of Troy; Madison County Historical Society Board of Directors; U.S. Senator Paul Simon Museum Board officer; McCray Dewey Alumni Committee; the former Troy Main Street Board of Directors; Troy Chamber of Commerce Board as an Ambassador; formerly was on the Economic Development commission of City of Troy and recently served on the City of Troy Historical Preservation Commission. She was awarded the Illinois Woman of Achievement Award in 2000. She was the Troy Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 2002. Mae was Troy Homecoming Parade Grand Marshall in 2012. She loved to travel, and she and her husband traveled to most of the 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, and Caribbean. They had traveled to Australia and New Zealand for their 50th wedding anniversary in 2010. She had also traveled with a group of McCray-Dewey school classmates to Central America, Belize, Honduras, and Cozumel; and traveled with other friends and family to England, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic

and Italy. She was proud of her large family and loved them very much. Along with her parents, and inlaws, John and Irene Grapperhaus of St. Rose, she was preceded in death by her husband on July 12, 2011. She is survived by six children, Laura (Scott) Reilson, of St. Jacob, Daniel (Sandy) Grapperhaus of Collinsville, Dennis Grapperhaus of Troy, Darell (Vickie) Grapperhaus of St. Jacob, Dean and Lori Grapperhaus of Highland, and Dale (Kerri Klausing) Grapperhaus of Troy; 17 grandchildren, Jared (Amanda) Reilson, Maria Ramsey, Jacob, April and Hannah Grapperhaus, Carolyn, Faith and Grace Grapperhaus, Tiffany (Tom) Pieper, Tracy (Kyle) Cauley and Tanya (Rick) Bisso, Erica (Todd) Wainscott, and Clayton, Kelsey, Colton and Caleb Grapperhaus, and Holly Klausing; eight great-grandchildren, Bryn and Claire Reilson, Rilyn Ramsey and Fallyn Frey, Kenley and Kaden Pieper, and Harvey and June Bisso; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Joe and Mary Lou Fischer of St. Rose; sister-in-law Marilyn Grapperhaus of Highland; brother-in-law and sister-inlaw John and Charlene Grapperhaus of Highland; sister-in-law Edna Grapperhaus of Highland; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A special thank you to Karen Schuessler and the entire staff at Morningside of Troy for treating Mae as their own. Your compassion and kindness will not be forgotten. Memorials may be made to St. John The Baptist Chapel, St. John the Baptist Cemetery or the Troy Historical Society. Online expressions of sympathy may be made at www.RichesOnfli.com

Phyllis J. Achterhof Wiersema CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – Phyllis J. Wiersema, 96, passed away peacefully in Crystal River, Florida, on June 21, 2021, surrounded by her children. She was the sixth child born to Jacob Achterhof and Harriet Ostema

Achterhof of Morrison, on Feb. 15, 1925. Phyllis graduated from Morrison High School. On Oct. 17, 1944, she married John R. Wiersema, also of Morrison. The young couple farmed southeast of Morrison for 24 years and raised six children before moving into town. John worked for General Electric for over 24 years, while Phyllis worked for 17 years as a writer and editor for the Sterling Gazette. The couple retired to Port Charlotte, Florida in 1986, where Phyllis researched family genealogy research, writing a book titled Generations for both the Achterhof and Wiersema families, dating to the 1600s in Holland. They enjoyed retirement life for 10 happy years, often travelling to see their children around the country. After John's death in 1997, Phyllis continued to live in Port Charlotte until 2004, when Hurricane Charlie ruined her home. She then moved to Crystal River, Florida near her daughter, Judy Morgan and son Don Wiersema. She was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Crystal River. Survivors include her children, Judith Morgan (Jason) of Lecanto, Florida, Barbara Pickelman of Frisco, Texas, Alan Wiersema (Judith) of Charlestown, Rhode Island, Donald Wiersema (Kathy) of Lecanto, Florida, Gayle Scalise of Newington, Connecticut, and Jean Dolan (Michael), Westlake Village, California; and by her brother, Bernard Achterhof, 98 of Geneseo. She also leaves seven grandchildren, two stepgrandchildren, seven great-grandchildren plus one on the way and four step-greatgrandchildren, along with extended family around the country. Phyllis was preceded in death by her loving husband John of 53 years; her sons-in-law, Anthony Scalise and John Pickelman; sisters, Janet Lartz of Savanna, and Eloise Salminen of St. Paul, Minnesota; and brothers, Raymond Achterhof of Geneseo, and Marvin Achterhof of Brown Deer, Wisconsin.





Smallwood, N'DIGO editor, dies of COVID-19 CHICAGO – David Smallwood, a founding staff member and prominent editor of N'DIGO the Magapaper, died June 11. N'DIGO Publisher Hermene Hartman said Smallwood had contracted COVID-19. As a teenager, Smallwood was mentored by Lu Palmer at the Black XPress and was a clerk at the Chicago Sun-Times. A veteran journalist, he started his career at Jet Magazine as an assistant editor. He was a journalism instructor at Columbia College, associate editor at Dollars and Sense Magazine, and Communications Director at OliveHarvey College. Smallwood was the first person Hartman said she spoke to as she was charting a new newspaper for Chicago's underserved Black community with N'DIGO. He was a contributing writer and eventually became editor, leading the editorial team. He wrote about many successes of interest to the

Black community and beyond, including Black entrepreneurs, entertainers, clergy, politicians, authors and media personalities. "His legacy is impressive,” Hartman David Smallwood said. “He influenced and guided many writers, making them all the better because of his touch. He had his pulse on the heartbeat of Black Chicago. David's work and contribution took N'DIGO to its heights as a newspaper with 625,000 readers at one time, making it the largest circulated African American weekly behind Jet Magazine and the most extensively circulated alternative paper in the city of Chicago.” When N'DIGO ceased printing in 2017, Smallwood became its digital editor. Smallwood co-authored and edited four books: "N'DIGO LEGACY: Black Luxe – 110 African American Icons

of Contemporary History;" DJ Herb Kent "The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent;" Rickey Henton's "Black Enough/White Enough: The Obama Dilemma;" and "Profiles of Great African Americans," with Stan West and Allison Keyes. On his LinkedIn page, Smallwood described himself as an "established print journalist, author, editor, content generator and media consultant in the Chicago area. Of his work he said, "I have well over half a million of my own words in print under my byline in newspapers, magazines and books, and have edited about two million words of other writers that have seen the printed page and appeared online." Smallwood was born Feb. 1, 1955, to Annie Mae Smallwood and Frank Cook. He is a graduate of Dixon Elementary School and Lindblom High School. He was awarded a 4-year National Achievement Scholarship from the Sun-Times

to the University of Illinois, where he received his bachelor’s degree in journalism. Smallwood had a passion for writing. He was also a quiet man who enjoyed reading and writing. On holidays he could be found barbecuing, watching sports on TV and reading the newspaper. "A generation of writers will miss him. He leaves a hole in Chicago's media landscape," Hartman said. "His words were always thoughtful, accurate and mindful. He was a great storyteller, a dedicated journalist. Unfortunately, he suffered from a rare form of cancer, mainly affecting Black males, multiple myeloma, and COVID." Smallwood's first marriage was to Latisha Darey, a union that produced two sons, Christopher and Damon. With his second marriage to Louise Fort, the couple had three daughters, Clarissa, Danielle and Emerin. He is survived by his wife, five children, and 12 grandchildren.

Robert L. Burns

Texas, Diandra Marie (Jeremiah) Werner of Champaign, and Coryn Elizabeth Burns of Chatham; and two grandchildren.

White Hall. She graduated from White Hall High School in 1958. She and her husband, Dale, made their home on what was known as the Walkington farm starting in 1960, raising their five children there and eventually a large daylily garden. She worked as an Editor of the Greenfield Argus and later for the Greene Prairie Press. Kae was proud to have a double DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) heritage through the Dawdy and Garrison lineage. She is survived by five children, Ebert Dale (Joyce) Coates of Greenfield, Bart Andrew (Tina) Coates of Jacksonville, Illinois, Debra Kae Coates of Roodhouse, Dee Anna (Brian) Darr of Carrollton, and Charles Deaton (Jill) Coates of Caseyville.

There are 12 grandchildren, Sean Coates, Jacob Coates, Anna (Eddie) Gansz, Crissi (Nathan) Heckrodt, Shane (Jessica) Darr, Morgan (Hunter) Sutton, Samantha (Justin) Meado, Macy (Brock) Meyer, Madison (Dakota Coffey) Coates, Lila Coates, Charlotte Coates, and Lincoln Coates. There are 14 great-grandchildren; along with two surviving siblings and one sisterin-law, Brenda Baumgartner, David (Yvonne) Dawdy, and Chris (Vaughn) Dawdy. Kae was welcomed to Heaven by her parents; the love of her life, Dale Eugene, who died April 10, 2020; two of her brothers, Vaughn Lee Dawdy and Alan Richard Dawdy; and two grandsons, Noah Howell Coates and Jesse Dale Coates.

CHATHAM – Robert Lee Burns, 66, of Chatham, died Saturday, June 12, 2021, at Memorial Medical Center. He was born Sept. 26, 1954, in Springfield, the son of Harry and Roberta (Hawkins) Burns. He married Marsha Henderson in 1996. Robert had a lengthy career as a sports writer for The State JournalRegister. He was also one of the voices behind WFMB-AM's "Sportswriters on the Radio" and news and sports anchor for WMBD AM-TV. Burns was preceded in death by a son, Marcus Anthony Henderson. Survivors include his wife, Marsha of Chatham; children, James Robert (Renate) Burns of San Antonio,

Kae Coates WHITE HALL – Kae Coates, 81, died Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at home surrounded by her family. She was born Lola Kae Dawdy, but chose to be called Kae. She was born Feb. 18, 1940, in Hillview, the daughter of Cloyd Glenn Dawdy and Virginia Deaton Dawdy. She married Dale Eugene Coates on August 2, 1957. Kae grew up a military "brat", living in different parts of the U.S. in her younger years, but always called Greene County home. The family returned to Hillview, Patterson, and later moved to




Columnist, author, beacon of optimism dies KANKAKEE – Gary W. Moore, a bestselling author and columnist for the Daily Journal, has died following a long battle with Stage 4 stomach cancer. He was 66. In recent years, Moore chronicled his cancer journey through his longtime weekly column called "Positively Speaking," which appeared in more than 60 newspapers worldwide. Moore authored several books, including "Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy" and the forthcoming "Fragrance of Lilacs." Moore was a graduate of VanderCook College of Music. He traveled and performed with artists such as Ray Price and Barbara Mandrel, and toured with the national and world championship Chicago Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps. An entrepreneur, Moore spent most of his adult years working in a variety of business ventures and as the CEO of both public and private companies. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Arlene, and their three grown children.

Final reflections from columnist Gary Moore Editor’s Note: This column from the late Gary Moore was first published in the July 22, 2021, edition of the Kankakee Daily Journal. Dear friends, I've led a blessed and full life, ... a big life. I've been fortunate in more ways than I can count, and I'm grateful for the many ways I've been blessed. I think of you as a beautiful blessing in my life. The privilege to write to you every week has been an honor. So many of you have written me about my columns, and I've been grateful for each word. I've had the privilege to meet some, but for most, our

Nikki Vogel FREEBURG – Nikki Lyn Vogel, nee Abromovich, 72, of Freeburg, passed away peacefully Friday, July 2, 2021, at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in O'Fallon, surrounded by her loving family. Mrs. Vogel was born Sept. 26, 1948, in East St. Louis, the daughter of Nicholas and Betty, nee Walker, Abromovich. She received a commercial art

relationship is through this column. That has not hindered the friendship I feel and my gratitude for you. If you are a regular reader of my column, you know I was diagnosed with Stage 4 gastric cancer in midFebruary 2020 and given 9 to 12 months to live. Along with my Gary Moore incredible oncologist, Dr. Pashtoon M. Kasi, at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, we have fought this cancer with everything we have. It has at times been a fun battle with Dr. Kasi at my side, but as I've written many times before, there are a few diagnoses that a positive fight cannot overcome. It appears my battle with stomach cancer is one of them. So, this is my last letter to you in the form of my column, Positively Speaking. The Daily Journal has always held a special place in my heart. Since my earliest memories in Hillcrest, sitting at my dad's feet after he'd return from work and grab the newspaper. He'd grunt, groan, laugh and comment aloud as he read. Once he laid it down, I'd scour the pages for anything baseball. I loved The Daily Journal back then, and I love it today. It's been one of the only constant things in my life from birth until this moment. The Small family occasionally takes an undeserved beating by a few in our county, but I for one am grateful for their unwavering commitment to our community. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the privilege of serving you and your readers. The fact you believe as I do, that positive, uplifting and encouraging content is important for your community speaks volumes about you.

degree from Southern Illinois UniversityCarbondale, and worked in the advertising department of the Belleville News Democrat, along Nikki Vogel with numerous other businesses in the area. She later earned a degree as a physical therapist assistant and worked in

Thank you for publishing my weekly column, which has grown from its beginnings here to more than 60 weekly publications across the nation. The Daily Journal and Mike Frey believed in me first and I'm grateful. I've penned this column in anticipation of the day I can no longer write to you. I have passed the torch to my son, Toby Moore, a writer, actor, CEO, and now a columnist. Toby has instructions to send this column for publication upon my death. So thank you for reading Positively Speaking. I hope you continue. I pray that my words have made a difference and positively impacted your life. I encourage you to be the light in the darkness. So, here is where it comes to an end. May God bless you and yours. I wish you nothing but happiness and joy. Warmest and kindest regards from your optimistic friend, Gary

A note from Gary's son It is with great sadness that I submit this final column on behalf of my father. He took his final breath at 5:32 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The endless stream of people who visited him, and the tremendous outpouring of support in his final months and weeks was truly awe-inspiring. He died full of light, love, and gratitude. Although he was in great pain, he kept his sense of humor, and he kept his joy. He was a model of how to live and how to die. I will forever try to be like him. I love you, Dad, Toby Moore

that field for 24 years. Mrs. Vogel was an exceptional artist and enjoyed working with stained glass. She also enjoyed music and singing in her spare time. She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Freeburg. She was preceded in death by her parents; and a sister, Ann Marie Walker. Surviving are her loving husband of 45 years, Robert Vogel, with whom she had a very spiritual

connection; two sons, Adam (Tamara) Vogel and Nick (Jennifer) Vogel; four grandchildren, Lochlan, Niven, Clancy, and Layne; a niece, Elaine Kane; two nephews, Andy Abromovich, and Matt Abromovich; and a dear cousin, Sharon Rokita. Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Freeburg. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.