OUR NEW NORMALS
Like many workers in Illinois, newspaper employees are now working from home and reporters and editors are perfecting their Zoom meeting skills. But today, more than ever, newspapers are showing why they are critical to the health of the communities they cover. This first digital only edition of PressLines (Another new normal!) serves to put in a spotlight some of many examples of the great work you all are doing.
This digital-only edition just one of many shifts in IPA's communications strategy
e’re into our third month of having staff at the Illinois Press Association work remotely. It’s gone extremely well as we are just as productive, and it has forced us to communicate more effectively as we have Zoom meetings that have provided a forum for consistent interaction. Granted, there is no substitute for seeing and interacting with staff face to face. But hopefully that will come soon as I miss that personal interaction. But like most of you, we are making the best of this unprecedented situation. This new work environment has made some decisions that we had been contemplating a lot easier to make. In particular, we have made the decision to move PressLines from the traditional print format to an e-edition. Having grown up in a print world and having a production background, it was somewhat of an emotional decision for me as it was for a lot of the staff. We’ve had issues with our printing and mailing schedule, and there is the cost involved. By moving to an e-edition we are able to expand
PressLines’ distribution, and content will be more timely. Many of you might not have even seen the last edition before this one as you were working remotely. You’ve probably noticed that we’ve made a considerable investment into PressLines content in the SAM FISHER past 18 months. PressLines has been enhanced as we are President & CEO focusing our content about our members, as opposed to using content generated by vendors as we had previously done. There is so much to report about what you are doing in Illinois! We’ve noticed that during this pandemic the need for timely communication is critical. In addition to migrating PressLines to a digital edition, we’ve also enhanced our other communications. We have made a commitment in 2020 to
increasing the frequency and quality of content published to the IPA website. Rather than waiting to post all PressLines content to the website after production of the printed product, we have been shifting over the past year-plus to getting news posted to the IPA site as it is ready, regardless of the PressLines schedule. Using a former journalist as a correspondent has also allowed us to provide more interesting and informative content on a timely basis. The number of posts to the site has increased significantly in 2020. During the pandemic, we have added a COVID-19 Resources Page for our members, and a landing page with dozens of examples of ways member news organizations have proven their value to their communities during the crisis. The next commitment is to redesign the IPA website to make it more attractive and user friendly. Just as we have increased the frequency of postings to the IPA website, we have resumed a weekly schedule for our EBulletin email newsletter. Due to lack of content and, more importantly
ILLINOIS PRESSLINES is published bimonthly for $30 per year for Illinois Press Association members by the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703. Jeff Rogers, Editor © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. Volume 26 May/June 2020 Number 3 Date of Issue: 5/15/2020
900 Community Drive Springfield, IL 62703 Ph. 217-241-1300 Fax 217-241-1301 www.illinoispress.org
Scott Stone | Chair Daily Herald Media Group, Arlington Heights
Stefanie Anderson Paddock Publications Inc./Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group
Don Bricker | Vice-Chair Shaw Media, Sterling
David Bauer Hearst Newspapers, Jacksonville
Sue Walker | Treasurer Herald Newspapers, Inc., Chicago Ron Wallace | Immediate Past Chair Quincy Herald-Whig
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Chris Fusco Chicago Sun-Times Darrell Garth Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group
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Margaret Holt Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago Sandy Macfarland Law Bulletin Media, Chicago Jim Slonoff The Hinsdalean, Hinsdale Wendy Martin Mason County Democrat, Havana
Ron Kline, Technology & Online Coordinator Ext. 239 - email@example.com Jeff Rogers, Director of Foundation Ext. 286 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Like you, Capitol News Illinois is adapting he past few months have been as odd and uncertain for our Capitol News Illinois team as it has been for your newspaper’s employ-
ees. Our reporters have all been working from home since early March. Because we normally communicate so frequently via Slack, email and text, it hasn’t seemed too weird – other than our reporters can look out a window while they work. (There are no windows in their office in the Capitol basement.) Coverage, however, has been very different, as you can imagine. Lawmakers have been staying at home, just like you. So, too, have many state workers. Nearly every story since mid-March has dealt either directly or indirectly to COVID-19 impacts. The governor had news conferences for 61 consecutive days before ending weekend pressers earlier this month. So, we’ve had to adjust to a 7-day work schedule during the pandemic. (Yes, yes, I know. Boo hoo!) But we’ve continued to plug away, and you’ve continued publishing CNI content. As of April 28, Capitol News Illinois had been published in 417 Illinois newspapers with a combined circulation of more than 2 million. There had been 26,516 instances of CNI stories being published since we launched nearly 17 months ago. That continued reach helped us significantly in receiving some really fantastic news in late March. Capitol News Illinois would not exist without seed funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foun-
dation. Its generous donation, along with a financial commitment from the Illinois Press Foundation board, gave us more than two years of runway to get CNI off the ground. Now, I’m happy to report, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation has agreed to another two-year grant for Capitol News Illinois! That certainly provides CNI with a firmer fiJEFF ROGERS nancial footing that is proving so elusive to many during these Director of Foundation uncertain times. We’re so proud to have the McCormick Foundation as a partner in this important civics project. We have already had discussions with folks at McCormick about our shared commitment to continuing to reach new audiences and growing our content. Hopefully, there will be more news to share about those efforts soon. Speaking of uncertainty, as we awaited word from the McCormick Foundation on further funding, we withdrew from the Report For America grant, which would have partially funded two new reporters for Capitol News Illinois beginning in June. We didn’t feel comfortable making a financial commitment to the positions at that time, but we continue to talk with people at RFA and hope to work with them in the near future. One of the positions we were going to have through RFA was
SAVE THE DATE!
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staff resources, EBulletin distribution had become infrequent and inconsistent. Having more, better and timely information for the IPA website has allowed us to resume sending EBulletins weekly. We also have been working hard to clean up our email lists to ensure the EBulletin reaches more people at current addresses. Our audience list for the EBulletin has increased from about 450 previously to about 750. Another emphasis in the coming months will be in using the IPA’s
a reporter covering ethnic, minority, rural and distressed communities. We’re still working to create a nearly identical position, so I’ll keep you posted. I welcome any suggestions, and specifically leads, you might have on funding and shaping this beat. We’ve grown CNI’s content a bit already in 2020. We launched the Capitol News Daily email newsletter in January to coincide with the beginning of the legislative session. The newsletter is a recap of the previous day’s CNI coverage. We also include Capitol Cast podcasts and the weekly CNI News Quiz, which was started in February by our reporting intern, Ben Orner, from the Public Affairs Reporting Program at UIS. We also occasionally use the newsletter to direct people to state government coverage that is particularly noteworthy from IPA member newspapers. We also include Better Government Association stories when we distribute those. The newsletter began with about 50 subscribers and has grown to more than 270. So, now we are ready for lawmakers to return to Springfield for their first session days since March 5. The House will meet in the Bank of Springfield Center, the Senate in its chambers, from May 20 to May 22. We and other media outlets will cover most of the proceedings remotely, and also will rely on a small pool of reporters and photographers. Of course, this legislative session will barely resemble “normal” days at the Capitol. But these days we’ll take any sliver of “normal” that we can get!
Facebook and Twitter accounts more frequently and effectively in sharing stories that have been posted to the IPA website and also placing a spotlight on the many good efforts at our member newspapers. We hope you like the increased efforts to spread the good word about the work you and others in our industry are doing. We’ll always take story ideas, of course, and if you ever have any suggestions about other ways we can communicate, please let me know.
The Illinois Press Association/ Foundation Annual Convention and Trade Show will be Oct.22-23, 2020, at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield.
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Our readers need us, and Illinois newspapers are there for them Industry shines amid tension, uncertainty of a national health crisis
s the United States faces the worst public health crisis in a generation, Illinois' newspapers are there for their readers — and with them. Whatever happens, whenever it happens, our local newspapers are there for our readers. We’ll be there to let you know how our community is managing through this crisis — from business to government to the health care system and schools to the drastic impact on individuals and families. And we’ll be there to let our communities know about the good and extraordinary things happening in the midst of this crisis — the person sewing
Lee business grant program draws 80-plus applicants DECATUR – As of May 3, nearly 90 Central Illinois businesses had applied for a marketing grant program announced by Lee Enterprises Inc., parent company of among others the Herald & Review in Decatur and The Pantagraph in Bloomington, to help those impacted by COVID-19. The program provides matching advertising funds worth $250 to $15,000 per month to businesses in May and June for use in Lee print and digital publications. It is available to locally owned and operated businesses in the 77 markets where Lee operates. Visit bit.ly/decaturgrant for more information about the program.
Gannett launches site to help local small businesses Gannett, the owner of USA TODAY and more than 260 daily local media
masks for health workers, the city and nonprofit workers attending to the homeless community, the volunteers bringing food to elderly people who cannot leave their homes, the health workers putting themselves in harm’s way to care for the sick. Amid the sadness and anxiety, there are uplifting moments that remind us of the resilience of the human spirit, and we’ll be there to document those too. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, on more than one occasion during his daily press briefings about the COVID-19 pandemic, has emphasized the importance of newspapers and other media during this health and financial crisis.
properties, has launched a nationwide effort to help communities support local small businesses struggling during the coronavirus crisis. The new website, supportlocal.usatoday.com, allows users to select local businesses in their community to support by buying gift cards for use at a later time. Visitors and business owners can also add local businesses to the platform.
Shaw Media launches grant program for local businesses Shaw Media has announced the launch of a community grant program to help local businesses continue advertising during the challenging times created by the COVID-19 crisis.
"Getting accurate information disseminated and squashing irresponsible rumors is so critically important, as we wage the battle against COVID-19," Pritzker said. "Thank you again to the reporters and the press who are continuing to do this work in such a difficult time and who are making it a priority to get good factual information out to the public." Illinois journalists are working hard to bring the readers vital information to keep their communities connected and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue of PressLines features some of the many examples of why the state's newspapers are more important than ever today.
Nearly 30 Shaw Media publications are participating in this program, jointly allocating up to $1 million in matching advertising credits to assist local businesses. As a family owned business, Shaw Media is committed to supporting local partners and helping them reach customers. To apply for this grant program or to find more information, please visit www.shawmedia.com/community-grant and complete the online application. This program is open to locally owned and operated businesses impacted by the coronavirus. Grant credits are available for a minimum of $200 and a maximum of $10,000 and can be used toward print or digital advertising in their local Shaw Media news products. Grant credits will be awarded in April, May and June and must be used within the month. Completed applications will be reviewed, and a Shaw representative will reach out to confirm approval. Questions regarding this program can be directed to your local Shaw Media publication.
Shaw Media, founded in Dixon in 1851, is a media company with newspapers, magazines, niche publications, websites, and video/digital production services in the Chicago suburbs, Northern Illinois and Iowa. Shaw Media is the third oldest, continuously owned and operated media company in the nation.
Quad Cities newspapers, media 'Unite' to raise funds MOLINE – Media and funders in the Quad Cities united to raise money to support the community's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Unite Quad Cities for COVID-19 Recovery", a 24-hour giving event, was held April 6. All contributions went toward the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund in the Quad Cities Community Foundation. "Unite Quad Cities" was led by iHeart Radio, Quad Cities Community Foundation, The Quad -City Times, Regional Development Authority, Rock Island Argus and Moline Dispatch, Townsquare Media, United Way of the Quad Cities, WIIBF, WQAD and WVIK-Quad Cities NPR. Media partners
Journal-Pilot offers scavenger hunt, 1-year e-edition subscriptions CARTHAGE – The Journal-Pilot created a restaurant scavenger hunt as an incentive for patrons to enjoy takeout, curbside delivery, carry-out and drive-thru services provided by many area establishments. Through April 30, readers who showed proof of purchase with five receipts from any Hancock County restaurant, bar or coffee shop received a free 1-year Journal-Pilot subscription to the e-edition newspaper. If readers were unable to email the receipts, they were encouraged to drop them off at the Hancock County Journal-Pilot office. But they also were urged to respect shelter-in-place mandates and send only one person into the office.
Other initiatives: David and Jennie Porter enjoy a stroll in downtown Lebanon as David covers a car show in 2014, shortly after they purchased the Lebanon Advertiser. (Photo courtesy of David Porter)
‘It was an integrity issue’
The Woodstock Independent has partnered with the local Chamber of Commerce to launch #Woodstock4All. On the webpage, in social media and in print, the Woodstock Independent is publishing news, submitted photos, videos and stories, announcements, and points of pride that bind the community together.
Central Illinois publishers give away papers amid pandemic By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association TUSCOLA – David Porter, publisher of three weekly newspapers in central Illinois, thinks COVID-19 has saddled people with enough pressing decisions at the grocery store. So he was giving away the three papers – the Tuscola Review, the Arcola Herald-Record and the Lebanon Advertiser – for free, at least through the end of April. “If they’re at the grocery store, and times are tight, they don’t have to think about whether they’re going to pay a dollar for the newspaper,” said Porter, who runs the papers along with his wife, Jennie, who’s also a Tuscola kindergarten teacher. Porter also takes a look at his papers and makes an honest assessment. There’s less news to report – and in turn a sudden drop in advertising. That means not only less precious revenue, but less ad content to fill a paper.
“We knew we were going to be struggling for content, and that our papers were going to be smaller,” he said. So he said giving away the paper was the prudent decision. “We were worried people might view the paper as having less value, and that people out of work wouldn’t be able to subscribe to the paper,” he said. “We figured we’d take a little bit of a hit to our business, rather than lose our readership.” The Porters also operate a local print shop and have a weekly webcast they broadcast live on Facebook. “We keep busy,” David Porter said. A chief reason he was able to take a long view was that while the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, he’s faced tough times before. Born and bred in Tuscola, he’s been in the industry full time since 1984 and has owned papers the past six
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The Journal Courier in Jacksonville asks readers to help them find community heroes. The Edwardsville Intelligencer also has Heroes Unmasked features. The News-Gazette in Champaign's health reporter has a regular feature “Ask the Admin”, in which she asks the local health district administrator a daily COVID-19-related question (of her own, and those submitted by readers).
‘It’s a public service’ Papers launch free COVID-19-related news streams, put emphasis on community efforts By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Prudent decisions aren’t limited to washing hands and social distancing. Newspapers across Illinois are launching newsletters, podcasts and other content streams specific to COVID-19, as well as dropping paywalls for content related to the pandemic. “You’re not doing it necessarily for digital traffic,” said Chris Coates, Central Illinois editor for Lee Enterprises. “You’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a public service.” Lee recently rolled out the new initiative #CentralIllinois2Together, a series of stories focused on how the community is banding together during these troubling times. The specifically branded initiative first launched March 25, and Coates and his team discussed going back and retagging and reformatting the stories Lee staff had been writing for weeks that would fall under the umbrella. But he said there are already hundreds of new story angles in the hopper. “My instinct tells me we’ll have enough content,” he said, laughing. He likened the galvanizing human interest stories to investigative reporting. “They’re both a public service,” he said. “We are absolutely watchdogs
and focused on investigations, but we want to show the really good things in our community. That fits in our wheelhouse. And that neighbor spirit we’ve seen over the years, that drives solutions,” Decatur Herald & Review reporter Analisa Trofimuk came up with the idea to do a COVID-19-specific podcast, which was launched in Decatur in mid-March, and then Analisa Trofimuk at the Pantagraph in Bloomington the week of March 23. Trofimuk hosts the Decatur podcast, while Sierra Henry is the public’s touchstone in Bloomington. Lee Enterprises has Sierra Henry been in the podcast game for a few years. Coates said whereas the listenership was lean historically, it’s exploding for the latest features. Newsletters focused on information the public needs launched earlier in March for three of Lee’s Central Illinois properties: the Herald & Review, Pantagraph, and the Journal-Gazette/Times-Courier in Matton-Charleston. All staff are working remotely — standard practice around the state
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Editors and reporters at the Herald & Review in Decatur meet remotely to discuss daily coverage plans recently as they, like newspaper employees statewide, work from home while Illinois is under a stay-athome order because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
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The Belleville News-Democrat has created a COVID-19 specific newsletter. Shaw Media has one, too. So, does the Chicago Sun-Times. The Daily Herald also has a newsletter. Live in Charleston or Mattoon? The Journal Gazette and Times Courier has a newsletter for you. The News-Gazette in Champaign has a coronavirus-specific newsletter. Signup is in the right rail of the website home page.
The Daily Herald includes breaking news alerts with its COVID-19 newsletter subscription. The Chicago Tribune also gets COVID-19 news to you as it's happening. The Cass County Star Gazette shared current e-edition for free during pandemic. The Chicago Sun-Times overhauled its e-edition, specifically because of COVID-19.
since Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order took effect March 21. In Peoria, the Journal-Star began making the transition to working completely remotely 10 days before the edict came down, according to its executive editor, Dennis Anderson. The Journal-Star brass, like those at the Lee properties, have seen great returns on stories simply on the governor’s news conferences. “We have seen a massive growth in Dennis Anderson traffic,” Anderson said. “Our news story on Gov. Pritzker's stay-at-home order generated more than 200,000 pageviews in one afternoon. That's five times our print circulation.” Chris Kaergard is the Journal-Star’s associate editor, in addition to teaching intro to journalism at Bradley University, where he’s advisor of the student newspaper, the Scout. He’s also president of the Illinois College Press Association. From his remote assignment desk, he’s seen the news cycle change dramatically. “It has been a little different because there’s one story that’s taking all the Chris Kaergard oxygen,” he said, “but there is an appetite for stories each day that are not coronavirus-related.” And even within pandemic coverage is an opportunity for levity — such as the March 25 report on the county sheriff’s office cracking down on a porn shop that considered its drive-thru an essential service. “It’s an entertaining time in some ways,” Kaergard
said. “For me, it’s just one new challenge after the next. We’ve had to be adaptable to a lot of things over the years.” “Our staff has covered tornadoes, floods and every other kind of disaster in the past few years,” Anderson said. “This is something totally different because not only are we covering the news and how it affects our community, it is impacting how everyone does their job.” He said between PJStar.com, Facebook and the print edition, multiple call-outs to the public are being done each day. He said the company’s Slack channel has been invaluable in staff communication and organization. Anderson said staff is working a lot of overtime. Sports departments statewide are adapting to help with news coverage. Lee Enterprises had a recent Sunday centerpiece that focused on how the virus is impacting athletes’ futures. “I'm in awe of what the staff is doing in terms of just doing their jobs and how well they are covering our community and how the coronavirus is affecting everyone,” Anderson said. “Every community newsroom is at its best covering local breaking news. But this is different. We are telling a state, national and global news story that is continually evolving. We have to pay attention to everything, react and anticipate. Our staff is doing such a great job and you can tell by our traffic how the community is appreciating their work.” Kaergard said lifting the paywall has given non-subscribers the chance to not only stay informed, but to also see the quality journalism they’ve been missing. “My gut feeling is that with everybody dropping their paywall, you’re bringing in new readers who see we’re doing good work,” he said.
INTEGRITY Continued from Page 5 years after two separate stints as the Illinois Press Association’s marketing and communications director – from 1990 to 1994 and 2006 to 2014. Porter said he added a month to readers’ subscriptions, as well. “I have a problem giving a better deal to new customers than I give to my loyal, existing customers,” he said. And the readers have responded, many taking to social
The Chicago Sun-Times has found an interesting way to promote social distancing to its readers. The Sun-Times unveiled a redesigned masthead that separates its red Chicago flag star from the nameplate. The star now floats above the masthead, at a distance, of course. The mast also includes the tagline, "Be a social distancing star. Stay home, stay safe, stay six feet apart when you must go outside."
media to thank the Porters for the gesture. Jennie said several customers have visited the Arcola office and paid for their subscriptions, which were supposed to be free. “It was an integrity issue,” David said. “I knew we’d be putting some newspapers out that were not as good as we want. It’s good to hear that people are appreciating it. “They know it’s tough for us, too.”
Weekly newspaper group scratching the NCAA itch Journal & Topics builds brackets with stock Pet of the Week submissions By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association DES PLAINES – Apart from pandemic coverage, few coverage topics move the needle like pets. So Tom Wessell, general manager of the Journal & Topics media group
and managing editor of its 16 weekly newspapers, turned the company’s stock Pet of the Week submissions into a bracketed tournament – a la the NCAA Tournament. “People love brackets, they love the tournament, so let’s fill in that gap wherever we can, if we can,” Wessell
said from his office in Des Plaines, where the media group is headquartered. “We thought, ‘What can we do quickly, and what do we already have?’” They had been roundTom Wessell ing up the submissions since September, created a short URL link to a page where readers would vote, and then published the brackets across two pages in the sports section each week.
“We crisscrossed between the two, all with the hopes there would be more eyes on the website, and then more eyes on the paper, as well,” Wessell said. If online visitor metrics are any indication, it’s worked. “We got flooded a couple of weeks ago with people coming to the website,” Wessell said. “Apart from the home page, it was the most-viewed page on our site.”
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Restaurant guides ‘an extra step for the business community’ Rural papers in southern counties help themselves, community with comprehensive sections By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association PINCKNEYVILLE – Restaurants in Perry and Franklin counties didn’t seem to have an appetite to buy an ad in a special section – until the area papers’ publisher talked to a local economic development director. In April, Jeff Egbert, publisher of the Weekly Press and the Franklin County Gazette, lamenJeff Egbert ted restaurants’ hesitancy to get on board with a local guide to Carrie Gilliam, development director for the city of Pinckneyville. Convinced that a comprehensive restaurant guide was a great idea, she said the city would help pick up the
tab. Pinckneyville Economic Development bought ads for every local restaurant – at $60 for a half-page, with the restaurants’ having the option of upgrading to a full page for an extra $35. “This was something I’d wanted to do even before COVID-19,” Egbert said. “We just never had the right opportunity to put it in the schedule and do the work. We decided this would be a good time to make a run at it.” Once the city was on board, the Franklin County Regional Economic Development Corp. bought ads for every restaurant in that county, as well – creating a great problem with a week to produce what was suddenly a 44-page section. Egbert tips his cap to his graphic designers, Amanda Holmes and Paul Lilly, as well as Brianna George, a designer from the County Journal,
a sister paper in Percy, who worked on the guide over a weekend leading up to the April 22 publishing date. “I have to give [George] a shoutout,” he said. “We needed help when we Jerry Reppert found out we’d created our own little monster.” The Gazette-Democrat in Anna also published a similar, 12-page restaurant guide. Egbert said the guide brought in $5,000 in ad revenue, half of which was profit. He said it “helped a lot,” given that he’s lost between $10,000 and $15,000 in ad revenue in the two months since the stay-at-home order came down. “My goal is to get on the other side of this and still have a newspaper,” Egbert said. “We’re scrapping and
clawing to get everything we can, anything we can share with each other, any ideas we can come up with to help keep papers in business another week.” He also said the guide was essential for the community. Typically he refuses to post news online and in social media. “I don’t give away news for free,” he said. “This was different. This was us taking an extra step for the business community, and for our readers.” Jerry Reppert, president of the parent Reppert Publications, also used the guide to remind readers to “pay it forward.” “Most establishments offer gift cards — a wonderful way to show support,” Reppert wrote. “Our sponsors encourage residents to patronize these businesses. For many it might mean survival.”
of Maine West High School girls gymnastics coach Amanda Harrison, took down Rocky. “Every time the vote was up, she was sending it out to her colleagues, friends, her kids,” Martorano said. “She has a wide network of
said it’s helped to have a distraction from the otherwise morbid news cycle. He misses covering live sports and the chance to capture athletes’ raw emotion. “I miss photography especially,” he said. “It’s awesome to get that awesome shot, and to see the way kids react to things.” As a tribute to the graduating seniors, Martorano has been putting together profiles on the athletes. The Journal-Topics has been publishing about three dozen of them each week, and the plan is for them to wrap up when the spring sports season would have ended. Wessell said the content has filled more than 15 pages over the past couple of weeks. Such initiatives are a ripe opportunity to bring in new advertisers and grow existing ones. In fact, Wessell said the paper has been able to replace much of its lost ad revenue, thanks to
ads from municipalities, businesses and groups offering tips, info, and reminders that they’re still doing work during the pandemic. “We’ve done a good job making up for it by thinking outside the box and getting other ads,” he said. Additionally, when 22nd Century Media folded March 31, the Glenview Lantern closed with it. So the Journal-Topics group went from publishing every other week in that community to printing weekly. “In the midst of all this, we’ve actually been able to add more print editions,” Wessell said. “We had an opportunity, and we knew from the onset that if we didn’t take advantage of these opportunities, we might pay for that later – by not being aggressive. “We started all of this with an eye on six months from now, and how we can best serve and grow our readerships.”
BRACKETS Continued from Page 8 One matchup drew nearly 3,000 total votes. “That was a big shock for me,” said sports reporter Dion Martorano, 31. “We were hoping for a couple hundred votes. To see the numbers keep rocketing up, it was like, ‘What’s happening here?” He was in charge of building the brackets, and his mother, Susan Martorano, drew the names out of a hat. “I mean, I don’t want to be biased with this,” he said, laughing. Initially, there were just 26 pets, which would have made for some awkward brackets – think the Big Ten Tournament, with its 14 member schools. So Martorano drummed up some more entries. The last two “teams” in were Sid, a ferret, and Rocky, his brother’s pit bull mix. You know the old saying: Never underestimate the pet of the local gymnastics coach. Sid, property
people.” As of press time, Finnegan Magoo, a black lab mix, had edged Payton Grace, a teddy bear dog, in one Final Four semifinal. Sunny the German shepherd throttled Bassett Hounds Bailey and Bella in the other semi, setting up the championship, for which voting opened the morning of May 4. “Sunny’s been a perennial favorite,” Wessell said. “Real powerhouse.” Leave it to animals to scratch the itch, right? Initiatives like this aren’t just great for the readers. Martorano
Breaking news: Text alert use rises in Mason, Fulton counties By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association HAVANA — The Mason County Democrat and Fulton Democrat newspapers have had the ability to post breaking news and push text alerts for some time. They just didn’t need it until now. Wendy Martin, the owner of the papers and the one-woman band in Mason County said her readers rely on the weekly paper for their news. “Our readership is used to the weekly newspaper rhythm,” she said. The papers have been around since the mid-1800s, after all. Sure, once in a while someone will ask for them to publish more frequently, but no one was breaking down her door for breaking news. That is, until COVID-19 gripped the nation. “Fortunately, it’s been pretty quiet here,” she said, adding that she’s needed to post a breaking news story only every two or three days as the pandemic has gripped Illinois and the nation. It’s usually an update on the number of people who have been tested at the two hospitals in neighboring counties, as well as the results as they come back, of course.
Beyond that, though, she’s not going to share news just to share news and drive traffic. “We didn’t want to be that person who is annoying people every 10 seconds,” she said. “We wanted to make sure what we send out is good, interesting, and for them to Wendy Martin be glad they got it.” As has become standard practice for newspapers in Illinois, the paywall has been lifted for any stories pertaining to COVID-19. Martin said it was a no-brainer to make that information available for subscribers and non-subscribers alike. “We’re going to go out of our way to make sure our readers know what’s going on locally — including people who don’t subscribe to the paper,” she said. When someone tests positive for coronavirus in her coverage area, she’ll share that breaking news immediately, of course. And as negative results come back, she’ll share a brief followed by a more in-depth story in the print edition, and which will be shared in its entirety online. She said among the hot-button topics are telehealth, drive-thru assessments and free lunch
programs for children. Safety is paramount when doing in-person interviews, but including faces and voices in storytelling remains as important as ever. “How are we feeding these children, and who gets to eat?” she said. “You keep your distance, but people are willing to talk to you.” Other compelling recent stories include local police and church groups shopping for the elderly and other members of the community who can’t shop for themselves. No one else can tell those stories, Martin said. She also recently got a call from a reader who wanted to see a map of where people are infected. “They want that visual that shows how close it is to our counties,” she said. “I look at that every day, so of course we’ll publish it.” The text alerts, the breaking news, the bringing down of the paywall — they’re all tools and necessities to employ under such unprecedented circumstances. They do not, however, reflect a paradigm shift. The print product will always be king in Mason and Fulton counties. “The future of newspapers looks different from what I’m doing,” Martin said. “But no one else is going to tell our readers what’s happening here.”
No restaurant left behind: Hancock County paper runs scavenger hunt to help businesses, reward customers By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association CARTHAGE – No Hancock County tablecloth was left unturned when the local weekly newspaper in western Illinois sought out restaurants for its scavenger hunt. Anyone who submits five receipts proving they ordered from local restaurants by the end of May is getting a 1-year subscription to the Journal-Pilot’s e-edition. “It’s tough for these restaurants and businesses,” said managing editor Mark Cox, who said the paper’s owners at West Frankfort-based Commu-
nity Media Group gave its papers carte blanche on serving readership in unique ways. He said April 30 that the paper had already awarded six e-edition subscriptions to contest Mark Cox participants. “They made it clear from Day 1 that this would be tough for everybody, and we need to do whatever we can to help,” Cox said. So he and his sports and sales guy, Keith Yex, burned up the phone lines calling every restaurant in the county and asking whether they’d stay open.
After publishing a restaurant guide with all the current info, they invited readers to open their hearts, wallets and bellies, and order out. “Probably more than a third do not advertise with us at all, but frankly I don’t give a damn,” Cox said. “We wanted them to get business, if at all possible. Hopefully [the restaurants] survive, and hopefully they’ll remember us when we get to the other side of this.” After all, he said the paper has lost half of its advertising revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. That also means losing a lot of space-eating ad content, but Cox has
found solutions. He’s pulled content from the 1918 newspapers showing how families in the area were impacted by, and dealt with, the Spanish flu. “That’s really gotten some people’s attention,” he said. He also added an entertainment section and hired a local writer to fill it up. “I got tired of having COVID-related material all the time, and it’s gone over really well,” Cox said. “We’re trying to give everybody a diversion from COVID, COVID, COVID all the time.”
See SCAVENGER HUNT on Page 11
Ottawa Times carrier spreads positivity, masks
SCAVENGER HUNT Continued from Page 10 Cox, 51, worked in manufacturing many years before taking an early retirement and joining the paper a couple of years ago. He grew up in Hancock County, so the mission of helping keep businesses afloat is a personal one. “The small mom-and-pop shops are the ones we absolutely have to keep alive,” Cox said. “But the owners of these other, bigger business-
es – Dairy Queen, Hardee’s – are people living here and working here, too, and we need to do everything we can to keep them in business.” If readers are unable to email their receipts, they’re encouraged to drop them off at the paper’s office. But they’re urged to respect shelter-inplace mandates and send only one person into the office.
OTTAWA – A carrier for The Times of Ottawa, Jillian Rose, delivered more than just the newspaper on Tuesday – she delivered some masks to customers, as well as some much-needed positivity. Debby Gross went to collect her paper April 28 at her south side Ottawa home when she noticed a bag and piece of paper were attached. Upon unraveling, Gross found a handcrafted mask and a note. "To my wonderful customers," the note read. "I made these face masks to keep you safe and healthy during this time. God bless you and stay safe." Gross said she hadn't spoken to Rose often, besides a passing greeting, but was touched by the gesture. "I just thought that was awesome. Because I don't know how many papers this girl delivers. She's just a young girl and money is tight right now," Gross said. The Times was unaware of Rose's kind gift until readers contacted the newspaper's office to thank her. Rose, 19, said she's been a paper carrier since she was 11 and has come to appreciate and get to know her customers over the years. "I've known most of my customers for over five years, and during this time of the virus, I wanted to help out in any way I could for my town, and my country," she said. She said she prayed to God for a way to help and figured she could put her hand-sewing skills to work by crafting about 40 masks to be distributed to customers. She spoke with those she knew well, and when some said they wouldn't need an extra one, those would be used to double up masks on homes that might need more than one. One person even gave her a tip for presenting the idea, which she put toward buying supplies. She followed guides on YouTube to make the masks
Times newspaper carrier Jillian Rose sews together a mask to give to customers when she delivers their paper. Rose made 40 masks for customers on her route which she distributed April 28 in Ottawa. and hand-stitched each side so they would be more difficult to unravel. "I saw this as a great opportunity to give back to my customers," Rose said. "They've become more than customers. They're really great people." Rain was heavy during Rose's trek through the community delivering papers April 28, but she received many kind compliments from customers. She said she didn't do the act for attention and was worried at first that she may be "overstepping a boundary" because she doesn't know every customer that well, but she was glad to receive the compliments. Rose hopes the pandemic ends quickly, but said if it continues, she hopes to make more masks in June for customers if there's a need. "A lot of them really appreciated it and it was a way of saying to customers how much I appreciate them and how important they are to me," Rose said. "I hope they see that I care about their safety and health."
Coping for cash Carroll County Review asks readers to share how they’re dealing with COVID-19, offers prize By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association THOMSON – The Carroll County Review might be missing a lot of its regular content, including advertisements vital to the weekly paper’s survival. But readers are helping fill the void with best coping practices amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Owner Jon Whitney got the idea from a conversation thread with the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors to run a contest, in which readers submit photos and descriptions of how they’re getting by during these days of quarantine. “It was a cute idea, and we’ve had some fun with it,” Whitney said. “I think people are enjoying it.” They’ve filled four pages with the content, which has included activities from fishing and fixing up farm equipment to creating breathtaking chalk art. Some usual suspects are in the mix – reading, watching TV, and
the timeless activity of standing along the road and encouraging truck drivers to blast their horns. A March snowfall led to a Genoa reader sending a picture of a dapper-looking snowman reading the Review. You read that right. Genoa. You know, the city nearly 100 miles east of the Review’s office in Thomson. Whitney has also received a submission from Byron, which more or less splits the difference in distance between Thomson and Genoa. When restrictions are eventually lifted, readers will vote for their favorite submission, and that person will get $130. The prize used to be $100, but one reader chipped in an extra $30 when they sent their subscription renewal check. Whitney said submissions keep rolling in, which is nice considering he had no idea what to expect. “I don’t know what I wanted, but we’ve been able to fill pages with it,” he said.
This photo of a snowman reading a Carroll County Review is one of the many photos the newspaper's readers have submitted for publication that show how they are spending their time staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo submitted by Carroll County Review)
The Chicago Sun-Times has a catchall data page, including cases, deaths and a live map. The Belleville News-Democrat’s database features all details released by the health department on cases and deaths. The Chicago Tribune tracks the pandemic by ZIP Code. The Chicago Tribune also tracks deaths, cases and tests. Illinois Times has a COVID-19 “guide.” Illinois Times also has “Coronavirus Chronicles.” The Journal Gazette and Times Courier in Charleston and Mattoon also have a comprehensive COVID-19 resources page. The Macoupin County Enquirer-Democrat builds and sells a page of “hero” nurses. During coronavirus, the Herald & Review in Decatur is featuring a different teacher each week who has created a fun and educational activity kids can do at home. The Elmhurst Independent partners with the city on the #ElmhurstStaysHome initiative, as well as Community Bingo. The Independent is publishing the submissions as they come in. They also publish a list each week of which businesses are still open, as well as a list of which restaurants and bars are offering which services (curbside pickup, etc.) Hyde Park Herald asks which local groups and agencies readers can donate to, and builds a catch-all page.
Veteran Harold Maples is pictured placing U.S. flags around the World War I cannon on the Oakland square.
Being there: Board game invites readers to visit local sites Small-town newspaper editor creates ‘A Walk Through Oakland’ By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association OAKLAND – Residents of this sleepy town have undoubtedly walked past the World War I cannon on the Oakland square, numerous times. But did they ever stop to appreciate the town’s oldest home? The log cabin, a stone’s throw away from the cannon off the northwest corner of the square, has been there since 1838. Janice Hunt has been there. Many times. So early in the stay-at-home order, the owner and one-woman band at the Oakland Independent put together and published a board game that both educates those who haven’t
stopped to take pictures, and gives the fewer than 900 residents a lift when they need it most. “I hoped it would not only give people something they could do at home, but then when the sun comes out, they could actually get out to see these things,” said Hunt, 44, a seventh-generation Oakland resident. “I’m very steeped in Oakland history. I know the town like the back of my hand, so I could do this walk through town in my head.” But it’s the subtle touches in each space of the board that remind small-town residents why they chose their homes, and make big-city folks long for a quiet reprieve from the rat race.
See BOARD GAME on Page 14
BOARD GAME Continued from Page 13 Pick up sticks in someone’s yard? Move ahead three spaces. Mail a nice card to someone? Move ahead two. Conversely, don’t forget to wave at that person driving by. If you forget, you move back five spaces. The concept is simple. Each player rolls a die, then follows the instructions in the space where they land. Along the winding path are ads from local sponsors, including longtime partner Birkey’s Farm store, where office manager Kathy Pardi keeps things humming. She’s also president of Oakland Landmarks, which oversees many of the timeless historic sites in the game. “Landmarks are a real key part of the story of our community,” said Kathy Pardi, president of Oakland Landmarks. “So many people either don’t know the story, or they just know tidbits.” She’s sewn more than 600 masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it brings her joy to see them out and about. “Nobody has any time to do anything,” Pardi said. “This has been a
welcome slowdown for us. We always search long and hard for something that takes us away from home. Well, this is a little trip we can take away from home. I thought it was an amazing idea.” Hunt said she sold the ads at the normal rate. After all, this is very personal for her. She initially worked as an intern and then a reporter at the Journal Gazette & Times Courier in Charleston, about a 20-minute drive from Oakland, after earning her degree from Eastern Illinois University. She said she “went to the dark side” by working in public relations at EIU for about 8 ½ years, before a fortuitous turn of events led her to buy the Independent in June 2013. “I asked the owner (Pam Hudson) if she’d ever thought about selling it, and she told me she had decided at noon that day, at lunch with her husband that she was going to sell it,” Hunt said. “It was always kind of my dream to come back and own this paper.”
See BOARD GAME on Page 15
Janice Hunt is shown with her nephew and niece, Ramsey and Kaylenn, after they won several medals at the 2019 Illinois Top Times meet, the indoor version of the state track meet held at Illinois Wesleyan University.
BOARD GAME Continued from Page 14 She uses a couple of stringers for sports, but apart from that she does it all herself. Well, apart from a crucial volunteer. Her mother, Bev Hunt, is her proofreader – “and she does a wonderful job,” Hunt said – and she also goes in on Wednesdays to help stick the mailing labels on the papers. Her heart breaks for the children whose school years came to an abrupt end – especially the seniors, who won’t get to walk across a stage at graduation, and many of whom won’t get to celebrate after a last forensics meet, or stand on the podium at the state track meet right down the highway at EIU. There’s no telling how many medals would have been hung around the necks of her nephew and niece, Ramsey and Kaylenn. Ramsey, a senior The lion water fountain at left roars in the direction of the Columbian Building (with the turret). This brick at Oakland High School, won a gold street – the south side of the city square – used to be the site of horse and pony shows. All are mentioned in the triple-jump last year, among other medals. Kaylenn, a junior who in the game.
has committed to play volleyball at Bradley University, also brought home medals last year. She was on the Titans girls basketball team that took third at state this spring – right at the buzzer, before schools were closed as part of the stay-at-home order. “Everyone has some way this is hitting them, and it’s heartbreaking,” Hunt said. “So I was just trying to think of some way to give kids and families something to do together.” If they get far enough into the game, one space in particular will give children and their families a chance to bask in a memory and look forward to the future, even if it’s an unpredictable one. “You stop to look at the baseball diamond and swimming pool and smile, remembering fun summer days.” Don’t move forward any spaces. Don’t move back. Just be there, the game says.
Calling an audible: Small-town paper overhauls sports preview to honor seniors By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association SIDELL – Rinda Maddox says she doesn’t know sports, but the owner and editor of the Sidell Reporter sure knows how to hit a buzzer-beater. She said she was “just about finished” laying out the spring sports previous Friday, March 13, when Gov. JB Pritzker announced schools would close through the month. She put the project on hold until April 1. “We pretty much knew spring sports were over, but I wanted to wait until it was officially announced,” said Maddox, who is more or less an editorial department of one. The spring sports season cancellation finally came down in mid-April, and Maddox called an audible: The three-page special section would be
overhauled as a tribute to 13 graduating Salt Fork High School student-athletes. “It’s sure not going to make up for what they lost out on, but at least they’ll have something to put in their scrapbook, and something to help them remember,” she said. The Storm boys won the team track and field title in Class 1A last year. “We would have been going to state again on track, so it’s heartbreaking,” Maddox said. Perry Dable is Maddox’s only stringer – a local insurance salesman and former newspaper editor who tackles all of Maddox’s sports stories. He scrapped his three previews and started from scratch. “Sports is the one aspect I’m lousy at,” Maddox said May 8 from her office, laughing. “I’ll spend two hours writing a short basketball story trying to
make it sound right with the sports language.” Maddox said once she shifted gears, all the section’s longtime sponsors were contacted for approval. “We didn’t just surprise them with a bill in the mail, especially if they felt they couldn’t afford it, or that they didn’t want to go forward with it,” she said. Salvaging that ad revenue was vital, she said. She also added a regular puzzle page with activities for readers young and old, and landed three sponsors for that feature. Maddox said when the stay-at-home order came down, she was “losing advertisers left and right.” “We were facing a pretty scary future,” she said.
See SPORTS PREVIEW on Page 17
Filling the sports void with food While the games are off, local media members take part in Decatur Food Draft By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association DECATUR — A dozen local sports and food buffs have found a unique way to drive business to local restaurants starved for revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 11, media members, coaches, an athletic trainer, a professor and a principal in the Decatur area got together via Zoom to draft their favorite food items from local restaurants. Locals are competing for a $100 gift card — from the team owners’ coffers — by eating as many of the 120 items on those 10-”player” rosters as they can. But not before they take a picture and tweet it with the hashtag #DecaturFoodDraft to Aric Lee, NowDecatur’s play-by-play man, who Aric Lee cooked up the idea for the initiative. “We can talk about the NCAA Tournament, Bears, Cubs-Cardinals, but we’ll get the biggest response when we debate frozen pizza,” Lee said. “Everybody loves to talk about food.” “The whole goal is to get people supporting local restaurants,” said Justin Conn, sports editor for Lee Enterprises’ newspapers in Decatur, Bloomington and Mattoon. “It’s a supportJustin Conn ive thing, but there’s definitely a competitive side. There’s a lot of personalities in the league.” And they’re all going to be very well-fed over the next few weeks. “We’ve got a lot of offensive linemen in this thing,” Lee said. “We
ABOVE: Decatur Eisenhower High School baseball coach Kevin Hale weighs in during the Decatur Food Draft online April 11 between local media members, coaches, an athletic trainer, a professor and a principal. BELOW: WAND sports anchor Mark Pearson has one of many laughs during the draft. have a few guys who’ll protect the little guys.” A few days into the competition, Lee said the tweets are pouring in — including many from the league’s managers. “A couple of these guys already had two items by Easter,” Lee said. Born and bred in Decatur, he said this is personal. Amid the league rules — “We tried to keep it as simple as possible,” Lee said — is that each team must feature a restaurant that isn’t operating during the pandemic, to keep the buzz going for restaurant owners who are unsure if and when they’ll be able to reopen. While the draft results are a great
See FOOD on Page 17
FOOD Continued from Page 16 road map for participants, they can go off the menu. Any item ordered from a local restaurant is eligible. The league will continue until a manager has eaten all 10 items on his list, or until May 31 — whichever comes first. “Once I get to seven or eight items, I plan to hit the brakes,” Lee said. “We want to keep this going until [restaurant owners] see the light at the end of the tunnel, and places are starting to reopen.” He said some of the managers have taken a pay cut or been laid off altogether, “and they’re still doing this. That says a lot about Decatur.” Conn was shocked that the Krekel's Burger didn’t go first overall. “The Krekel’s Burger was definitely the Ladainian Tomlinson of the draft,” he said. Decatur Eisenhower baseball coach Kevin Hale plucked it second overall after Herald & Review sportswriter Joey Wagner took a flyer on Mama Chan’s Chicken-on-a-stick. “That was like going with a player from the MAC (Mid-American Conference) with the first pick of the NFL Draft,” Gordon Voit of WAND-TV sports fame said during the live draft. He’d catch his own flak soon enough, when he drafted the brisket platter from permanently defunct Baloo’s BBQ in the first round. “He’s new to the area, but he’s not that new,” Lee said. Back to that burger, though, made legendary by the Krekel’s Custard local chain.
“Krekel’s probably had to be the one or two pick in this draft, because it’s just so good, right?” Dustin Fink, athletic trainer at Mt. Zion High School, said during the draft. “Iconic. Iconic,” Hale said. “It says Decatur.” No debate there, apparently. Things were a bit murkier when Tim Cain, the Herald & Review’s engagement editor, took the ham and cheese from LaGondola Spaghetti House third overall. Tim Cain Did that rule out all the torpedoes on the menu? “It’s just the ham and cheese,” Cain said after making the selection. “I think that eliminates all torpedoes, unfortunately,” Fink interjected. “I think it needs to be a torpedo, because we need to spread the love to other restaurants. I think the torpedo was probably the number one draft pick overall, so it fell to number three. I think Tim did a nice job picking it there.” “That torpedo was highly undervalued,” Voit said. “Ran a 4.2 in the combine.” Conn said food has a way of comforting, providing a sense of normalcy during such abnormal times. He also said the league has him eating from restaurants he otherwise might not have checked out. “I’m trying to stick to things on my list, but my kid and wife have their say in it, too,” he said.
A Herald & Review in Decatur sports reporter watches classic games with coach and athletes. The Hyde Park Herald has a live page of who’s open, who’s not. The Journal Courier in Jacksonville has a live list of restaurants and specific services (delivery, curbside pickup, etc.). The Journal Courier also has a live list of closings and cancellations.
The Chicago Tribune writes feature obituaries of the region's coronavirus victims.
SPORTS PREVIEW Continued from Page 15 She was also worried about how she’d fill the paper – a concern that proved unwarranted. Apart from coverage of COVID-19 itself, stories on the community pulling together, teachers innovating from home and more abounded. “Most weeks, we’ve been filling up two more pages than we really can afford, because of everything that’s
going on in the community – stories I couldn’t have foreseen,” she said. Ad revenue was down in April. Maddox at least has sponsors lined up for the puzzle page into June, but the rest of the picture is equal parts murky and worrisome. “For at the end of May, I’m terrified,” she said, adding that April and May are the paper’s biggest months
for advertising. Further down the calendar are canceled festivals, along with a lot of lost advertisements for them. “We usually struggle in June and July even having those festivals,” she said. Maddox said she’d like to see the downstate economy reopened faster. “I think it’s time that they start
letting things get back to more normal,” she said. “The rules in Chicago should not apply to our community of 600 people. I’m frustrated that our governor doesn’t seem to be able to look beyond what’s happening in Chicago. “But that’s been the case in Illinois for a long time.”
College journalists get crash course Students spend spring break, then rest of semester reporting on COVID-19, shifting to online-only format By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Student journalists were as blindsided by COVID-19 as any of us. College newspapers around the state had cranked out print editions the first week of March and were buttoning up academic tasks while packing for spring break. That spring break was extended a week. Students and staff were then ordered to leave campus. “Things were getting pretty weird,” said Eric Fidler, adviser of the four-member Daily Egyptian staff at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He’d just returned from vacation as the situation was escalating. “We had a week to lurch into online-only. And it was compounded. One of my standard lines is if sources don’t call you back, go to their office. You can’t do that now. It was suddenly a whole new landscape.”
The Student Union at Bradley University is empty and quiet as the school's Peoria campus, like all others throughout Illinois, has gone silent during the coronavirus outbreak. The Bradley Scout student newspaper, also like others, has gone to an online-only publication while students stay at home.
‘They were already reeling’
Sudden death of the print product In Peoria, Bradley University students didn’t know that as they were laying out the March 6 edition of The Scout, it would be the last one for their scrapbooks. “It’s very, very emotional,” said Editor-in-Chief Tony Xu, a senior who’s worked for the paper since his freshman year. “Me personally, I wanted to have a full archive and bind it into books.” The plan was to still publish the March 20 print edition - until campus was evacuated. Perhaps because they didn’t have time to grieve, the staff dived headfirst into covering the biggest story on the planet.
News Editor Haley Johnson secured an interview with a Bradley student studying in Korea. Interviews were also streamed with students in multiple locations of Italy. Johnson wrote about two engineering majors and an alumnus who were put under 15-day quarantine while traveling in Peru. “That really hammers it home,” Kaergard said. “These are kids they know and they hang out with, who are living it overseas.” The Scout was already in the process of moving to an online-only format over the next few years. “This is just encouraging them to test-run those adaptations even sooner,” Kaergard said. “They’re adapting to meet the industry where it’s going.”
“They jumped right in and were developing plans the same way we were at the professional level,” said the paper’s adviser, Chris Kaergard, who in addition to being the president of
the Illinois College Press Association is also associate editor at the Journal Star in Peoria. “It was nice to see their neurons firing the same way we’re making the adaptation.”
At Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Alestle staffers were still processing the news that came out just before Thanksgiving. Administration was relocating the paper from its offices to a space about one-quarter of the size. “We were all going Madison Lammert through the stress of that,” Program Director Tammy Merrett said. “It was like a punch in the gut. Why would they do that to us? Well, we’re kind of a thorn in their side - which means we’re doing our job.” Compounding matters, the Alestle’s managing editor-in-chief, Madison Lammert, and managing
See COLLEGE on Page 19
'Almost like the second time I’ve gone through COVID-19' But Bradley student editor Tony Xu stays calm at the remote helm of The Scout By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association PEORIA - Tony Xu stepped off the airplane in Chicago and immediately got a push alert from the Centers for Disease Control. The Bradley University senior was returning to the U.S. after the holiday break. He was among the first to fly out of China who wasn’t subjected to additional screening, as the novel coronavirus spread like wildfire in his home country of China. “This is almost like the second time I’ve gone through COVID-19,” he said. This time around, he’s directing coverage as the editor-in-chief for Bradley’s student newspaper, The Scout. This time around, his mother, Zheng Xuehua, and father, Xu Yongxiang, are safe and sound as life in China starts to resemble normal. “It’s recovering,” Xu said. “Thankfully everyone in my family, relatives and friends back home, I don’t think anyone I know of contracted the virus. My mom called me this morning, for the seventh
time this week.” In mid-January, he learned quickly how fast the virus is spread. Because the virus hadn’t yet reached his hometown of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, he managed to stay calm. He continued to keep his cool as it spread, and his family was Tammy Merrett ordered to remain in their home. “Maybe that’s the journalistic side of me,” he said. “I kind of numb myself from panicking in that sort of situation.”
Nerd in training As a freshman, Xu needed a job, and he landed one as graphic editor at The Scout. He started writing occasionally, but the last thing he expected was to be asked to take the reins as editor-in-chief his junior year. He wanted the gig, of course. “I’m also thinking, ‘I have the worst English on staff,’” he said, laughing. “Not to say I don’t want the job, but you’re asking me to be the editor of an
English paper. I never prided myself as a writer or an editor.” He took to the role like a fish to water, and he makes it abundantly clear his parents’ names should be formatted last name first, first name last. “Now I’m a journalism nerd,” he said. “My staff hates when I cite the AP Stylebook.” When the virus arrived in America, Xu knew it well. “I’m very fearful of it spreading to everyone,” he said. “A large part of the population still believe today it’s a stronger version of the flu. It’s lethal. People can die from this.” So he was on the proverbial balls of his feet as spring break was extended a week, and as students were told to leave campus. “His organizational scheme and his planning for all of this, he’s taken the lead,” said Chris Kaergard, an editor at The Journal Star in Peoria who also is adviser to The Scout and president of the Illinois College Press Association.
See XU on Page 20
COLLEGE Continued from Page 18 editor, Jennifer Goeckner, had just been thrust into their roles last summer when the editor-in-chief resigned abruptly. The wide-eyed leaders stepped up, and their staff dug in - while technically on spring break. Jennifer Goeckner “They both rose to the occasion and have been doing a great job - especially with some rebuilding of staff morale and quality of work,” Merrett said. One particular topic The Alestle tackled was wording in emails sent by the university to its students and staff. In one, the subject line read “Extended Spring Break,” while the body of the email stated “This is not an extended Spring Break” and vaguely told students that while
faculty were not to administer tests or enforce deadlines, students were to continue their academic pursuits. Many professors gave tests. Students Tammy Merrett were confounded and panicking during a time already peppered with anxiety. “People got freaked out on campus because of the email — is this an extended spring break, or isn’t it?” Merrett said. “Our staff was motivated by that.” She said it took administration about three days to discuss and clarify the policy.
Small but mighty The Scout and Alestle boast a cou-
ple of dozen members of their staff. In Carbondale, the staff became four when two reporters joined the staff right before spring break. Fidler said two staffers are doing virtually all the heavy lifting. Junior Kallie Cox has been writing at least a story a day — consistently texting Fidler with story ideas. “She’s been doing great,” he said. “It’s a lot of pressure. It’s one story, but you’re covering the biggest story in the world. You’re trying to get the angle that’s most important to the community.” Cox wrote about 3,500 students who have signed a petition for pass/ fail options. She worked on a twopart series about how student service workers are holding up, given their impossible job of keeping students and their families informed and as calm as possible.
“Kallie always wants to do everything,” Fidler said. Editor-in-Chief Rana Schenke, a junior fashion design major, is at the controls and a calming influence in the storm. “She’s extremely well-organized,” Fidler said. “If anyone would be good at coordinating this sort of thing, she’s the one.” Students are gassed. Many of them are green. And they’re still fighting the good fight, Fidler said. “I’m impressed they can even write a story at this point,” he said. There are silver linings. “They’re really rising to the occasion,” Merrett said, “and they’re getting a lot of experience they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. I’m proud of the work they’re doing, and I tell them that pretty much every day.”
20 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
XU Continued from Page 19 Xu held a conference call with his section editors after he’d drawn up a game plan with the top editors. “I was more of a fly on the wall than a contributor to that meeting,” Kaergard said. Google Drive became the new filing desk. Spreadsheets were built to keep track of who on his staff of more than two dozen was doing what. Zoom meetings became the new normal. “This has changed every single aspect of the operation completely,” Xu said.
“We’re all very disappointed that we won’t be able to work in the same newsroom the remainder of the semester,” Xu said. “And we’re all trying to cope with the situation.”
‘Behind everything, there’s a human being’
‘I’m sitting on my couch’ Xu works long shifts - comfortably for a bit, then quite uncomfortably. “I’m sitting on my couch eight hours a day,” he said. “I wish I had movement, in that regard.” He’s careful not to complain, as he knows how exhausted his staff is. They’d just completed the dead sprint of finishing off academic demands leading up to spring break - only to be called upon regularly during spring break. “You have to kind of be on call,” Xu said. “When news breaks, you have to start typing. My staff overall are kind
Students on the staff of the Bradley Scout newspaper pose with awards won in this year's Illinois College Press Association contest. Pictured are: (front, from left) Tony Xu (editor-in-chief), Erin Martiens (design editor), Blake McBride (assistant voice editor), Veronica Blascoe (copy editor), Anthony Landahl (managing editor); and (back, from left) Ronan Khalsa (sports editor), Jade Sewell (voice editor), Hernan Gutierrez (sports reporter), Haley Johnson (news editor), and Angeline Schmelzer (assistant news editor). of tired, from that aspect. It’s a lot to ask from them.” So he does what any compassionate human being and many editors do. “Sometimes the easiest way is for me to write the story, and for them to add to it and edit it,” Xu said. “Because English is my second language, I need some copy editing
from my staff.” He was heartbroken when the news came down that the March 6 edition of The Scout was the last one that would be printed - after all, no one was on campus to pick it up. More so, he was hit hard by the realization he wouldn’t return to the trenches with his colleagues.
Xu is majoring in advertising and recently landed a marketing internship at a law firm in Washington, D.C. A citizen of China, he’s applied to work in that role for a year, at which point he hopes to have decided whether to get his master’s degree in law, advertising or journalism - or some hybrid. “That’s very intriguing to me, because journalism and law are so related, and I’d have that skill set,” he said. Bradley doesn’t offer any of those graduate programs, but a piece of his heart will stay in The Scout offices. “To me, Scout is one of the best experiences I’ve had at Bradley, if not the most important one,” he said. “Not just as a journalist, but as a human being. Behind everything, there’s a human being.”
AROUND THE STATE
Swinford Media rolling out a daily news show MARION – The Swinford Media Group has combined its newsroom and broadcasting team to produce a daily news show called "The Marion Star Live." The new broadcast didn’t change the print product. Managing Editor and General Manager Riley Swinford anchors the livecasts with contributions from his team of reporters. A print journalist first, Riley was a radio/TV minor while earning his bachelor’s degree in journalism at Southern
Illinois University-Carbondale. In April 2018, "Editor and Publisher" magazine named Riley one of its "25 Top Journalists Under the Age of 35."
His son, Arlo, has been the face of The Shopper for many years, and will continue to run Excel Printing and Mailing at the same location at 924 E. 162nd St. in South Holland.
The Shopper in South Holland under new ownership Local printing for Rockford, SOUTH HOLLAND – Erica Wolak Freeport papers ends and Erin Nauta bought The Shopper in South Holland on May 1 from Arlo and Dan Kallemeyn. Wolak has been production editor at the 63-year-old newspaper since 2017. Founded in 1957 by Alonzo Kallemeyn, The Shopper was run by his family up until this year.
ROCKFORD – When the last copy of the Rockford Register Star rolled off the press early morning April 13, an era came to an end. For the first time in 165 years, the Register Star or one of its forebears won't be printed in Rockford. Gan-
nett, owner of the Register Star, is moving printing and production operations to Milwaukee, where the Rockford paper and The Journal-Standard of Freeport will be printed, along with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other Wisconsin newspapers. Rockford will still have its daily newspaper. The journalists who produce stories for the print edition and for rrstar.com will remain in Rockford. However, 49 people were laid off, including 23 full-time production employees. Many have worked for more than two decades in downtown Rockford.
AROUND THE STATE
Ashton Gazette staff merges into main Rochelle location ASHTON – The Ashton Gazette, which has been published more than 100 years, moved May 1 into News Media Corporation’s office in Rochelle, citing rising publication costs and tightening advertising budgets. The Gazette kept its phone number and its P.O. Box number with the local post office, but moved its operations from 813 Main St. in Ashton to 211 Hwy. 38 E. in Rochelle.
Growing Community Media receives PPP loan OAK PARK – Growing Community Media, the nonprofit entity that publishes the Austin Weekly News and three other community newspapers, has received a loan from the U.S. government's Paycheck Protection Program. PPP is an initiative aimed at supporting small businesses and their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic shutdown which has resulted. The loan amount is $242,500, an amount calculated based on GCM's payroll. The loan was made through Byline
Bank. Under terms of the federal program, portions of the loan used to fund payroll, rent and utilities over the next 60 days can be forgiven. The balance of the loan will have to repaid over time at a 1 percent interest rate.
Changes to distribution for Hyde Park Herald CHICAGO – Because the coronavirus has closed many stores that serve as distribution points for newspapers and compromised printing operations, the Hyde Park Herald’s delivery schedule has been adjusted. To give the post office and the printer the time needed, the Herald will arrive every Thursday, rather than Wednesday. Additionally, the paper will be sold only at the Walgreens at 55th and 47th and at CVS on 53rd, as they are now. The Herald is increasing its daily online coverage, according to management.
Lee furloughs employees DAVENPORT – Quad City-area newspapers will furlough employees or cut pay in response to a drop in advertising revenue, as newspapers across the country trim costs amid
the coronavirus outbreak. Kevin Mowbray, president and CEO of parent company Lee Enterprises Inc., parent company of the Quad City Times, Dispatch-Argus and Muscatine Mowbray Journal, told employees they would either be furloughed for two weeks in the third quarter, or see their salaries cut by the equivalent – about 4 percent. Lee executives, he said, will take a 20 percent pay cut.
Pandemic prompts changes in days News-Herald publishes LITCHFIELD – Because of the impact of COVID-19, the daily newspaper in Litchfield, the News-Herald, has reduced its print and delivery to every Tuesday and Friday. Some adjustments to subscribers' accounts will be made, according to a news release, which says that because of the stay-at-home order, the newspaper has lost advertising revenue from businesses impacted by the pandemic.
News-Progress in Sullivan has new owners SULLIVAN - After 59 years, the News-Progress has new owners. Bob and Kathy Best recently sold
the paper their family has owned since 1961 to Paddock Publications, an employee-owned newspaper company based in Arlington Heights. The News-Progress, which can trace its roots back to 1857, will continue doing business out of its offices at 100 W. Monroe in Sullivan. Mike Brothers, Barry Morgan and Rachael Van Dyke are staying with the new ownership. Bob Best, who has managed the operations of the paper since his father's death, will help with the transition for a few weeks, but then head off for new ventures.
New Berlin Bee, Pleasant Plains Press to cease publication NEW BERLIN – As of July 1, South County Publications will cease publication of the New Berlin Bee and Pleasant Plains Press. According to Joe Michelich, publisher and editor of the Bee and Press, the decision was made before the pandemic, although that exacerbated existing revenue issues. He said neither the Bee nor Press have been profitable for the past few years. All subscriptions for the Bee or Press that have been paid beyond July 1 will be refunded.
Veteran journalist succeeds longtime editor in Danville DANVILLE – Max Jones, an accomplished Indiana journalist, has been appointed editor of the Commercial-News in an expanded role that will also see him continue as editor of the Terre Haute, Indiana, Tribune-Star. Jones succeeds Larry Smith, the longtime Commercial-News editor who retired from the paper in April. According to his LinkedIn page, Smith has been the Commer-
cial-News’ editor since 1999, after serving as city editor for 10 years, from January 1989 to April 1999. Before his time with the Commercial-News, Smith was editor of the Max Jones Daily Tribune in Peru, Indiana, for more than two years, following three years as a reporter at the Muncie Star and four years as editor of The News & Sun in Dunkirk, Indiana. A Dunkirk High School graduate, Smith received his bachelor’s degree
in 1980 from Ball State University, according to his LinkedIn page. It shows he is on the administrative team at the CRIS Healthy-Aging Center in Danville. Jones has served Larry Smith as editor of the Tribune-Star for the past 20 years, after stints at the paper as editorial page editor and city editor. He previously served as editor of the Sullivan (Indiana) Times. He is a journalism graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington, and has
served in several leadership roles for Indiana newspaper organizations. Jones is a charter member and past president of the Indiana Debate Commission, an independent group that conducts debates between candidates for major statewide political offices. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star and Danville Commercial-News are both owned by CNHI, LLC. Jones said with today's technology he can participate daily in the oversight of both papers, and will split his personal time between them.
22 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
AROUND THE STATE
22nd Century Media folds amid coronavirus ad drought CHICAGO – Days after suspending print publication of its suburban Chicago newspaper chain, 22nd Century Media ceased operations March 31. The end was sudden and the downfall swift, as businesses closed shop and advertising dried up, cutting off the key revenue stream for the weekly newspapers: advertising. The decision ends a 15-year run for the hyperlocal publisher, whose 14 Chicago-area weeklies ranged from the north suburban Highland Park Landmark and Northbrook Tower to the Orland Park Prairie and Lockport Legend in the southwest suburbs. The newspaper chain had about 50 employees. Jack Ryan, the former investment banker and Republican U.S. Senate candidate who ran against Barack Obama in 2004, founded 22nd Century media the following year. The portfolio grew from one local newspaper – the Homer Horizon – to 15 titles.
Gannett implements cuts, suspends dividend ROCKFORD – Gannett, the owner of the Rockford Register Star, Journal Star of Peoria, State Journal-Register of Springfield, USA Today and more than 260 other daily publications, is suspending its dividend and implementing a variety of cost cuts to shore up its finances as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the economy. The media giant announced the moves April 1 in a news release, saying it is taking steps to navigate the financial disruption from COVID-19, which has led clients to reduce their spending on advertising and events. Gannett last paid investors a quarterly dividend of 38 cents per share on Nov. 12, 2019. The company said
its board of directors is committed to reinstituting a quarterly dividend when it is appropriate to do so. Gannett said it plans to implement $100 million to $125 million in cost cuts in addition to previously planned reductions tied to the merger of New Media Investment Group and the "old" Gannett, which formed the "new" Gannett when the deal was closed in November. The fresh round of cuts includes furloughs, job cuts, pay cuts for senior managers and the cancellation of nonessential travel and spending. Many other news outlets have reportedly taken similar steps in recent weeks. Gannett's publications include the Arizona Republic, Detroit Free Press, Columbus Dispatch, Austin AmericanStatesman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and hundreds of other daily and weekly news properties. It also provides marketing services to business clients.
Tribune Publishing announces furloughs as ad revenue dips CHICAGO – Chicago-based newspaper chain Tribune Publishing announced companywide furloughs April 21 to "ensure financial stability" as advertising revenue continues to decline amid the coronavirus pandemic. The three-week furloughs, which will be taken in one-week increments from May through July, will be for nonunion employees making between $40,000 and $67,000 per year, the company said. Employees will continue to receive health benefits but no salary during the weeks they are on furlough. Employees will have the option to apply to leave the company and receive severance instead of the furlough, the company said. Earlier this month, Tribune Publishing announced pay cuts of up to 10 percent for nonunion employees making $67,000 per year or more.
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Top Daily Herald executive Daniel Baumann retires ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Daniel E. Baumann, one of the architects of the Daily Herald's rise from a community weekly to a suburban powerhouse, has announced his retirement as chairman emeritus of the Paddock Publications Inc. board of directors. In relinquishing his position on the board, Baumann ended a long association with the company that dated back to 1964, when he joined what was then the weekly Herald as a reporter. Baumann grew to become a key partner with late owner Stuart R. Paddock Jr. in shepherding the company through a period of strong growth in the second half of the 20th century. He mentored Douglas K.Ray, the current publisher, CEO and board chairman. Baumann stepped down from full-time status in 2002 but remained active with the company as its board chairman until he moved into a role as chairman emeritus in 2010 to further the transition to Ray's succession as chairman. He continued to act as a board director and consultant on operational issues, and played a part in the work in 2018 to convert ownership of the company to its employees. "I will be forever indebted to Paddock Publications for the many opportunities it has given me, beginning 56 years ago as a beat reporter," Baumann said. "I am proud to have had this long association with a company which then, and now,
Rettke named editor of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle DeKALB – Kelsey Rettke has been named the editor of the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb. Rettke's work with the Daily Chronicle began in October 2018. In that time, the 27-yearold has done extensive reporting about local government, crime and courts, education and Kelsey Rettke business. Rettke also serves as a breaking news reporter for the company's regional news outlet, Shaw Media Illinois. Rettke is the 17th editor in the
Daniel E Baumann, outside the Daily Herald office in 2002. (Daily Herald file photo) reflects the highest standards of purpose and conduct. That tone was set by the founding family and has continued during periods of growth and periods of challenge. At a time when many communities have become local news deserts, it is a tribute to the staff, the executive team and the directors of the company that they have retained the commitment of the founding family." Baumann led Paddock Publications as it transformed from a successful-but-imperiled group of weeklies into an information company compris-
Daily Chronicle's 141-year history. Hailing from Beloit, Wisconsin, she served as the editor-in-chief of Beloit College's student publication, The Round Table, before starting her career at the Daily Chronicle. Her work has included a focus on watchdog journalism, among other areas, and addressing community concerns including taxes, local elections, poverty and economics.
Former media CEO takes 7% stake in Tribune CHICAGO - Mason Slaine, an investor and the former CEO of business information publisher Thomson Financial, has acquired a 7 percent stake in Tribune Publishing, making
ing the third-largest daily newspaper in Illinois, a successful online publication, a journal of news for suburban Latinos and a host of regular specialty news and information products. He began taking on leadership roles by 1967, was named editor in1975, then became general manager in 1982 and chief operating officer in 1988. In 1998, he was appointed chief executive officer and in 1999, publisher. He was named board chairman in 2002. "From reporter to editor to the key executive of Paddock Publications," Ray said in a memo to the staff, "he made an impact at every level – from award-winning reporter and editor to business executive guiding the Daily Herald from a small suburban weekly to one of the finest newspaper companies in the country. Through it all, Dan never wavered from his commitment to excellence and set a high standard for all of us." A native of Milwaukee, Baumann earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His studies included concentrations in Russian language and culture. At one time, he aspired to become a foreign correspondent, but in an interview in 2010, he said his ambitions were changed by the ongoing growth and opportunity at Paddock and by the recognition that, "The quiet, tree-lined streets of Arlington Heights seemed like a better place to raise a family."
him the third-largest shareholder in the company. Slaine, 66, spent more than $13.9 million to buy 1.58 million shares of Tribune Publishing stock between Feb. 3 and March 17, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The purchases were made on the open market at an average price of $8.79 per share. The Boca Raton, Florida-based investor now owns nearly 2.5 million shares, or 6.9 percent of Tribune Publishing's 36.3 million outstanding shares. Slaine has become the company's third-largest shareholder behind hedge fund Alden Global Capital and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong.
Daily Herald editor/designer wins two statewide awards CHICAGO - Amanda Erd, a multiplatform editor and paginator on the Daily Herald's copy desk, has won two design awards in the Illinois Women's Press Association's annual contest. Erd, who joined the Daily Herald in 2015, earned first place in the infographics and newspaper page design categories for work done in 2019. Her infographic, which appeared April 22, 2019, was a package on a mock NFL draft. Her winning page design was the Dec. 31, 2019, Sports section front that featured Bob Frisk's annual column on sports quotes of the year.
24 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Longtime Centralia Sentinel reporter retires
Journal Star in Peoria sees leadership transitions
CENTRALIA – After more than four decades in journalism, Mark Hodapp has decided to call it a career. Hodapp retired in late March, capping a career with Centralia Press properties – first the Centralia Sentinel, then the Carlyle Union Banner – that dates back to 1978. Along the way, Hodapp covered everything from the routine to the wildly unexpected, from city council and county board meetings to train derailments and capital murder trials.
PEORIA - The Journal Star recently week announced Publisher Paul
Greenville Advocate adds two staffers GREENVILLE – Two employees of the company that recently purchased The Greenville Advocate will be helping with some of the duties at The Advocate. Laura McDonald is a new display advertising sales representative, having been part of The Advocate's new corporate family – the Centralia Press Ltd. – for more than 15 years. In addition to Greenville, she also sells advertising for the Centralia/Mt. Vernon Sentinel, the Carlyle Union Banner, and WCXO radio in Carlyle. Liz Dowell, a reporter for several Centralia Press Ltd. newspapers, will now be a contributing writer for The Greenville Advocate. A native of Mulberry Grove, Dowell studied photojournalism, with a minor in creative writing, at Eastern Illinois University. She also has completed a master's degree in secondary education in English through an online program offered by Grand Canyon University. While in college, she worked as a copy editor and page designer for the school newspaper, the Daily Eastern News. For the past seven years, she has also operated her own photography business, Liz Dowell Photography.
Gaier will be transitioning to a new title in April. Gaier will be general manager for Action Printing, located in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Regional Director of Sales Shawn Fox is assuming busi-
ness operations of the Journal Star as market leader. Fox joined the Journal Star in 2017. She was previously a director at Michigan.com.
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Former Illinoian-Star publisher, IPA president dies at 90 Dale Barker was a recipient of the IPA’s Distinguished Service Award BEARDSTOWN – Dale Winscott Barker could certainly share a good story. And many a story she told while on this earth for 90 years. For 44 years, Barker dedicated her professional career to the newspaper industry, which in itself meant she met a variety of people and relayed their sagas in the print media. She died Friday, March 27, 2020, surrounded by her loving family. In her personal life, she was a daughter, wife and mother and enjoyed a host of hobbies and interests which in turn generated a different set of tales. Her life experiences and interactions with family, friends and community produced tales of adventure, humorous accounts, perhaps a few yarns and, as in everyone's life, serious reflections. Her own personal story began Feb. 23, 1930, in Fulton, Missouri, where she was born to A.M. "Scotty" Winscott and Tressie Mae Chaney Winscott. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, David Eugene Barker. Surviving are her daughters, Tressa Lee (Chris) Robinson of Memphis, Tennessee, and Susan Dale (Eric) Warren of Springield; step-daughter, Kimberly Dawn (Clinton) Stark; seven grandchildren, Scottie Bingham, Evie Robinson, Chris Robinson II, Whitney Kate (Chris) Wiley and daughter Sloan, Meredith Dale (Simeon) Siudyla, Hannah Mae Warren, and Heath Eric Warren; three step-grandchildren, Clayton Eugene
Stark, Carly Briella Stark, and Carissa Lynn Stark. After living in Fulton, she moved to St. Louis, where she spent time learning ballet and becoming a gifted balleDale Barker rina, a love she enjoyed for much of her adult life. She moved as a teenager to Beardstown and graduated from Beardstown High School in 1948. While attending high school in Beardstown, she immersed herself in the arts, playing lute and piccolo in the band as well as enjoying time in theatre productions. Barker's communication and writing skills led her on a path in the field of journalism. Her career began in high school with her first "assignment" being a stint at the Illinoian-Star in Beardstown. She then went on to the Champaign-Urbana Courier, the White Haven Press in Memphis, Tennessee, the Jackson (Tennessee) Sun, and Martin Publishing Company of Havana before taking the road back to Beardstown. That’s when her next adventure would span 19 years at the Illinoian-Star, serving as publisher from 1973 until her retirement in 1992. It was here the local community along with her peers throughout the state and country took note of her grit and integrity, tempered with humor and grace. She could take an ordinary, mundane topic and write a humorous column to make readers smile.
Then again, she could inspire residents to participate in a lag-lying campaign in the wake of the nation's Iranian hostage crisis (1979-1981) which led to an appearance on a PBS television show. She became one of four publishers nationwide who appeared on “The MacNeil-Lehrer Report” on Dec. 20, 1979, to discuss how their communities were responding to President Jimmy Carter's call for renewed patriotism. These efforts did not go unnoticed by the presidential office. In January 1981 after the hostage release, Barker received a telegram from President Ronald Reagan expressing his appreciation for her patriotic stance and support during the crisis. Her journalistic qualities were also noticed by her peers throughout the state. In a profession that was often dominated by men in that era, Barker served on the Illinois Press Association's Board of Directors for 14 years and then in 1988 became the IPA's first woman president. When questioned about this distinction, she humbly told her interviewer she just wanted to be viewed as the next president, deferring any attention to the fact she was the association's first female president. During Barker's tenure at the Illinoian-Star, the newspaper received more than 100 state and national awards for journalistic excellence, many of them for her column, her editorial and feature stories, photography and community service projects
promoted by the newspaper. Barker was a member of several state and national newspaper associations. In 1981, she received the esteemed Emma C. McKinney Award from the National Newspaper Association, the group's highest honor for female journalists. In May 2019, Dale was honored by the IPA for her career achievements, receiving the association's Distinguished Service Award. When she was not on the job, Dale's other passions included fishing, hunting and outdoor activities. She spent many years training champion dogs and competing in National Dog Obedience Trials. Dale's dogs were pioneers in providing therapy in and around the city of Memphis. Barker was a music enthusiast, playing lute and bagpipes. She encouraged her two daughters who were active in high school and collegiate bands. After her retirement, she and her husband lived for a while in Missouri, where she particularly enjoyed trout fishing. However, her journalistic penchant did not end as she wrote a column for the local paper there. She penned a poem that became lyrics for a chart topping bluegrass song and wrote a book about her life in St. Louis titled “Carson Road.” Although she leaves behind a career legacy, her life's story told of a zeal for life, dedication to her community and love for family and friends.
26 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
COVID-19 suspected in death of Arab American publisher, leader CHICAGO – Mansour Tadros, of Tinley Park, was a leader in the south suburban Arab-American community who was constantly taking phone calls and greeting visitors. "His phone would ring 100 to 120 times a day," his 27-year-old son, Fadi, recalled. "We had to cancel our home phone because it got so out of hand." Tadros died Saturday, March 28, of a suspected case of COVID-19, his son said. He was 70. Tadros emigrated from Jordan with his parents and siblings in 1968 and worked in a variety of enterprises, his son said. He founded and published The Future News, an English/Arabic newspaper that serves an audience of Arab Americans in the Midwest. "He covered world news," Fadi Tadros said. "He was giving the community here in the United States a full spectrum view of what was happening." Tadros was in good health prior the week before his death, his son said. He awoke March 23 with chills. The next day, he had body aches and a slight fever, his son said. On March 25, he developed a terrible cough that concerned his family. "I had never seen him this sick," Fadi Tadros said. "I said, 'We're going to get you tested right now.'" Fadi Tadros said there were few
Rose Marie Guebert RED BUD – Rose Marie Guebert, 90, of Red Bud, passed away at 1:56 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at Garden Place in Red Bud. She was born to the late Frank Daniel and Luella Elizabeth (Purtle) McCarthy, Sr. on July 19, 1929, in St. Louis, MisRose Marie Guebert souri. Rose married Oliver T. Guebert on April 15, 1950, in Red Bud, and he preceded
options available for coronavirus testing. Eventually, a friend who is a nurse was able to help arrange a test at a clinic. By then, his father was wheezing and Mansour Tadros it was recommended he be taken to a hospital. He was admitted to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox on March 25, Fadi Tadros said. "He was shaking and they gave him oxygen," he said. "Then, for some reason, they released him." Fadi Tadros said his father was released without any prescriptions. Later, family members called and a doctor prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler, his son said. "He got a little better Friday morning," Fadi Tadros said. "This was nothing like the flu. If you have a weakness in your body, it controls you." Mansour Tadros was a longtime diabetic, his son said. "My dad was extremely healthy," he said. "His heart and lungs were strong." He said that final night at home, his father didn't get any sleep. "On Saturday morning we called an ambulance to take him back to the ER," he said. He said before the ambulance her in death on Oct. 8, 1999. Rose had worked as a typist for North County News for 37 years. After retiring from the paper, she worked part time at the Senior Center in Red Bud for 20 years. Rose and her husband also had the St. Louis Post Dispatch and St. Louis Globe Democrat paper route for 20 years in the Red Bud area. She was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Red Bud and V.F.W. Auxiliary in Red Bud. She was a 1947 graduate of Red Bud High School and organized all the class reunions. She enjoyed
arrived, his father brushed his teeth, combed his hair and put on cologne. "It was almost like he knew he was going to go," he said. He bid his father goodbye with an Arabic expression that means "God be with you." His mother said goodbye to her husband of 35 years. "They wouldn't allow us in the ambulance," he said. Mansour Tadros died a few minutes later in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, his son said. Ray Hanania, a south suburban Palestinian-American writer and entertainer, had interviewed Tadros over the years about his various enterprises. Tadros worked in the import-export trade and consulted for petroleum companies and other interests before becoming a publisher. "Publishing wasn't easy at all," Tadros told Hanania in an interview, according to a story published recently by The Arab News, a media outlet based in Saudi Arabia. In 2018, Tadros ceased circulating print copies in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and other states and switched to only online. "It was difficult to get Arab-American and Muslim companies to advertise," Hanania quoted Tadros as saying. "The community would bowling, playing cards and socializing with her friends and family. She is survived by four children, Dale (Reda) Guebert of Red Bud, Debbie (Glenn) Gielow of Red Bud, Bonnie (Jeff) Haertling of Perryville, Missouri, and Brenda (DuWayne) White of Red Bud; three sisters, Joan (Jerry) Rahn of Red Bud, Imogene Toal of Waterloo and Maureen (Donald) Cotton of Dallas, Texas; 11 grandchildren, Kyle Guebert, Kalin (Jason) Guebert, Ryan (Shannon) Gielow, Jennie (Jeremy) Walker, Amanda (Creston) Moore,
pay for American newspapers that constantly attacked us with negative stereotypes, but they wouldn't pay for an Arab-American newspaper." Many people, including complete strangers, would often seek advice and counsel from his father, Fadi Tadros said. Listening was his greatest attribute, he said. "He was such a caring individual," he said. "He would listen and put himself in your shoes before he would give a response." Samir Khalil, chairman of Chicago-based Arab American Democratic Club, said he became friends with Tadros 50 years ago when they were both students at Wright Junior College, now Wilbur Wright College in the City Colleges of Chicago system. "He was generous with his time and resources," Khalil said. "It's a great loss for the people who knew him." Tadros met his wife, Lidya, in San Diego. Fadi Tadros said his maternal and paternal grandparents were acquainted and introduced his parents to each other. They married in 1985. In addition to his wife and son, Tadros is survived by another son, Faris (Bashier), and a daughter, Nadine. He was a sibling to Philimin, Elain, Philippin, Heyam, Musa and Kafa, and the late Amailan and Issa. Jamie (Josh) Eftink, Dominic Haertling, Kelley Haertling, Sara (Kyle) Noennig, Matt White and Amy White (fiance Brennen Porter); 14 great¬grandchildren, Grayson, Brody, Brennen, Ben, Barrett, Anna, Emma, Wesley, Eli, Waylon, Brayden, Brody, Addisyn and Lillian; several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Preceding her in death besides her parents and husband were two sisters, Mary Jane McCarthy and Ina Mae Braun, and two brothers, Frank McCarthy, Jr. and Gerald McCarthy.
Michael William Farrell MORRIS – Michael William Farrell, 69, of Morris, died March 14, 2020, at Loyola-Maywood Medical Center, just 10 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, eventually determined to be an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Mike was born in WinMichael William ona, Minnesota, on Sept. Farrell 27, 1950, the son of Mary Ellen Wilson Farrell and Francis M. Farrell. He was educated in Winona's public schools and received his bachelor's degree in history in 1972 from Ripon College in Wisconsin. After two years of master's degree studies in journalism at the University of South Carolina, Mike joined the staff of the Morris Daily Herald, where he worked for the next 36 years as a reporter and editor until his retirement in 2010. Mike's diligent and accurate reporting on local politics and government kept the citizens of the area well-informed for decades and won him several awards for his reporting and writing. In 1982, he married Charlotte M. Bohner, an educator and IT specialist, and together they formed an indissoluble partnership that flourished for 37 years, until her death in 2019. Active contributors to many facets of the Morris community, both before and after retirement, Mike and Charlotte also traveled widely both in the United States and the world, including Russia, China, Europe, Central and South America, and a photographic safari in Africa. Avid students of history, Mike and Charlotte included every extant presidential library in their travels within the U.S. Mike's hobbies included sports, especially following the Twins, Vikings and Ripon College teams, as well as gardening and reading history. He was also preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Martin Farrell, of Ripon. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook, upload photo-
graphs, or share Michael's memorial page by logging onto: www.ReevesFuneral.com.
Mark Hinojosa CHICAGO – Mark Hinojosa headed the Tribune's photo staff in the 1990s and then was the paper's associate managing editor of multimedia, serving as a liaison between the Tribune's print, broadcast and online newsgathering efforts. Hinojosa later was a journalism professor at the UniverMark Hinjosa sity of Missouri. "He was always years ahead of everyone else in storytelling technique, from the film-to-digital (photography) revolution to video to data visualization," said former Tribune Associate Managing Editor for Photography Robin Daughtridge. "He expected the best (from) everyone around him, driving us to new heights in photojournalism." Hinojosa, 63, died Feb. 20 of complications from multiple myeloma at his home in Columbia, Missouri, said his wife of more than 31 years, Katherine Foran. Hinojosa had been diagnosed with the disease in 2012. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hinojosa received a bachelor's degree in 1978 from Pepperdine University. He worked in a camera store in Santa Monica, California, before being hired as an intern at the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader newspaper. Hinojosa's first full-time newspaper job was at The Kansas City Star, where he worked from 1979 until 1987, first as a staff photographer and then as a photo editor. He was part of a team that was awarded the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for covering the 1981 Hyatt Regency Kansas City hotel walkway collapse that killed 114 people. He worked at New York Newsday before joining the Tribune in 1991 as an assistant photo editor, managing the photography process for the pa-
per's features, sports and metro news sections. Hinojosa became associate managing editor of photography in 1993, overseeing a staff of 65 photographers, photo editors and photo lab staff. He became associate managing editor for multimedia in 1999. "He was the best boss I ever had at the Chicago Tribune," said Tribune columnist Ellen Warren. "And when I'd walk into his office, he had nothing but time to talk about politics, office gossip and, of course, photography." Daughtridge called Hinojosa "brazen, brilliant and endlessly curious," and noted his passion for diversity – both in the newsroom and among the subjects he covered. "He pulled diverse talent from around the country and the world, and grew an already great staff to a collective of independent storytellers," she said. "He produced documentaries, anticipating the move to online docs years ahead of the competition." Hinojosa hired Pancho Bernasconi, now a Getty Images executive, as a sports photo editor in 1995. Bernasconi, who later served with Hinojosa on a Pulitzer Prize jury, said Hinojosa taught him how to be an effective journalist and photo editor. "He taught me a lot about how to be with my staff and how to have a bunch of different voices come together each day, creating a cohesive and diverse staff," Bernasconi said. One Tribune project that Hinojosa was especially proud of, his wife said, was the 2005 "Crossing Borders" series, which explored the risks that female immigrants have taken to traverse cultures and time zones in search of new lives. Hinojosa expanded the project to include audio and video components, which were featured on the Tribune's website and the now-defunct CLTV cable channel. Hinojosa also orchestrated the Tribune's involvement in the 2008 documentary film "At the Death House Door," about a death house chaplain at a Texas prison who questioned whether Texas had executed an innocent man in 1989. "He loved working with reporters and photojournalists who understood
that digital offered new and ever more compelling ways to share the news and tell stories that mattered and changed lives," Foran said. Hinojosa helped edit a 2000 book, "Americanos: Latino Life in the United States," which chronicled U.S. Hispanics' contributions to the United States and cultures. The book was a companion to a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit nationwide. After leaving the Tribune in 2008, Hinojosa oversaw interactive media at the Detroit News from 2008 until 2015, when he joined the University of Missouri School of Journalism as an associate professor of convergence journalism. “He worked with students on weekly deadlines, coaching their multimedia storytelling. He was meticulous at times and demanded pristine audio. (And) he fought to ensure students had access to the best quality equipment," said Lynda Kraxberger, Missouri's associate dean for undergraduate journalism studies. Kathy Kiely, a journalism professor at Missouri, called Hinojosa "one of those rare people in the business who was both good at the craft but also a great manager and teacher." "The students here would say that Mark was a tough taskmaster but they loved him because he treated them as an equal and he didn't ask any more of anybody else than he asked of himself," Kiely said. Hinojosa taught his final class Feb. 5. Recent projects included working with Kiely on a video for a Stars and Stripes Museum fundraiser, creating a video for a local arts organization's annual fundraiser, and recently completing a podcast with a former student, Madi Lawson. "He was thrilled to help inspire and prepare the next generation of journalists," Foran said. "I think he surprised himself to discover how much he loved this final chapter of his professional life." Hinojosa also is survived by a son, John Luke; two daughters, Maria and Isabella; and three sisters, Sybil Coyner, Linda Brener and Patricia.
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Tommie Lou Scalzitti ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Tommie Lou Scalzitti died Thursday, March 19, 2020, while in the care of JourneyCare Hospice at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Tommie Lou was born Feb. 21, 1929, in Sylacauga, Alabama, to Thomas Newton and Mary Laurena (nee Tommie Lou Pruitt) Williams. Scalzitti She was a genuine "Southern belle" and raised in rural Alabama. Tommie met the love of her life, the late Guy Scalzitti of Chicago, on a blind date while Guy, a decorated World War II veteran, was enrolled in Officers' Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, during the Korean War. Married in 1951, the newlyweds moved to the Chicago area eventually settling in Arlington Heights. A graduate of Birmingham Business College, Tommie enjoyed a long career with the Daily Herald suburban newspaper, where she held a variety of positions from selling subscriptions over the phone to office manager and eventually displaying her writing skills authoring the daily obituaries. Her Daily Herald colleagues also relied on Tommie to organize and administer a wide variety of office sports pools. Tommie Lou also supported Guy in his home-based income tax preparation firm helping expand the business to serve more than 600 clients. An avid volunteer in the Arlington Heights community, Tommie Lou was active in the Disabled American Veterans, the Ladies Auxiliary and St. James Catholic School, where her children were enrolled. Tommie Lou was a fantastic cook "famous" for her preparation of Southern delicacies and family style Italian feasts. Attended by loving care-givers, Tommie was able to reside in her own home until her passing. Tommie is survived by her
children Larry (Judy) Scalzitti, Gary (Sofia) Scalzitti, and Mary (Jim) Barrett; her grandchildren, Patrick (Heather) Scalzitti, Thomas (Katie) Scalzitti, Daniella Scalzitti and Christina (John) Sanecki, Rachel (Conor) Kennedy, Jimmy Barrett; her great-grandchildren, Abbey, Maeve and John, Jr.; and her brother, Donald (Mary) Williams. She was preceded in death by her husband, Guy J. Scalzitti; her parents; and her brothers, John Robert and Larry Gene Williams. In consideration of the health concerns and gathering restrictions due to COVID-19, the funeral service was private. Memorials may be given to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.
Jean D. Scott LEE SUMMIT, Mo. – Jean Dianne (Wessel) Scott, 80, formerly of Princeton, Illinois, passed away Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at the Wilshire Lakewood Care Center in Lee Summit, Missouri. Jean was born July 7, 1939, to the late Irving and Dorothy (Tolene) Wessel in Princeton. She was a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Class of 1961, and received her Master of Education, Class of 1964, from the University of Illinois. She married James W. Scott on Feb. 23, 1963, and they had one child, Brian. She and James divorced in 1981. She was a reading teacher in the Riverview Gardens and Ladue School Districts in St. Louis, Missouri; a reading teacher in the Proviso School District in Hillsdale, Illinois; English teacher at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon; and freelance writer for the Bureau County Republican newspaper. She was a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Princeton and the Bureau County Home Economist Organization. Jean enjoyed traveling, having been to Europe nearly a dozen times including Greece, Italy, Germany, England,
Ireland, Norway and Sweden. She also traveled throughout the United States including New England, Michigan and Hawaii. She enjoyed reading books and loved seeing movies. Jean was an active member of her church and enjoyed studying contemporary Christian theology. She loved times with her family and friends. She is survived by one son, Brian (Amy) Scott of Lee Summit, Missouri; one granddaughter, Hillary Scott; two brothers, Norman (Mary) Wessel of Princeton and Verle (Linda) Wessel of Birmingham, Alabama; three nephews, David Wessel and family of DeKalb, Keith Wessel and family of Homewood, Alabama, and Jeffery Rocke and family of Burns, Tennessee; two nieces, Julie Grunke and family of Yorkville, and Jennifer Waldrop and family of Murray, Kentucky. She was preceded in death by her parents, Irving and Dorothy Wessel; one sister, Carol Rocke; her stepmother, Alice Wessel; and one sisterin-law, Kay Wessel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Evangelical Covenant Church in Princeton. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.norbergfh.com.
Billy Tucker KANKAKEE – Billy E. Tucker, 58, of Kankakee, passed away Friday, April 3, 2020, at his home. Tucker was born Oct. 31, 1961, in Kankakee, the son of L.A. and Curlie Wilson Tucker. He was baptized at Zion Gate Missionary Baptist Church in 1993 by the Rev. Kenneth Billy Tucker McEastland. He graduated from Eastridge High School in 1980 and served our country in the U.S. Marines. Billy was employed by The Daily Journal in Kankakee for 15 years, and by Baker and Taylor in Momence. He coached the Eastside Bulldogs for 15 years. His
other sports interests were track and field, football and baseball. Billy had a loving and caring heart and enjoyed being the life of everyone's party. He leaves to cherish his memory, one son, Bryson Tucker, of Kankakee; two children who he helped raise, Dennarius Fisher and Carlesha Springer, both of Kankakee; a goddaughter, Tajai Martin, of Kankakee; four sisters and one brother-in-law, Ella and Franklin Richardson, of Columbus, Mississippi, Nena Yarborough, Pernola Tucker and Dorothy Rutledge, all of Kankakee; two brothers, Carl Tucker, of Kankakee, and Wayne Henry, of Minnesota; two aunts, Ida Burney, of Bunker Hill, Indiana, and LeAnna Wilson, of Kankakee; uncles, Pearlie Wilson, Frank Tucker and Walter Sykes, all of Kankakee, and Johnnie Wilson, of Kokomo, Indiana; nieces, Terrica Lee, of Columbus, Ohio, Catrice and Tim Jones, of Chicago, Debbie and Tom Ivy, Shainia and Shaitia Wells, Sharon Surell and Dorian Jennings, all of Kankakee, Tyesha and Michael Jordan, of Phoenix, Arizona, and Pernola and Ernie Barnes, of Mesa, Arizona; nephews, Eddie Louis Tucker Jr., of Wisconsin, Maurice Tucker, Scotty Willis and Naigee Bailey, all of Kankakee, Wayne Wells, of Atlanta, Georgia, Franklin Jr. (Shell) Richardson, Michael (Shondalyn) Richardson and Christopher (Clarisse) Richardson, all of Columbus, Mississippi; special friends, Vincent Martin, Gail Lawrence and Mario Thomas, all of Kankakee; cousin, Jeffrey Sykes, of Bloomington; and a host of other relatives and friends. Preceding him in death were his parents; maternal grandparents, Roosevelt and Annette Wilson; paternal grandparents, Louis and Emma Tucker; three brothers, Eddie L. Tucker, Leon Tucker and Andrew Harris; a nephew, Eddie Tavares Willis-Tucker; aunts, Lula Sykes, Iris Wilson, Annie Tucker and Louise Tucker; uncles, Neil Niles and WC. Tucker; and special cousin, Mona L. McKnight. Please go to laxmortuary.com to send condolences.
Laura A. Fraembs IOWA CITY – Laura A. Fraembs, 60, of Lynn Center, passed away Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City. Laura was born May 6, 1959, in Champaign, a daughter of Frank A. and Janet (Railsback) Fraembs. Laura A. Fraembs She graduated from Charleston High School and Eastern Illinois University, Class of 1981. She began her newspaper career in May 1981 with the Moline Dispatch. In her career, she saw mergers and changes that she accepted with grace. Laura earned the respect of many over the years. She was always there to lend a hand to others and offer her input. Her attitude, intelligence and strong work ethic led her to become an associate managing editor of the Dispatch/Argus and the Quad City Times. Laura loved her work and she enjoyed challenging herself and others. Outside of her full-time job, she owned a farm in rural Henry County, where she cared for her horses and dogs. She was vice president of the Quad-City Dog Obedience Club and she loved to ride horses. Left to cherish her memory are her significant other, Kurt Allemeier; parents, Frank and Janet Fraembs, Charleston; sisters, Lisa Fraembs, Marshall. and Linda (Mike Matulis) Fraembs, Pleasant Plains; aunt Dorothy Fraembs, Cincinnati, Ohio; cousins, Darah Fraembs, Cincinnati; Steve Railsback, Eric Railsback and Kathy Sabatke, all of Colorado. Laura is also survived by many dear friends whom she cared for greatly. She was preceded in death by her grandparents.
Mike Jones CENTRALIA – William Michael "Mike" Jones, 71, of Centralia went to be with the Lord on Saturday, March
28, 2020, at St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia. Mike was born June 3, 1948, in Centralia, the beloved son of Jeanne Jones and the late Edward "Sonny" F. Jones Jr. Mike Jones He married the love of his life, Sheree Rose Springer, on Oct. 2, 1982, thus celebrating 37 years of life together. Mike was baptized at the First United Methodist Church in Centralia as a child, confirmed into the church as a teenager, and remained a faithful member by serving on various committees including Pastor Parish, Board of Trustees, and Finance. He was a Sunday School teacher for many years and his beautiful tenor voice graced the choir for more than 56 years. He graduated from Centralia High School in 1966, Kaskaskia College in 1968, and the University of Illinois in 1970 with a degree in communications. He always enjoyed writing and was active in journalism early on as a reporter for the CHS newspaper, Sphinx, and as editor of the Kaskaskia College Scroll. Mike returned to Centralia to begin his first and only career with the Centralia Sentinel, where over the span of more than 37 years he held many positions including part-time sports reporter, area editor, city editor, managing editor, and senior news editor. Michael had a solid passion for giving back to the community he had loved as a child by serving on many local boards including the Salvation Army, Centralia History Museum, and the Board of Trustees at St. Mary's Hospital. It was Mike who spearheaded an effort to return Centralia's rich tradition of this community's historic promise for the future through the erection of the sign "Centralia, Your Opportunity" at the corner of Broadway and Oak. He was considered to be a trusted messenger of the news with his unbiased and integrous reporting. Through the keystrokes of his two-fingered typing skills, Mike served as a host to many stories that impacted
the lives of our community. He was considered a fixture at the Centralia Police Station and the eyes and ears of a generation of loyal readers. It was his gifted intellect and talented writing that would showcase the stories he reported, including an annual grocery price check each January, coverage of local events, and interviews with recognizable figures including Jesse Jackson, Sen. Barack Obama, Tiny Tim, Paul W. Tibbits IV, Sir Peter Imbert, the head of Scotland Yard and Sam Walton. He sat in on and reported on so many meetings and gatherings, he was often considered an honorary member of many organizations in the Centralia area. Mike also possessed a very witty sense which led to many famous April Fool's stories including Centralia being located on a major international highway, the Concord landing at the Centralia airport, an alligator being loose in Centralia sewers (he even received a phone call from Australia about this story), and the towns of Centralia, Wamac, and Central City merging to become CenWamaCity. Mike's first love was meteorology, though he chose journalism as his longtime career because "things happen and you never know what's coming next." He wasn't the biggest fan of math and knew that was important for a career in meteorology. Those who knew Mike best are thankful that math wasn't his strong suit because he became a staple in the pages of the Centralia Sentinel publications and one of the most trusted journalists who was truly appreciated and respected by the community. Mike's passions were reading history books, listening to classical music, traveling the world, watching the St. Louis Cardinals play ball, cuddling with his girlfriends (his cats) and, unsurprisingly, tuning in to the Weather Channel throughout the day. He is survived by his wife, Sheree; his only son, Jeff (Laura); mother Jeanne; beloved little sister, Jan Jones Heischmidt (Ed) and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Mike was preceded in death by his
father, Edward "Sonny" Jones Jr, grandparents, Edward F. Sr. and Gertrude Jones, and grandparents Fred and Louise Hellmeyer. Visit www.sutherlandfuneralhome. com and to submit Online Condolences for the family.
Donald E. Phillips HEYWORTH – On Friday, March 20, 2020, Donald E. Phillips, 85, died of natural causes at home near Heyworth. By his side were family members including Peggy, his wife of more than 63 years. Born Aug. 8, 1934, in Kansas City, Kansas, Donald Ernst PhilDonald E. P hillips lips, the son of Russell Augustus and Theresa Irene (Ernst) Phillips, he grew up in Du Quoin. Phillips graduated from Du Quoin High School in the class of 1952. He attended Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, where he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism in 1956. He was a reporter, photojournalist, and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Egyptian. After college, Phillips worked as a news writer with the Marion Daily Republican in Marion. In 1960, he accepted a position as a writer with the Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA), where he worked for the balance of his career. On June 10, 1974, Phillips launched Farm Week, a weekly newspaper he created and developed for IAA which focused on farming and the Illinois agricultural industry. He served as FarmWeek's first editor. Don is survived by Peggy; their sons, G. Michael Phillips (Marlene) of Pasadena, California, Steven Phillips (Sue) of Greenview, and David Phillips (Kelley) of Heyworth. In addition, Don is survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His parents preceded him in death. To read more about Phillips, visit www.calvertbelangeebruce.com.
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Ruth Irene Klingel SPRINGFIELD – Ruth Irene Klingel, 84, passed away Monday, April 6, 2020, at Regency Care. Irene was born September 22, 1935, in Polo, the daughter of Charley R. and Ruth C. Cox. She married John W. Klingel, Jr., on Sept. 22, 1957, at the Polo Methodist Church. They Ruth Irene Klingel lived in Mt. Morris until 1967 when they moved to Springfield. John preceded her in death April 20, 2001. Irene was a member of First United Methodist Church in Springfield. Her employment history spanned a period of 52 years, beginning in 1953 in Mt. Morris and ending in 2005 when she retired from The State Journal-Register after 27 years. Irene's family and many friends were her greatest source of pride and joy. She was also preceded in death by her parents, husband, three brothers, Stanley Cox, Richard Adams and his wife Madeline, Donald Cox and his wife Joyce, one sister, Shirley Hughes and her husband Galen, a niece, Diana Erhart, and a nephew, James Prather. She is survived by several nieces and nephews: David (Renee) Adams, Cheryl Prather, Josalinde (Mark) Blevins, Penny (Scott) Reining, Heidi Lester, Jim (Sherry) Cox, Tim Cox, Kim (Tim) Kasper, Donald Klingel, Linda Figge and Vickie (Bob) Bentzinger.
George M. Christensen CRYSTAL LAKE – George M. Christensen passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 4, 2020, at age 81. He was born Sept. 12, 1938, in Chicago, the son of the late Charles and Dagmar (nee Gustafson) Christensen. George worked for 50 years at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights. He proudly served his country with the U.S. Army as a tank commander and chaplain's assistant. George is survived by his loving wife
of 53 years, Carolyn; his sons, Kevin (Lolita), and Kenneth Christensen; granddaughters, Autumn and Breanna Christensen; his sister, Joyce Jackson; nephew, David (Lynn) Jackson; niece, George M. Julie (Gerard) Mooney; Christensen greatnieces, Brooke and Taylor Mooney and Ava Jackson; and dear friend, Ralph Wineman. For online condolences, visit www. davenportfamily.com.
John Allen 'Jack' Mehaffey THE VILLAGES, Fla. – John Allen "Jack" Mehaffey, age 83, The Villages, Florida, died Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at his home. He was born in Brainerd, Minnesota, the son of the late Scott and Belva MeJohn Allen "Jack" haffey. Mr, Mehaffey spent his entire career Mehaffey in the newspaper and print media business beginning as a newsboy. One of his companies pioneered the distribution of pre-printed advertising material through newspaper networks. Additionally, he was associated with the folks at The Advertiser of Antioch for nearly four decades. He was a benefactor to developmentally disabled people and victims of mental illnesses. The family stated, "Service to others was his passion." He is published in Who's Who In America, The World, Media and Communications, Advertising, Industry and Finance and "Outstanding People of the 20th Century." He was an inaugural inductee to Brainerd High School's Outstanding Achievement Hall of Fame in 1999. He was a recipient of the Naples (Florida) GEM award for his community service. He received various awards from Press Associations and others over decades including an Editorial Award for campaigns to improve conservation and flood control in Illinois and Indiana in the
1960s. The American Newspaper Publishers' Association, and Missouri and New York Press Association honored him for community service. Both The National American Legion and National Veterans of Foreign Wars honored him with Special American Patriotism awards. Among his many awards are; The Naples Gem Award, Iwo Jima Award, U.S. Constitution Award, Special Patriotic Award by U.S. Marine Corps. "Dare to Dream It; Work to Achieve It." It's the American Way. He participated in special Bicentennial ceremonies at the Liberty Bell, Independence Park, Philadelphia, in 1976 to observe, dedicate and preserve the United States Constitution's First Amendment, assuring freedom of speech and a free press. He was selected by American Heritage Research for inclusion in the Library of Human Resources "In recognition of professional and civic attainments within the community of America, recognized by the citizenry of the Nation accorded to outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the American Republic" (Bi-Centennial, 1976). He was a member of many local, state, national and industry organizations including: Charter member St. Joseph's Medical Center Foundation, Lions International, National Alliance for the Mentally III, National Press Club, Washington D.C., International Press Club of Chicago, Chicago Headline Club, Naples Press Club, Motion Picture and Television Assn., FoundingOneThousand, Naples Philharmonic Center for the Performing Arts, Naples Area Chamber of Commerce, Naples Southwest Florida Conservancy, National Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Optimist International, Life Member Paul Bunyan Nature Center, Rotary International, Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, Verified Audit of Circulations Board of Governors and Circulation Verification Council Advisory Board. Lifetime honorary member of the Marine Corps League of America, Other memberships included the
Elks, Moose Lodge, Port Royal and Pelican Island Yacht Clubs, Naples, Florida. He was raised in the Park Methodist Church, Brainerd. He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Mary Jean; sons, Scott and Chris; parents; and sister, Patricia Cain. He is survived by one son, Mark (Beth) of Antioch; three grandsons. Lance, Justin, Ryan; four great-grandsons, Jackson, Camden, Austin, Kaedyn; and his devoted companion, Leontine Hollingsworth. Memorials may be made to the Association for Individual Development, 309 New Indian Trail Court, Aurora, IL 60506.
Nick Poulos CHICAGO – Nick Poulos, age 94, went to eternal life on April 12, 2020. During WWII, Nick joined the U.S. Navy, and served in the Pacific Theater. Following his military service, he attended the University of Illinois, and graduated with a degree in journalism. He started his career with the Chicago City Bureau, and from there he went to the Chicago Tribune, where he became financial editor. During this period, he also served as president of the Chicago Press Club. From the Tribune, he went to the First National Bank of Chicago, as vice president in charge of Domestic and International Press Relations. From the bank, he went back to his roots as business editor of the Atlanta Constitution, where he worked until his retirement. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Georgia, his loving parents, Thomas and Martha Gianacopoulos, and his brothers, Gus Gianas and Jim Gianas. He is survived by his sisters-in-law, Andrea Gianas, Francine Gianas and Katherine Pazoles, and many nieces and nephews. A special thanks to Nick's caretakers, Maria and Sally, for their devoted care. Memorial tributes may be made in Nick's name to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1017 N. LaSalle Drive, Chicago, IL 60610.
Daniel F. Manoyan WAUKEGAN – Daniel Franklin Manoyan passed away late on the evening of April 20, 2020, at the age of 69 years old. Born in Waukegan on Sept. 30,1950, to an immigrant father from Armenia, Mr. Edward Manoian, and Elaine Manoian (nee Fox), Daniel went on to graduate from Waukegan High School in 1968. After high school he was admitted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated with a BA in Journalism in 1972. Soon after graduating from Illinois, Dan began his professional career as a sports writer with the Kenosha News, spending the next five years covering local sports in the Kenosha area. Never quite forgetting his Waukegan roots, however, Dan decided to join the sports staff at the Waukegan News-Sun in 1977. As a columnist for his hometown newspaper in Waukegan, he fulfilled his lifelong dream to become a leading voice within this community that had provided his father with the opportunity to create a new life for both himself and his children here in America. In 1988, Dan left the Waukegan News-Sun to take a position at the Dallas Morning News, which at that time was one of the leading sports sections in the country. In 1992, Dan used his four years of experience working at the Dallas Morning News to land himself a job with another major newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. From 1992 to his retirement in 2009, Dan covered many sports teams hailing from the State of Wisconsin, including the Green Bay Packers, UW football and basketball, and UWM basketball. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also asked Dan to cover several PGA Tour events during his career. As a golf enthusiast himself, he particularly enjoyed covering these events, and in later years considered himself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see (and play) some of the very greatest golf courses in
the world. In 2007, Dan published his first book, titled “Men of Granite.” As an Armenian-American, Dan took great pride in telling the story of a group of small-town, first- and second-generation immigrants who came together to achieve greatness in their new country. Dan was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame for his work on “Men of Granite” in 2013. Retirement did not stop Dan from writing. In fact, in 2012, Dan published “Alan Ameche: The Story of "The Horse", his second book. Above all else, however, Daniel considered his sons, Edward Charles Manoyan (33) and Randall Thomas Manoyan (30), as his crowning achievements. Both Edward and Randall will miss their father tremendously. Daniel is also survived by his loving sisters, Barbara Burke (Lone Rock, Wisconsin) and Judith Dembinsky (Wadsworth, Illinois), as well as his nephew, Richard Dembinsky, and his nieces, Elaina Burke-Solie and Laura Burke-Jarrell. Daniel was a first-class father, a loving sibling and uncle, and a devoted friend to a great many. 'Minnow' will be deeply missed by all those fortunate to have known him, The Manoyan family asks that all tokens of condolence be addressed to The Manoyan Family, 131 25th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53140.
Dennis Ginosi CHICAGO – Dennis Ginosi was still writing his story when he left the Chicago Tribune's newsroom in 1990 after many years as an award-winning editor. Over the next two decades, Ginosi and Kathleen Prendergast, whom he married in 2017, forged a new adventure overseas. After living in Costa Rica for a few years, they settled in a remote town in southern France. "Our French friends referred to Dennis as 'bon vivant,' which means someone who is a good liver," Prendergast said. "Dennis knew how to enjoy life, he enjoyed and knew about wine, and he enjoyed diving into
a challenge, such as learning French when you are no longer quite as young as most people who decide to learn a new language." Ginosi, 74, died May 1, 2020, at his Uptown Dennis Ginosi home of pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative lung disease. Ginosi and Prendergast moved back to Chicago about five years ago. Ginosi grew up on Chicago's North Side and attended Western Illinois University, where he studied English literature and philosophy, Prendergast said. Ginosi "always knew how to write and appreciated language," so he jumped at the chance to work at the Tribune after graduation, she said. In 1983, while hanging out at the Billy Goat Tavern, a haunt for the city's journalists then and now, Ginosi met Prendergast while discussing Harold Washington's mayoral prospects with other patrons. A few weeks later, Prendergast, who worked for the Chicago Public Library, left a book for Ginosi at the Tribune Tower's front desk. The pair began dating. Prendergast knew she liked Ginosi after he gave her a ride home one day, and the book drop was part of a plan to get his attention. "We had an interesting conversation, and he dropped me off," Prendergast recalled. "And I thought, 'He's one of these quiet guys. He's never going to call me, and I have to think of some strategy.’ ” At work, Ginosi was known as a thoughtful editor who always advocated for his writers, said John McCarron, a former Tribune reporter. The pair worked together closely when Ginosi oversaw special projects and McCarron was digging into anti-gentrification movements in Chicago neighborhoods. Ginosi edited the series, which won the national Heywood Broun Award in 1988. "Dennis was a steam engine," McCarron said. "He arranged for the best photographers to go shoot the stories once he saw the rough copy. … He went
into news meetings and he just argued the hell out of the series, so every installment was page 1, most of them above the fold. He just blew me away." Ginosi's skills were also recognized in 1974, when he was selected as the lead editor of a 300,000-word special section that included a transcript of President Richard Nixon's secret White House recordings during the Watergate scandal. The section was designed overnight so readers could have the information as soon as possible. "(Ginosi) had an infectious enthusiasm for our work, and he understood how you get the germ of an idea, … and he could just imagine what it was going to look like on the page," McCarron said. After his journalism career and time abroad, Ginosi was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2017, his wife said. He began home hospice care in early April, partly because he needed to avoid hospitals filled with coronavirus patients. In addition to his wife, Ginosi is survived by a sister, Marilyn Payton, and many nieces and nephews.
James Yuroff SPRINGFIELD - James "Jim" M. Yuroff, 67, of Sherman, died Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at his home. Jim was born Nov. 3, 1952, in Springfield, the son of Frank J. and Etherena Spitale Yuroff. He married Julie M. Peters in 1982, in Springfield. Jim graduated from Lanphier High School in 1970 and attended Lincoln Land Community College. He was employed by the State Journal-Register for 25 years, working in the pressroom until his retirement. He was a member of the printers union. Jim was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Julie; son, Justin (wife, Carolyn) Yuroff of Springfield; one grandchild; sister, Lynda (companion, Walter McNamara) Yuroff of Reno, Nev.; brothers-in-law, John II (wife, Vicky) Peters of Spaulding and Kenneth Peters of Springfield; and nephew, John Peters III.
32 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
The May-June 2020 edition of the Illinois Press Association's PressLInes publication.