CONVENTIONAL WISDOM This year's IPA/IPF virtual convention was loaded with informational and entertaining programming. Read the recaps inside, and watch the sessions again! (There are links.)
Programming, IPA team shined at convention
verybody at the Illinois Press Association is extremely glad that the annual convention is over. I had said that last September’s convention had the best programming of any convention that I had ever attended, and I’ve been to quite a few. But this year the bar was raised considerably. The staff put together 21 different sessions over a three-day period – amazing. We were fortunate to have both House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon kick off the convention. There were valuable advertising and editorial programs, and for those who didn’t have the opportunity to attend, they are all posted to the IPA website. As I said, I have attended many conventions and as a participant and never imagined the work involved in putting one together. Now I know. Work began on this convention almost after last September’s convention ended. Sandy Pistole sold the sponsorships and put together the ad programs. Jeff Rogers planned the editorial sessions and was the one who put together the contest awards presentations. Then there is Cindy Bedolli, who probably plays the most important role as she keeps us organized and keeps us on task. She coordinated practice sessions with presenters in the weeks before the convention. In addition, she sent all the convention emails, coordinated all the Zoom invites and responded to
countless members’ requests for help in accessing the sessions. Ron Kline was there to help us with any technical glitches, and then Tracy Spoonmore was our back-up to play the contest presentation videos. Thankfully, she was ready. The internet connection was terrible at the office on the day of the awards presentations, so she played them all from her SAM FISHER home. We had planned for any President & CEO possible problem, and I think that showed in how everything worked. I’m proud to have the honor of working with these folks who without exception are committed to doing the absolute best. As members you should be proud and thankful. So, we look to next year when we are not virtual, and we can actually see each other in person rather than through a computer screen. There will be fellowship, and probably a few catch-up cocktails. We’ll do those programs next year that deserve an in-person gathering, like recognizing our Distinguished Service Award winners and our first Mike Kramer Legislative Award. I hope to see everyone next year!
900 Community Drive Springfield, IL 62703 Ph. 217-241-1300 Fax 217-241-1301 www.illinoispress.org
Don Bricker | Chair Shaw Media, Crystal Lake Sue Walker | Vice-Chair Herald Newspapers, Inc., Chicago Dorothy Leavell | Treasurer Crusader Group, Chicago Ginger Lamb | Secretary Law Bulletin Media, Chicago Scott Stone | Immediate Past Chair Daily Herald Media Group, Arlington Heights
WATCH CONVENTION SESSIONS Click on the link to view: n House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch keynote n Senate President Don Harmon keynote n Flipping Objections on the Spot! n Get It Right With Good Hires n Broadening, Localizing Your Coverage of Agriculture n Sell More and Increase Efficiency Across the Board! n New Business Models for Newspapers n Build Credibility Through News Literacy n Prioritizing Coverage of Underserved Communities n Great Idea Exchange: That's My Idea! n Digital Selling Skills n Public Notices and Your Newspaper n Connecting With the Power Source n Optimizing Obituaries to Drive Traffic and Increase Revenue n Prep Sports During a Pandemic n Small Papers Have a Big Impact In Their Communities n Illinois Press Association Advertising Awards n Using Automation to Increase Audience Revenue and Engagement n Illinois Associated Press Media Editors Awards with Guest Speaker Robert Feder n Illinois Press Association Best of the Press Awards
DIRECTORS Stefanie Anderson Paddock Publications Inc./ Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group David Bauer Hearst Newspapers, Jacksonville Durrell Garth Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group Margaret Holt Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago
Rinda Maddux The Sidell Reporter Jim Slonoff The Hinsdalean, Hinsdale Ron Wallace Quincy Herald-Whig Nykia Wright Chicago Sun-Times
IPA STAFF | PHONE 217-241-1300 Sam Fisher, President & CEO Ext. 222 – email@example.com
Sandy Pistole, Director of Revenue Ext. 238 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Kline, Chief Technology Officer Ext. 239 - email@example.com
Tracy Spoonmore, Chief Financial Officer Ext. 237 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy Bedolli, Member Relations Ext. 226 - email@example.com
Jeff Rogers, Director of Foundation Ext. 286 – firstname.lastname@example.org
ILLINOIS PRESSLINES is published bimonthly for $30 per year for Illinois Press Association members by the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703. Jeff Rogers, Editor © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Volume 27 May-June 2021 Number 4 Date of Issue: 5/18/2021
Plenty of helpful info during convention sessions H ave you been looking for new ideas to increase revenue? Have you wanted to up your game in selling? Do you need help in hiring sales people? Do you need to step it up in digital sales? Are you confused with all the legislation about public notices? During our virtual convention, lots of information and ideas were shared to address those topics plus lots more. If you missed any session that you wanted to attend or had to miss the whole convention, you are in luck. You can go here to view to the recordings. You will want to watch, or watch again, all of the sessions because of the great info shared. Once again, thank you to all of our generous sponsors for bringing us this year’s convention. With their significant support, we are able to bring these sessions to you at no cost. Our platinum sponsor is LineUp; gold sponsors are Ameren Illinois, Modulist and Illinois Farm Bureau; silver sponsors are Our Hometown, Associated Press, Law Bulletin Media and Shaw Media; and bronze sponsors are METRO, Daily Herald Media Group, NuMark Credit
Union, LRS Web Solutions and Advantage Newspaper Consultants. The popular Ryan Dohrn gave us some real-time ways to overcome the objections we are all hearing. Have SANDY PISTOLE you heard “I can’t pay my rent much Director of Revenue less advertise” or “I only buy ads that can be tracked” or “No one reads print anymore?” Ryan talked about how to share success stories to overcome objections, and gave us some powerful words and statistics to use. Jackie Martin, ad director of The News-Gazette in Champaign; Jason Hegna, vice president of sales for Shaw Media; Bev Sams, advertising director with The Daily-Journal in Kankakee, and Brad Guettel, talent acquisition manager with Lee Enterprises, discussed how they find, interview, motivate and retain sales
people. Lots of great info was given in the “Get it Right with Good Hires” session. There is no magic formula in hiring. You have to use several different techniques to attract and retain sales reps. The popular “Great Idea Exchange – That’s My Idea!” did not disappoint. We had several entries this year that were new ideas and some that were refurbished. One winner was a circulation idea from a small weekly publication. We also had a sales contest entered that had great results. Any of these ideas can be adopted for a large or small paper. We also have a PDF of the ideas that were shared, and you can email me at spistole@ illinoispress.org to get a copy. Watch for upcoming monthly “That’s My Idea” sharing opportunities. Charity Huff, CEO of January Springs, gave us a lot of information in her one-hour session on “Digital Selling Skills.” She took us through the key skills and tools to arm your sales team successfully and pivot your business. Digital content consumption is up 70 percent yearover-year. Audience and access to those people are more important
than ever to local advertisers. Charity has much more to share with us, and is going to present a 4-part series on Digital Selling Skills for Illinois Press Association members. These onehour sessions are Jump-Start SalesBuilding Your Pipeline, at 10 a.m. May 27; Pricing, Packaging and the Value of ROI, at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, June 10; Show, Don’t Tell: The Power of the Case Study, 10 a.m. Thursday, June 24; and Audience, Audience, Audience, 10 a.m. Thursday, July 8. Please email me for more information. The “Public Notices and Your Newspaper” panel described the legislation that is threatening notices in Illinois newspapers. They gave important info that we can all use to preserve public notices in print and online at publicnoticeillinois.com. This is valuable info for not only your legal team but for everyone at your paper. We thank all the sponsors, speakers and participants for this year’s convention. Without all of you, it wouldn’t happen. It was fun to put together and deliver.
A father-son duo once again at Craven Law Offices
DON CRAVEN IPA Legal Counsel
am pleased to report that in June the staff of Craven Law Offices is expanding by one. Our son, Joseph, and his wife, Alyssa, and son, James (age 10 months), are moving from Texas back to Springfield. Joseph will be joining me in the law practice in June. He is very much looking forward to learning the arcane rules governing the newspaper industry in Illinois. Joseph has been practicing in Texas since his graduation from Baylor law in 2015. Alyssa is in the final stages of her Ph.D program, also at Baylor University. They have decided the time is right to come back to Illinois.
I look forward to having him here. As many of you know, I worked with my father for several years before his retirement, and I look forward to seeing that father-son work dynamic from the perspective Joseph Craven of father, not son. I expect we will be both be learning a bit more about the other. And obviously, Denise and I could not be happier that we will get to see James, and Alyssa, without enduring a 16-hour drive to do so. So, please call and introduce yourself to Joseph starting in June, and feel free to
bombard him with your questions about open meetings, FOIA, subpoenas, notices, the definition of a newspaper, and the like. I can only anticipate the puzzled look he will have on his face as he encounters some of these issues for the first time. I am not going anywhere (so far as I know). I will be here to answer those questions, review the stories, and do what I have done for the past 30 years. It will be nice to have the assistance, and I know that Joseph is looking forward to developing and furthering his relationships with you — and I am sure he will enjoy this work and the friendships with all of you as much as I do.
THE LEADING PROVIDER OF ERP REVENUE & MEDIA SALES MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
for ADVERTISING SALES MANAGEMENT
for SUBSCRIPTION REVENUE MANAGEMENT
Drive sales growth Improve operational performance Increase cash flow Simplify IT Improve analytics
Fast ROI Reduce TCO Grow recurring revenue Improve efficiencies Easily test new products and ideas
Lineup Systems has 100% of operations focused on driving revenue for media companies, connecting all areas of sales within a media business, providing a single version of truth on media sales and operational performance that empowers business growth. +1 (720) 961-9857 | lineup.com
Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Press Association collaborating to provide agriculture news SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association announced on May 5 that they are combining their communications resources to form a news service to deliver more news about the farming and food sector to the more than 400 Illinois Press Association member newspapers. The two organizations have collaborated on content that has been distributed through the Illinois Press Association in the past. This announcement makes that collaboration more formal and robust, Illinois Press Foundation Director Jeff Rogers said. “I know that many newspapers find coverage of agriculture increasingly difficult, because of the lack of resources and expertise,” Rogers said. “Because the farming and food sector is so vital to Illinois’ economy and the communities served by our member newspapers, I’m thrilled that Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association are teaming up to help make that coverage easier and more accessible.” Rogers said stories will be sent via email to Illinois editors and publishers, in much the same way that Capitol News Illinois content is
distributed. Rogers also is editor of CNI, a state government coverage news service operated by the Illinois Press Foundation with financial support from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Some stories will be collaborative efforts between reporters from both organizations. But there will also be content shared that is generated independently by Illinois Farm Bureau journalists or the Illinois Press Association’s communications team. “The idea is to provide more, and better ag coverage,” Rogers said. He said there also will be opportunities for collaborative reporting with journalists from IPA member newspapers.
DeAnne Bloomberg, director of issues management with Illinois Farm Bureau, said there will be more opportunities to help local reporters connect with IFB personnel and farmers in their coverage area. “Illinois Farm Bureau will be eager to put your reporters in contact with county Farm Bureau managers, agribusiness experts and local farmers to help you localize our stories,” Bloomberg said. Rogers said content will begin being distributed by the collaborative soon. He encourages editors to contact him to request specific stories or coverage. For more information about the agriculture news service, email Ro-
gers at email@example.com. The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 378,237 and a voting membership of 77,909. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers. The IPA was founded in 1865 as an organization for Illinois publishers. It has evolved into one of the largest state newspaper associations in the country representing more than 400 daily and weekly newspapers.
Kline promoted to chief technology officer at IPA Ron Kline
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Press Association President and CEO Sam Fisher announced that Ron Kline has been promoted to IPA’s chief technology officer. This title change more accurately reflects Kline’s current scope of work. “Many of our members can attest to Ron’s skills and willingness to help,” Fisher said.
Since Kline joined the IPA in 2010, he has been the driving force in developing the public notice site that currently hosts 18 other states’ public notice platforms. He developed the ACES contest platform that more than 25 press and journalism associations use to conduct their contests. And while Kline manages these critical IPA
products, he also oversees the IPA’s clip service. “I’ve met very few people that have the knowledge when it comes to technology but also the keen operational understanding that Ron has,” Fisher said. “The Illinois Press Association is very fortunate to have Ron’s talent and commitment.”
2021 CONVENTION AWARDS
The Hinsdalean, The News-Gazette take top advertising honors SPRINGFIELD – The News-Gazette of Champaign emerged as the top daily newspaper for advertising awards at the Illinois Press Association’s annual convention May 7. The Hinsdalean was crowned the top non-daily newspaper. The News-Gazette in Champaign received the James S. Copley Memorial Trophy for advertising achievement based on points accumulated in the IPA’s annual advertising and marketing contest, which was for work completed in 2020. The Copley Trophy was established and contributed by the Illinois division of Copley Newspapers in memory of James S. Copley, publisher of the San Diego Union and Tribune and owner of Copley Newspapers, Inc. The Hinsdalean received the Sam Zito Award of Excellence, which is named in honor of the longtime sales representative from Crystal Lake. Thirty-three newspapers submitted more than 400 contest entries. Division trophies were presented to the newspaper in each division that accumulated the highest number of points. Divisions include daily and weekly newspapers from smallest (G) to largest (J). [A-F divisions are non-advertising designations.] The Division G trophy was awarded to the Cass County Star-Gazette of Beardstown. The Division H trophy went to The Hinsdalean. The NewsGazette in Champaign claimed the Division I trophy. The Chicago Sun-Times was the winner of the Division J trophy. Division G includes newspapers with circulations of 1 – 4,000. Division H includes newspapers with circulations of 4,001 – 8,000. Division I includes newspapers with circulations of 8,001-30,000. Papers with a circulation of more than 30,000 compete in Division J. Members of the North Carolina Press Association judged the contest. The Illinois Press Association, located in Springfield, represents the interests of approximately 450 newspapers.
Click here to watch the awards presentation
The Hinsdalean (top left) won the Sam Zito Award of Excellence as the top non-daily newspaper in the state for advertising in 2020 with ads and marketing campaigns like its custom-made yard signs project (bottom left). The News-Gazette of Champaign (above) won the James S. Copley Memorial Trophy as the top daily newspaper in Illinois in advertising in 2020. Both trophy-winning papers are repeat winners.
2021 CONVENTION AWARDS
Advertising Sales Manager of the Year: Devan Vaughn, DuQuoin Call
Advertising Sales Representative of the Year: Kim Manoogian, The Telegraph of Alton
General Manager Stefanie Anderson (right) and colleagues surprise Devan Vaughn with the Illinois Press Association Advertising Sales Manager of the Year award outside the office of the DuQuoin Call. Vaughn, the advertising sales manager with Southern Illinois LOCAL Media, was honored in the advertising contest winners presentation May 7 during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual convention.
Carole Fredeking (left) presents Kim Manoogian with the Illinois Press Association's Advertising Sales Representative of the Year award in Alton. Both work in the advertising department at The Telegraph. Fredeking was last year's winner of the Advertising Sales Manager of the Year honor. Manoogian's honor was announced May 7 during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual virtual convention.
2021 CONVENTION AWARDS
Six sweepstakes-winning newspapers honored during editorial awards
Editorial Sweepstakes Winners Pictured: Division A: Oakland Independent Division B: The Hinsdalean Division C: Pioneer Press Media Group Division D: Daily Chronicle, DeKalb Division E: The News-Gazette, Champaign Di-
Click here to watch the awards presentation
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ top newspapers were honored today at the Illinois Press Association’s virtual convention. More than 100 daily and nondaily newspapers competed in 42 editorial categories. The North Carolina Press Association judged the more than 1,850 editorial entries for work done in 2020. The Chicago Sun-Times won the Stuart R. Paddock Memorial Sweepstakes Trophy for large dailies. The Sweepstakes Trophies are awarded to newspapers earning the most points in six different circulation divisions. Points are awarded for first place through honorable mention in most contest categories, including general excellence, photography, news writing, opinion writing, design, community service and editorial page. Runner-up for the Paddock Trophy was the Daily Herald Group, Arlington Heights. In third place was the Belleville News-Democrat. In the medium-sized daily newspaper category, The NewsGazette in Champaign took top honors for the seventh consecutive year. It was awarded the Mabel S. Shaw Memorial Sweepstakes Trophy. The Journal Star in Peoria claimed second place, and the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake placed third. In the small daily newspaper category, The Daily Chronicle in DeKalb claimed top honors. The newspaper was awarded the Patrick Coburn Award of Excellence. Coming in second for the Coburn Award was The Register-Mail
See EDITORIAL AWARDS on Page 12
2021 CONVENTION AWARDS
Reporter of the Year: Stacy St. Clair, Chicago Tribune
Editor of the Year: Jeff D'Alessio, The News-Gazette, Champaign
Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair (left) accepts the Illinois Press Association's Reporter of the Year award from Metro Columnist Mary Schmich at the newspaper's office. St. Clair was announced as this year's award recipient during the May 7 editorial contest awards presentation during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual virtual convention.
The News-Gazette team in Champaign honored its editor, Jeff D'Alessio, the recipient of this year's Illinois Press Association Editor of the Year award, with a must-see video. D'Alessio was honored during the editorial contest awards presentation in the Illinois Press Association/Foundation's annual virtual convention May 7.
2021 CONVENTION KEYNOTE PRESENTATION
Welch: Press integral part to democracy House speaker says media vital to restoration of faith in government BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association In kicking off the Illinois Press Association/ Foundation virtual annual convention on May 5, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said member newspapers curious about his commitment to transparency need look no further than his resumé. Before he got his start in politics 20 years ago, he worked 7 years as the weekend assignment editor for WGN. “I went to law school part-time at night while working on a news desk sending crews to stories in the Chicagoland area,” he said. “I believe all that experience helped me in this position I’m in today.” When a convention attendee asked Welch about the status and prospects of the local media task force bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, he further drove home his commitment to the Fourth Estate. “I will advocate for freedom of the press every day I’m here,” he said. “That is an integral part of our democracy. Checks and balances of people in power, including myself, that transparency is important. It’s how we restore faith in our government.” Welch said the bill is in the Labor Committee and urged IPA members to lobby for it. “Work that committee in the virtual space,” he said. “Members are taking calls and emails.” He said after Michael Madigan serving as House Speaker for as long as he did (36 years), faith in the government has been shaken. Hence, one of his first moves after being elected House speaker in January was throwing his weight behind legislation barring any lawmaker from serving more than five consecutive 2-year terms as House speaker or majority leader. “I don’t think you’ll ever see that again — at least not in Illinois,” he said, referring to Madigan’s 50 years in the Legislature and 18-term tenure as speaker. “That turnover brings in fresh ideas and fresh energy.” The bill passed unanimously in the House and is now in the Senate as the legislative session winds down toward its close at the end of the month.
Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch speaks via Zoom on May 5 during his keynote address to kick off the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual convention. (Credit: Zoom.us)
Click here to watch Welch's program “I’m hoping it goes to Gov. Pritzker’s desk soon,” Welch said, before listing a litany of pieces of legislation he’d like to see pushed through. “It’s a new day with new energy, and new excitement around here,” he said. “We’re going to work fast. We’re going to work decisively, but we’re going to do it in collaboration.” Welch had served as the state representative in the 7th District since 2013, but his career in politics began when he was elected to the Proviso Township High School board, on which he served 12 years, 10 of them as president. Welch led the creation of the Proviso Math and Science Academy, which is recognized by Chicago Magazine and U.S. News and World Report. “He did all this while balancing the school board’s budget for the first time since the early
‘90s,” said Sam Fisher, Illinois Press Association president and chief executive officer, during his introduction of Welch. Welch lauded the bill sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, that would make news literacy required in schools beginning in the 2022-’23 school year. “With social media, particularly, there’s an influx of misinformation. Citizens need to consume accurate news,” he said. “The insurrection we all saw Jan. 6 proves how dangerous false narratives can be. We need to start this conversation in our schools, and we have to take some responsibility and accountability of how our young minds are consuming this information. That starts with our curriculum.” To illustrate his appreciation for the media, Welch beamed with pride when he pointed out that during his run for school board, he was endorsed by the Pioneer Press, West Proviso Herald and Maywood Herald.
See WELCH on Page 12
2021 CONVENTION KEYNOTE PRESENTATION
'You're the gatekeepers of legitimate news' Senate President Harmon lauds work of press, especially his hometown paper BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Senate President Don Harmon has a bone-dry sense of humor. So when he was asked about the news literacy bill that has made its way to the Senate floor during a session Wednesday morning at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual annual convention, it was tough to gauge whether his response was tongue-in-cheek. “We find enough opposition to bills we pass without false stories being spread about what we’re trying to do,” said Harmon, who was elected to his post in January 2020 after John Cullerton retired. “In all seriousness, though, the past 5 or 6 years have shown us how important news literacy is, with the rise of fake news. The lies and conspiracy theories have had devastating consequences.” He made it clear he was being literal when he said social media is flooded with “Russian propaganda masquerading as real news.” “You’ve been under attack over the past few years, as well,” he said in his address to IPA members. “You’re the gatekeepers of legitimate news. Politicians and special interest groups are more than happy to spoon-feed you pre-written content, and you have an important job of making sure news is real and independent.” Whereas Wednesday morning’s first presenter, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, spent 7 years as an assignment editor for WGN, Harmon conceded that his stint as a journalist was short-lived. It began when he was a kid with a Chicago Daily News paper bag full and strapped to the handlebars of his Schwinn Stingray. “It was a hard career,” he said with a deadpan expression. “Journalism didn’t pay much back then, either.” Yes, he went on to be an English major at Knox College, and even covered sports for The Knox Student, but he quickly shifted gears and went to law school at the University of Chicago. “Graduation loomed, the real world beckoned, and decisions needed to be made,” he said. “So I ultimately chose to hang up my career
Illinois Senate President Don Harmon speaks via Zoom on May 5 during his keynote address to kick off the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual convention. (Credit: Zoom.us)
Click here to watch Harmon's program as a journalist and attended law school at the University of Chicago. I think everyone is better off for it.” Jokes aside, he said the Wednesday Journal newspaper in Oak Park has been a fixture at the Harmon household for as long as he could remember, and he lauds CEO and President Dan Haley for having the foresight to shift to the nonprofit model with Growing Community Media. He gained even more respect for the outfit when he sent a donation, but Haley & Co. returned the check. “They wanted to be independent, and that’s one of the reasons why the Wednesday Journal is such a vital, trusted part of the community where I live,” he said. “My staff has learned when it comes to Oak Park, the media pecking
order starts with the Wednesday Journal. The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune fall in somewhere behind it.” He said even before the Wednesday Journal hits doorsteps, when news is posted online on Tuesday nights, it “sets off an almost palpable buzz among Oak Parkers.” “As a reader and as a subscriber, I hope papers across the state will be able to keep doing this for generations to come,” he said. Just as he did with Welch, Jeff Rogers, director of the Illinois Press Foundation, asked Harmon for his thoughts on the bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, which would create a local media task force. It passed through the Senate, but must now make its way through the House Labor Committee. Before letting Harmon answer, Rogers first offered his take, which stems from a career of tracking such legislation.
See HARMON on Page 12
EDITORIAL AWARDS Continued from Page 8 in Galesburg, followed by The Telegraph in Alton. In the large, nondaily newspaper category, Pioneer Press Media Group in Chicago claimed the Will Loomis Memorial Trophy. The MidWeek in DeKalb received second place. The Journal & Topics Media Group received third place. The Harold and Eva White Memorial Trophy is awarded to a medium-sized nondaily newspaper. The winner this year was The Hinsdalean. Second place
went to The Journal-News in Hillsboro. And in third place was The Greenville Advocate. The Oakland Independent claimed ownership of the David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the best small, nondaily newspaper in Illinois. The Woodstock Independent received second place. And the third-place award was won by the Cass County Star-Gazette in Beardstown.
WELCH Continued from Page 10 “These were papers I grew up reading as a kid,” he said. “I always was proud anytime we appeared in our local weekly publication. The press means a lot to me.” That’s why he’s disheartened to see the plight of print media, exhibited by massive cuts at the State JournalRegister in Springfield, including the departures of political writer Bernie Schoenburg and statehouse reporter Doug Finke. “That newsroom is a shell of what it used to be,” he said. He urged the importance of journalists living in and immersing themselves in their communities, much like lawmakers. He sang the praises of Michael Romain, whom Growing Community Media just named its first equity reporter and ombudsman.
“Michael Romain and his team do a fabulous job, and they know my community,” he said. Welch said his hire of Jaclyn Driscoll, a former statehouse reporter for NPR Illinois and then St. Louis Public Radio, as his press spokesperson appeals to both journalists and downstate conservatives alike. “She was you a few weeks ago,” he said. “She lives in Metro East, which many of us in Chicago think is downstate. She lives on a farm. Her family is planting crops right now. To have someone like that in my inner circle at the table, someone to keep shaping my views as speaker, your style is just going to be different because of the voices you’re listening to. “[Her hire] was a great beginning, but it’s just the beginning.”
HARMON Continued from Page 12 “I know one of the things people think about when they hear ‘task force’ is something that goes somewhere to die, in terms of recommendations,” Rogers said. “But how do you think this particular task force could help newspapers, and what do you think the prospects are for it to pass this legislative session?” “I think it’s a great bill, and I was happy to see it passed through the
Senate without opposition,” Harmon said. “I certainly want to see local news thrive. Obviously this is a starting point, and I hope it would give important stakeholders the opportunity to share their ideas for keeping local news vibrant, and I hope it would give you all the opportunity to weigh in, as well. I would imagine the House would be happy to take it up.”
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
‘They have to sell themselves to me’ Panelists share tips on recruiting the best ad sales representatives BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association As the inventory that advertising sales representatives are selling keeps changing, the way media companies recruit the talent that make those sales must adapt as well, according to panelists who dug into the topic May 5 at the Illinois Press Association/ Foundation virtual convention. “The posting-and-praying method doesn’t work,” said Brad Guettel, talent acquisition manager for Lee Enterprises. “Simply posting a job listing on Indeed or in the classifieds hasn’t really netted us the sales people who are the top-tier folks we’re looking for. You’ve got to have more of an outside-the-box approach.” For instance, Jackie Martin, advertising director with The NewsGazette in Champaign, will leave a business card along with her tip when dining out. “If you’re in a restaurant and you get good service, and they’re bubbly with good energy, I’ll drop them my card,” she said. “I was a waiter for a long time in college, and upselling is what it’s all about,” said Jason Hegna, vice president of sales with Shaw Media. “It’s also a high-stress scenario when you’re being slammed with tables and dealing with the cooks in the background.” Guettel said rather than limiting the recruiting scope to media sales reps either working for competitors or seeking a new gig as a free agent, it’s time to seek talent in nontraditional industries. He mentioned go-getters in the hotel and real estate industries, former business owners, product experts, and universities’ enrollment advisers. In that vein, he said recruiting recent college graduates is a way to tap into
Panelists (clockwise from top left) Jackie Martin of The News-Gazette in Champaign, Brad Guettel of Lee Enterprises, Bev Sams of The Daily-Journal of Kankakee and Jason Hegna of Shaw Media, reveal their ideas on new ways to find good advertising sales representatives during the "Get It Right With Good Hires" session May 5 during the first day of the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual convention. (Credit: Zoom.us)
Click here to watch the "Get It Right With Good Hires" session. the hunger of fast-rising talent. “They’re eager to take on the world,” Guettel said. “They’re trainable and moldable, so you’re not untraining bad habits. They’re a big sponge ready to go.” Bev Sams, advertising digital and marketing director with the Kankakee Daily-Journal, said she hired a recruit from a local gym. And when her replacement showed a similar pedigree, Sams hired her, too.
“Anyone in the fitness industry who stands out is someone you need to talk to,” she said. Hegna said media companies have been missing a talent pool that’s right under their nose — well, maybe just down the hall, in the Editorial Department. “They already have their relationships,” Hegna said. “They’re already getting out there and asking difficult questions. They’re not
inhibited. They’re not afraid to get in front of people.” He said to retain talent, companies also need to rethink their compensation and get away from monthly sales goals. “If they think they’re not going to achieve their 85 percent and hit their digital sales mark, they’re going to trash that month and start working on the next one,” he said. Shaw Media now compensates from the very first sales dollar, and gives quarterly bonuses to both individuals and teams.
See RECRUITING on Page 14
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
Weighing whether to make the shift to nonprofit BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Newspaper leaders on the fence about switching over to the nonprofit model might consider data shared during an afternoon session of the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual annual convention May 5. Brant Houston, professor and Knight chair of the Investigative Reporting Journalism Department at the University of Illinois in UrbanaChampaign, said about only half of for-profit newspapers started in the past 15 years survived 5 years or longer, according to research done by the Small Business Administration and Labor Department. According to the Institute for Nonprofit News, 90 percent or more of nonprofit news organizations are
surviving. The transition is not to be taken lightly, however. It’s a lengthy process that needs buy-in, as it means transitioning from stockholders to a board. Houston said many sustainability factors are similar between private and nonprofit newspapers, including subscriptions, social media strategy, community events, collaboration and a hyper-local focus. The distinct difference is nonprofits’ reliance on donations — although even that is a practice being adopted by for-profit newspapers. “Some for-profit papers are asking for donations,” Houston said. “It’s become more common.” Houston warned that for nonprofit news organizations, the implications of the donations generated are
Click here to watch Brant Houston's session.
University of Illinois professor and Knight chair of the Investigative Reporting Journalism Department Brant Houston speaks during a session called "New Business Models for Newspapers" on May 5. Houston was speaking during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual convention. (Credit: Zoom.us)
More discussion about nonprofit news! Brant Houston and Illinois Press Foundation Director Jeff Rogers were part of a panel discussion held April 28 by the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield titled "Nonprofit Journalism: Its Role In Your Community." Watch it here! significant. “Nonprofit newsrooms need to do better than break even, because they need to have a rainy-day fund, like all nonprofits,” he said.
Houston said INN advises newspapers that make the move to disclose at least 85 percent of where their donations come from, in order to be
See NONPROFIT on Page 15
RECRUITING Continued from Page 13 Hegna said kitsch works wonders as a motivator, too. Shaw has something of a traveling trophy — a Sales Shark bobblehead that goes to the top digital sales rep. They get a gift card, too. Guettel said that sort of camaraderie-building is crucial. He also said fostering that sort of environment starts while interviewing job candidates. “Are they going to be a good fit for the team, or are they going to be a lone wolf?” he said. “Culture is a very
big piece of the puzzle.” That said, Hegna said the best reps need to be self-driven, so he asks candidates about the last time they competed for something. “If you’re not competitive, you’re going to have a hard time,” he said. Before they so much as step into the office, or into a Zoom sales pitch, the first sale an applicant for a sales job needs to close is the interview. “They have to sell themselves to me,” Sams said.
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
Baldwin: News literacy creates better news consumers, trust in media BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Mark Baldwin, the longtime newspaper editor who retired from the Rockford Register Star at the end of 2020, explained ways to enlist soldiers in the war against misinformation during a May 5 afternoon session at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual annual convention. He readily conceded that it’s easy to consider surrender when your newsroom staff is getting smaller. But he urged executives to look outside their walls. In the community, he cited school teachers, librarians, and public radio affiliates as ideal partners. Teachers are vital allies because, as Baldwin emphasized six ways from Sunday, those students are our future news consumers, and also because teachers are on the front lines, watching students get their information on their cellphones. “You don’t really need to convince
Former Rockford Register Star Executive Editor Mark Baldwin discusses ways that newspaper editors and reporters can promote news literacy during a session May 5 of the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual convention. (Credit: Zoom.us)
Click here to watch the "Build Credibility Through News Literacy" session. teachers that media literacy is important,” Baldwin said. “They see the kids on their phones, and they know the backgrounds and family
settings they come from are wildly divergent. In some ways, this can be like turning a battleship in a bathtub, but teachers love this stuff.”
As executive editor in Rockford, he first got news literacy curriculum into parochial schools Rockford Lutheran and Boylan Catholic, but he said one public school superintendent came around when his children were talking about news at the dinner table and couldn’t name a single source attached to the information. “That was a bright light going on for him, when it came up at his own dinner table,” Baldwin said. “He gets it now.” He said libraries are a key resource because they have amenities such as conference rooms and WiFi, but also because of the champions of the truth who work there. “Librarians thirst for truth,” he said. “They are very eager to get involved in this. They understand what’s at stake for the wider culture.” In an age where collaboration is becoming more vital and accepted, Baldwin said public radio affiliates are a logical partner in community education.
See NEWS LITERACY on Page 16
NONPROFIT Continued from Page 14 perceived as running on “dark money.” “So transparency is crucial,” he said. “With nonprofits, the law doesn’t require donors be revealed. It’s something that can be a really serious problem.” A hefty domino fell in January 2020, when the Salt Lake Tribune addressed declining revenue by making the move to the nonprofit model and becoming a 501(c)(3). That was made possible when newspapers were allowed to achieve that status under the umbrella of education, Houston said. Since 2009, the number of nonprofit news organizations – some printed products but many digital only — in the U.S. has taken off from 25 to 300, Houston said, adding that shifting to the non-
profit model is an alternative to being bought up by larger newspaper groups. Ronald Roenigk, editor of Inside Publications, asked Houston whether it’s easier to sell a nonprofit newspaper to a new owner, when compared to a for-profit paper. “I think so,” Houston said. “Unless they see a clear route to a profit, they’re just seeing a lot of bad forecasts for digital advertising. And there isn’t pressure from stockholders.” Several Illinois news organizations have made the nonprofit move, and are thriving. Block Club Chicago has amassed 6,000-plus subscribers, and is the sought-after news source for each distinct
community in Chicago. When 22nd Century Media shuttered its doors in spring of 2020, its publisher broke away with two colleagues from the newspaper group to form The Record North Shore, which puts a laser focus on northern suburbs. In the western suburbs, the Wednesday Journal completed its move to the nonprofit model when it became Growing Community Media in late 2019. So when Dan Haley had to leave the afternoon session early to attend a strategic planning session, he was like a choir member skipping out of church. “That’s a perfect example of a nonprofit that’s doing things right,” said Jeff Rogers, Illinois Press Foundation director.
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
BND self-examination on race ‘getting us on the track for the first time’ BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association
Click here to watch the "Prioritizing Coverage of Underserved Communities" session.
Like much of America, Jeffry Couch has been doing some serious self-examination in the past year. The editor and general manager of the Belleville News-Democrat didn’t mince words as he described the newspaper’s coverage of underserved communities during a May 5 afternoon session of the Illinois Press Association’s virtual annual
convention. “We’ve done a really bad job covering it,” he said, stopping himself and seemingly realizing that assessment was soft. “We’ve never covered it adequately. We’ve covered it horribly in our history, we’re realizing.” He also said exclusively acknowledging past
failures, without figuring out how to do better, is a missed opportunity. “Looking back over the newspaper’s 162-year history is a very painful process, but I think it’s what we have to do going forward,” he said. “On a parallel track, we have to be working every single
See SELF-EXAMINATION on Page 18
NEWS LITERACY Continued from Page 15 “Their values are more aligned with ours than any other form of media, in my experience,” he said. “Get them on board.” The other resource Baldwin said is often overlooked? Nonprofits whose sole purpose is to advance news literacy. He was banging the news literacy drum long before masks and COVID-19 vaccines were somehow politicized and QAnon grew in prominence. About 10 years ago, he began bringing Alan Miller of the News Literacy Project to Associated Press Media Editors and American Society of News Editors events. Baldwin also cited MediaWise (poynter.org/mediawise), the Center for News Literacy housed at Stony Brook University (centerfornewsliteracy.org), and the Center for Online Reasoning (Stanford History Education Group at cor.stanford.edu) as excellent partners. But he calls NLP, which has been around more than 15 years, the “Cadillac” of news literacy allies. He said NLP’s Checkology program is a premier news literacy tool, and it’s recently been made available for free. Baldwin said this war on
misinformation stems from a troubling percentage of Americans not embracing the core values of journalism: oversight, transparency, factualism, giving voice to the less powerful, and social criticism, as broken out by the Media Insights Project. He shared harrowing results of a survey the project conducted. The bulk of those surveyed fell into the bucket of being the most skeptical of journalism values, and those whose moral values emphasize respect for leaders and groups. About half of people in that bucket identified as Republicans and 30 percent as Democrats, while about 14 percent were liberal. To exhibit the disconnect with news consumers, 60 percent of those in that group said they think the news is accurate, yet just one-third of them consider the media trustworthy. Just 13 percent said the press is moral. As for the 20 percent of surveytakers who fell into the bucket of being supportive of journalism values, and those who value fairness and care for others, just 26 percent consider the media moral. “That’s pretty disturbing,” Baldwin said. In the spirit of solutions-based
journalism, Baldwin ran down a list of ways newsrooms can build trust with the communities they cover, including writing columns and stories that provide context and explanations for the reporting process. He pointed out some outside-the-box ways to show transparency, such as producing videos, podcasts, or even interviewing the reporters who are covering complex issues. Perhaps most powerful, though, is an age-old form of transparency: showing your work. That means publishing court records, documents unearthed through FOIA, and audio and video recordings of subjects interviewed. “Challenge people to check your reporting, by providing them what they need,” Baldwin said. “You’ll not only be bolstering your credibility, but you’ll be teaching your readers the questions to ask to learn the veracity of information.” Jeff Rogers, director of the Illinois Press Foundation, asked Baldwin for advice on how to provide those tools, given how strapped newsrooms are. “Some of it is part of their workflow,” Baldwin said. “If they’re doing their jobs and assembling documents, they have a lot of this stuff
close at hand. It requires leadership in the room to be very intentional about explaining how we do the work. That takes leadership from the top. Let the work set you up to do the backstory.” “I think the sort of reporters who are doing investigative work are more likely to be open about how they’re doing the work,” Rogers added. “Absolutely,” Baldwin said. He then re-emphasized the importance of identifying ambassadors who can help with news literacy, including community resources and nonprofits. “Nobody expects you to do this on your own,” he said. “There are folks in the community who will be eager to help you spread the news literacy gospel.” Baldwin said the investment of time and resources into transparency is a path toward better health for both communities and the newsrooms that cover them. “This isn’t a political movement. It’s a movement toward critical thinking,” Baldwin said. “This is a chance to build a better news consumer. And if we build a better news consumer, there’s only one place they’re going to go for their information: to us.”
SELF-EXAMINATION Continued from Page 16 day to improve the coverage. We’re not just looking back on what we’ve done wrong. It’s a whole newsroom effort to do better. “It is a project, that’s getting us on the right track — getting us on the track for the first time, really.” He explained how getting involved with Report for America, which brought in a reporter who covers the impoverished Metro East communities of East St. Louis and Cahokia Heights, was key. The newspaper went through the intense process of pitching its case to RFA in late 2019, and was awarded two reporters — Megan Valley to cover education, and DeAsia Paige to cover communities of color. The RFA covers half of the salaries of the reporters it places, and the newspaper must raise funds to cover the other half. RFA’s chief goal is getting reporters into underserved beats throughout the country. Couch said it’s crucial that the BND cover those communities holistically. That means covering the good, not just the bad and the ugly. It’s an about-face from historical practices. “Readers would tell you our coverage there has been big crime, breaking news, which might be crime, big high school sports, and swooping in for investigative reporting,” he said.
Being Black in America Also taking part in the IPA’s session was Jeff D’Alessio, editor of The News-Gazette in Champaign, who activated Black members of the community to overhaul the paper’s coverage of race — 72 of them in total. Over 5 months in mid-2020, The News-Gazette published 42 guest editorials over 5 months, 40 of them on A1, as part of its Being Black in America series. Guest writers lined up from clergy to school administrators — including Robert Jones, the chancellor of the University of Illinois who penned a 50-inch outline of
Jeffry Couch (left), general manager and editor of the Belleville News-Democrat, and Jeff D'Alessio, editor of The News-Gazette in Champaign, discuss their newspapers' efforts to improve coverage of underserved communities in a panel discussion May 5 during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation's virtual convention. (Credit: Zoom.us) the atrocities he’s witnessed, or been subjected to, as a Black man in America. “A lot of our white readers had no idea that this was their experience, even still in 2020,” D’Alessio said. “This was to educate people that this isn’t just in Atlanta (where D’Alessio previously worked). It’s everywhere.” The series has had significant aftereffects. It helped The News-Gazette add columnist Jay Simpson, a former local basketball standout who, while going to Purdue University on scholarship before an injury cut that career short, amassed exactly zero journalism experience before joining the paper. “He writes three times a week on topics our other columnists wouldn’t have the experience to write on,” said D’Alessio, who listed several of them, including “The Talk” parents give their children when laying out how Black people must deal with police. Once the series ran its course, 30 members of the community joined those 42 columnists and the newspaper to form an advisory panel that helped form a Black Lives Matter plan, and that continues to guide the newspaper’s coverage. “Trust is so important, and you can’t just get it by email,” D’Alessio said. “You’ve got to give people a reason to trust you. I feel like we have that, and you don’t want to let it go.”
Trust is earned Couch, conversely said he knows
the BND hasn’t earned underserved communities’ trust, but that progress is being made. “Our goal here is not to build subscribers or advertisers right away,” he said. “Our goal is to build trust. Everything else will come later.” Paige is all too aware of how neglected the communities she covers feel, and the significance of a Black woman being the one bridging the gap. “The community recognizes me, and it knows who I am,” she said during a previous conversation with the IPA. St. Clair County, which is the BND’s predominant coverage area, is about 40 percent Black, while just two of the 15 members of the BND’s editorial staff are Black. “We don’t reflect our market,” Couch said. D’Alessio said, however, that oftentimes papers’ lack of diversity isn’t for lack of trying. “You can’t just fire everyone and replace them,” he said. “So when we’ve had opportunities, we’ve tried to attract diverse candidates. We’ve had very few opportunities.” Mark Baldwin, who recently retired as executive editor of the Rockford Register Star, recently told the IPA that people of color aren’t pursuing careers in traditional media because they don’t feel seen. “There’s an awful lot of coverage of communities of color that’s been the bread and circuses variety,” Baldwin said. “You cover festivals, or Cinco
de Mayo or Juneteenth. That’s not journalism for the community. That’s journalism done by nice white people.”
Gauging early returns Couch is encouraged by what he’s seeing. In terms of metrics, he said Mother Baltimore, Paige’s biweekly newsletter on coverage of race and identity in the Metro East, has the best open rate of any McClatchy newsletter. On a broader scope, he’s heartened by what he sees when he looks over the entire paper. He said Valley has done an exceptional job incorporating diverse sources, as has politics writer Kelsey Landis. “If one or two people are doing this, the rest of the room is picking it up, and we’re all talking about diversity and stories that serve diverse audiences. My staff is very jazzed up about being a more diverse newsroom.” D’Alessio laughed as he described a recent conversation with a Black source who thanked him for reaching out on a story that had nothing to do with race. Couch said he braced for pushback against the enhanced coverage of underserved communities. “I haven’t gotten it,” he said. D’Alessio said he’s heard from maybe 10 people who made a stink about the Being Black in America series. “To those 10 people, I say good riddance. I’ll pay for their subscriptions,” he said.
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
$400K idea, blue ribbon winners spotlighted in Great Idea Exchange session BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association While four newspapers were awarded $50 for their innovative revenue-generating ideas, Shaw Media recently made off with nearly $400,000. Maureen Ringness beamed with pride as she described the Contract Closing Contest during the first session of the May 6 lineup at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual convention, which was held virtually this year. Ad reps crafted two proposals per month over three months for a total of six pitches. Each proposal had to include digital elements, and it needed to generate revenue from new accounts. The goal was $157,000. The result was $395,000 and change. The charm, from Ringness’ perspective, was that the reps worked in concert with general managers, publishers and the four digital specialists throughout Shaw’s Illinois markets. “I love this one because we had everyone involved,” she said. “Usually it’s just reps, and everyone just pats them on the back. Everyone had skin in the game.” The IPA enlisted representatives from about 10 of its members to share their ideas during the annual convention session, a revenue idea exchange titled “That’s My Idea!” Shaw submitted six initiatives, including a graduation special section. While newspapers stateline to stateline sated families’ hunger for recognition for their graduating seniors, the Daily Journal in Kankakee earned a blue ribbon and $50 for its idea to sell bundles of graduation materials to readers. The paper had yard signs and banners printed at a local shop, and sold all three products together, generating about $10,000 in revenue. “It was kind of a one-stop shop with us,” said Bev Sams, advertising digital and marketing director with the Daily Journal, adding that her team just began the process again for the high school seniors’ upcoming rite of passage. “We’re trying to keep up with the people who reached out to us and want to buy them.” Another blue ribbon went to The News-Gazette in Champaign, which submitted five initiatives in total. It was the weekly Farm Family of the Week broadsheet that earned $50.
Maureen Ringness (top right), digital sales manager with Shaw Media, talks about the Contract Closing Contest revenue-creating project May 6 during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual convention. Ringness and representatives of nine other news organizations participated in the annual revenue idea exchange entitled "That's My Idea!" (Credit: Zoom.us)
Click here to watch the "Great Idea Exchange - That's My Idea!" session. The page features reader-submitted materials, including a photo for the centerpiece feature on a local farmer, who completes a Q&A form, saving on a writer who would have written a feature story. Another standout initiative from The NewsGazette is the $35 printed obituary keepsakes it sells to readers. The keepsakes not only generate additional revenue, but they also satisfy those callers who want to see an obituary reprinted. “We’re always looking for ways to make more money without ticking off our subscribers or going back to advertisers for more money,” said Mike Goebel, managing editor of The News-Gazette. Advertising Directory Jackie Martin said in one case, a customer bought 400 keepsakes. “They’ve been selling like hotcakes,” Goebel said. The first blue ribbon handed out during the session went to Rinda Maddox, owner and editor of the Sidell Reporter. When the local school district consolidated
with a nearby community, the newspaper found itself covering a brand new community. “We just couldn’t get people interested, or to subscribe,” she said. So she took the paper to the streets — literally. She went to local parades and events and handed out 25-sheet note tablets with a coupon for six free issues at the top page. Maddox said she got a 25 percent return in the form of subscribers. Not all ideas are originals. The Clinton Journal won a blue ribbon for its “I Believe in Clinton” broadsheet. For $599, an advertiser gets a 2-by-4 ad on the page every month, as well as a staffwritten business feature that runs atop one of the pages. The cost is a steep discount, and Katy O’GradyPyne, the Journal’s general manager and publisher, said businesses lined up after the initiative launched. “It’s really kind of an old idea, but we hadn’t done it in a long time,” O’Grady-Pyne said.
20 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
Another battle won, but war for public notices in newspapers continues BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Bills aimed at eliminating public notices in the press appear dead. But they’ll likely be back next year. The “big boy,” as David Manning described it during an Illinois Press Association/Foundation convention session May 6, is House Bill 811, which pertains to electronic publication of notices. It’s been re-referred to the House Rules Committee, where it’s destined to die. “The mothership of bills we wanted to kill is dead for this
Click here to watch the "Public Notices and Your Newspaper" session. legislative session,” said Manning, a lobbyist with the IPA from Manning Consulting. “But it’s a fight we expect to see year after year.” He said if public notices would no longer be required to be published in newspapers, the obvious fallout would be loss of revenue. But there’s a deeper, ethical threat. “Some see it as a financial battle, which it certainly is,” Manning said. “But it’s also the underlying public policy rationale, of the
transparency of government records and the indelible records that are in newspapers.” He said if the notices are housed only on government websites, districts could make information difficult to find. So how can newspapers, from small-but-mighty weeklies to the state’s biggest dailies, be proactive in the fight? Sue Walker, general manager of Herald Newspapers Inc. and vice
president of the IPA Board, rattled off a litany of ways “newspapers create problems for themselves”, from going down too far in terms of publishing frequency or page counts to improper consolidations. Her solution, which she repeated three times in as many minutes: Any time a publisher considers changing something mechanical with the newspaper, they should call the IPA. “It’s much easier to confront a challenge than to undo a problem,” she said.
See PUBLIC NOTICES on Page 21
Bills to watch as legislative session nears end As the Illinois General Assembly begins the home stretch toward its scheduled May 31 adjournment, the fate of many bills tracked and lobbied by the Illinois Press Association is becoming more clear. Several bills which would have removed public notice requirements are stalled. They include: House Bill 811 (Rep. Jonathon Carroll, D-Northbrook): Provides that whenever a governmental unit, community college district, or school district is required to provide notice by publication in a newspaper by law, order of the court, or contract, the governmental unit may publish the notice on an official government website instead of a newspaper. HB 3001 (Rep. Dave Severin, R-Marion): Requires a school board to publish a notice that the district’s annual statement of affairs is available on the State Board of Education’s internet website and in the district’s main administrative office (instead of requiring a summary of the statement of affairs to be published). HB 674 (Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison): Provides that specified public officers who are required to make statements
concerning the use of public funds shall also publish such statements in a newspaper of general circulation. Amends the Fire Protection District Act to provide that all ordinances imposing any penalty or making any appropriations in a fire protection district shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general DAVID circulation in the district. MANNING This bill would have the effect of cutting out weekly Government Relations publications from these notices. The law already states that if a paper is not published in the town, then it shall be published in a paper in the county. HB 3778 (Rep. Aaron Ortiz, D-Chicago): Bans the advertising of prescription drugs through broadcast by a television or radio station in this state, over the internet from a location in this state, or in a magazine or newspaper printed, distributed,
or sold in this state. Provides that a violation is an unfair or deceptive practice under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Still moving is legislation which the IPA opposed but negotiated with stakeholders and the sponsor to remove harmful provisions. HB 2542 (Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago) as introduced provided a mechanism for victims of trafficking or genderrelated identity to change their names. In addition, the bill deleted the requirement that all name changes be published. The bill was amended as a result of IPA opposition to reinstate the publication requirement but to allow an individual to go before a judge to demonstrate hardship under oath to request that they not be required to publish the name change. Other bills opposed by the IPA have also been stalled: SB 482 (Sen. Christina Castro, D Elgin): Modifies the requirements by which an open or closed meeting may be conducted by audio or video conference without the physical presence of a quorum of the members.
See MANNING on Page 21
PUBLIC NOTICES Continued from Page 20 Sam Fisher, president and chief executive officer of the IPA, said Illinois was the first state to have a mandatory upload, meaning all notices must be posted online. “Compliance is absolutely critical,” Fisher said, adding that some papers still aren’t posting a link on their websites to public notices. “For those who have done it, please try not to bury it.” The IPA’s legal counsel, Don Craven, recommended that publishers establish relationships with entities that must publish their notices, from library boards to fire and police departments. “They’re customers, too. Treat them like customers. Send someone to see them. You can’t treat public notices like an entitlement anymore. You have to tell them what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and tell them what deadlines they need to meet.” Fisher said establishing a rapport with legislators in newspapers’ coverage area is crucial, as well.
“Our businesses are built on relationships, and we need those relationships,” he said. After all, one of the fights this legislative session stemmed from a fire protection district in McLean County that got involved with a bill after it published its notice in a Champaign County paper. “They screwed up, so they didn’t get their tax levy,” Manning said. “Ultimately, they did it right and got their money, but it took a while.” Manning said annual vigilance and awareness of proposed bills that threaten public notices in newspapers is crucial, given that other states have lost these sorts of battles. Ginger Lamb said while the bills all appear dead this session, she won’t feel certain until the gavel falls. “They could always do some crazy things in the wee hours of the night,” Lamb said. “We’re not over yet.”
MANNING Continued from Page 20 SB 526 (Sen. Laura Fine, D-Glenview): Provides that records of any investigation by a law enforcement agency into a crime described in the Homicide Article of the Criminal Code of 2012, if the act occurred less than 80 years before the date of the request, are exempt from disclosure. Provides an exception to the protection from disclosure if the act was alleged to have been committed by a law enforcement officer. Still alive: HB 3823 (Senate sponsor, John Conner, D-Crest Hill): Amends the Self-Storage Facility Act to provide that the owner of a self-storage facility may satisfy the requirement to publish the lien sale in any commercially reasonable manner (rather than publish once
a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation where the self-service storage facility is located). The bill passed the House over IPA opposition and awaits action in the Senate. IPA is actively working against the bill. SB 134 (Sen. Steve Stadleman, D-Rockford): Establishes the Local Journalism Task Force. Members of the task force would be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders in addition to prescribed appointments which include the Illinois Press Association. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and awaits action in the House. Thanks to all IPA members who answered the call to contact their legislators and file witness slips on several of these bills.
22 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
The power of Google tools: ‘I had no idea you could do that’ BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association If the internet used to be a haystack where journalists went hunting for a needle-like, specific piece of data, Google tools are a blowtorch. Mike Reilley, the Society of Professional Journalists’ digital trainer in the Google News Initiative program, presented a list of innovative tools that will put journalists in the fast lane of the information superhighway May 6 at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation Mike Reilley virtual annual convention. “I’m captivated watching all the things you can do with these tools,” Jeff Rogers, director of the Illinois Press Foundation, said in recapping the session. Some of the tools are relatively new. Google Fact Check Explorer (which is more or less exactly what it sounds like) has been around about a year and a half, Reilley said, but it’s just been moved out of beta. You simply type your topic into the search window, and you’ll get the most recent fact-checks on any online content, from articles and blogs to social media posts. “It can save you a lot of pain in the long run,” Reilley said. With the Google Dataset Search tool, journalists can isolate data sets by simply typing in what they’re looking for, and then sifting through reports that have compiled data on the topic. Most sources include
See GOOGLE TOOLS on Page 23
Are Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez dating again? Was a video from Gaza of a man's funeral fake? Reporters and editors can get answers to endless questions like this on Google Fact Check Explorer, one of many Google tools Mike Reilley covered during his presentation May 6 during the Illinois Press Association/ Foundation virtual convention.
But wait, there's more! Mike Reilley, the Society of Professional Journalists' digital trainer in the Google News Initiative program, will be presenting more sessions available to Illinois Press Association members for free! Here are some details: Data Scraping and Graphics for Your Newsroom (12:30 p.m., Thursday, June 24) Data scraping with Google Sheets and building interactive charts and graphics with Google Flourish. Participants also will learn how to scrape data from .PDFs using the free Tabula tool. Prior to the session, participants should download Tabula at http://tabula. technology and set up a free account at http://flourish.
studio. Google Earth Tools (1-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5) Learn how to pull archival satellite photos and create video tours using the free Google Earth Pro tool. We'll also experiment with Google Earth Timelapse and the Earth Measure tool, as well as look at practical examples of how to use these tools in your reporting. Prior to the session, download Google Earth Pro on your computer from the link at the bottom of this page: https://www.google.com/earth/versions/ Watch for emails and eBulletins with registration information soon!
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
IHSA optimistic for fall ball, could spring a surprise postseason in June BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association In about five weeks, the IHSA will have a serious game-time decision on its hands: whether to call an audible and add a state tournament for boys volleyball and lacrosse. Executive Director Craig Anderson was prepared to express his optimism for a fall sports season that will bear resemblance to the 2019 campaign during a May 6 afternoon session at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual convention. Then, minutes before the Zoom call began, Gov. JB Pritzker announced the state is on track to
Click here to watch the "Prep Sports During a Pandemic" session. enter a bridge phase starting May 14, with hopes of entering Phase 5 of full reopening from COVID-19 restrictions on June 11. Clearly John Radtke, the Daily Herald’s high school sports editor, had gotten the news. He asked whether the IHSA could make any changes to spring sports. At the moment, given the close contact involved with lacrosse and volleyball, teams aren’t allowed to compete statewide in a championship. “The end of our season is June 19, so come June 11 we’ll have to make
some quick decisions,” Anderson said, on whether impromptu postseason play could happen in those sports. The IHSA hasn’t had a shortage of unprecedented, near-impossible decisions to make over the past 14 months. It quickly had to scrap the 2020 spring sports season last March, and it didn’t win any popularity contests when prep football was postponed to spring — while every neighboring state proceeded in the fall. The IHSA followed Illinois
Department Public Health guidelines to the letter amid barbs, and even a lawsuit, from student-athletes’ families. When it came to winter sports, however, the IHSA considered proceeding with the boys’ and girls’ hoops seasons in opposition of IDPH guidelines and recommendations. Anderson said the IHSA board’s logic was that just days before the season was set to start, Pritzker announced that the IDPH was elevating the risk associated with basketball from medium to high. “You think you have everything in place,” he said. “We went the entire
See IHSA on Page 24
GOOGLE TOOLS Continued from Page 22 when the data was last updated, the author, any multimedia, and the methodology. Most often there’s also a button to download the data. What that tool doesn’t provide is a fact-check. “That’s still your job as journalists,” Reilley said. “Some of these are media outlets, some are nonprofits.” With the Google Public Data Explorer, journalists can bring data to life. Once you tell Google the data you’re looking for and narrow it down with filters, the tool generates an interactive graphic. Users can change the format to a scatter chart, a bubble map, or even an animated bar chart. Here’s perhaps the best part. With a click on a link in the upper-right corner of the tool, journalists can get an HTML code to bring the data to life for readers. With Google Earth Engine Timelines, journalists can view and share 37 years of satellite imagery. Think agriculture development, flooding, tornado damage and the slow melt of a glacier. Reilley has helped journalists leverage the tool while reporting
on hurricanes. Reilley is a former web editor at the Chicago Tribune, so he’s all too familiar with the power of these tools in digital storytelling To incorporate the visuals in print, he said screengrabs work wonderfully, but also recommended checking out Google Flourish (free training on that tool and others is coming this summer) or Data Wrapper. Journalists can draw on maps with Google Map Checking to get estimates on crowd sizes. They can find academic articles and case law through Google Scholar. Rogers (and most attendees, undoubtedly), were shocked to see the versatility of such standard Google tools as Google Images. Did you know you can drag an image into the tool and fact-check it against articles that have been written about the image? “I had no idea you could do that,” Rogers said. Google Images also has a safeguard against copyright infringement. When you search for images, click on “Tools” and apply the filter
“Creative Common licenses,” “to make sure you don’t get sued,” Reilley said. Google Earth, similarly, is no longer just a means to see actual terrain and neighborhoods. Google has added a tool allowing you to measure distances between, say, the location of an active shooter and their target, or the distance of a police chase. Rather than Googling tools you’re interested in, use the 44-page, comprehensive training Google doc Reilley put together at http://bit.ly/ spjresources. Or email him at mikereilley1@gmail. com. He’ll be doing free training sessions this summer, but in the meantime you can check out more than 20,000 tools in the Journalist’s Toolbox (https://www.journaliststoolbox.org/). Reilley recommends slowly working the tools into your daily workflow, and telling all your friends. “Make this stuff your own. Share it,” Reilley said. “The more people who know how to use these tools, the better.”
24 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson talks about navigating high school sports through the COVID-19 pandemic during a session May 6 during the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual convention. (Credit: Zoom.us)
IHSA Continued from Page 23 fall with basketball being moderate risk, and just as we were ready to commence that season, the governor came out and said it was higher risk. “The way we got notified was frustrating. We were kind of blindsided by that one in particular.” Anderson said Illinois was one of a few states practicing such a level of caution, and the only one in the Midwest. “In the Midwest, we felt like we were on an island,” he said. “You had to go to the far-East Coast or the far-West Coast to find other states as cautious as Illinois.” The IHSA quickly postponed the basketball season to spring when it saw in a survey of its 800-member schools that half of them didn’t feel comfortable proceeding with sports, and a quarter of them were unsure. “About 75 percent of our basketball-playing schools weren’t going forward,” Anderson said. “That was a message well-received from our survey.” He said the IHSA voiced its concerns to Pritzker and the IDPH as it heard reports that students were traveling elsewhere, even far out of the state, to play. “Kids were still playing,” he said. “They were just playing a long ways away from where they typically would. We knew our students were suffering without these
opportunities. Kids needed an outlet, and that weighed heavy on me. We were starting to hear and understand that our students’ mental health was suffering. There were days and times when we really wanted to do more for our students but were really held back.” In accordance with the IDPH guidelines, prep football and basketball just wrapped up this spring without a postseason, while track and field is headed toward longawaited state championships. The bridge phase means going from 25 to 60 percent capacity, which means potentially more family and fans in attendance. The pie in the distant sky, however, is prep football and the rest of fall sports kicking off with practices as planned on Aug. 9. Anderson said it’s unclear what that will look like, in terms of crowd sizes once games start, and whether athletes will have to wear facial coverings. But he’s optimistic, given that the IHSA pulled off a full hoops and football season this spring, even if it didn’t conclude with state championships. “I feel like we’re on pace that, as we get back going in the fall, to be right back in the spot where there’s some normalcy, and on time,” he said. “That feels good to talk about that and hope that plays out.”
26 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
Small-but-mighty newspapers make big impact in their communities BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association No matter the size of the newspaper, journalists are constantly on the lookout for leads. When you’re the sought-after news source as the weekly newspaper in a small town, those leads can end up being more than a byline story. When a reader of The Hinsdalean contacted the paper asking for a recommendation of a local printer that could do signs, co-owner Jim Slonoff got thinking. “Jim’s got all kinds of ideas floating around in there all the time,” his co-owner, Pamela Lannom, said with a laugh during a May 6 afternoon session at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual annual conference. They enlisted a local company, Lithoprint Inc., to produce custommade yard signs thanking health care workers and first responders. They charged $10 a sign and “immediately” sold through the first batch of 50, Lannom said. They ultimately sold $2,500 worth of signs. “We paid our expenses, and then the rest went to feeding our first responders,” Lannom said. They bought gift cards from local restaurants and used a connection to the hospital to get them to health care workers, and delivered meals for two shifts at the police department and three shifts at the fire department. It’s what small-town newspapers do, in the eyes of Slonoff, Lannom, and Janice Hunt, the owner of the Oakland Independent, who joined Lannom and Illinois Press Foundation Director Jeff Rogers for
Pamela Lannom (above), co-owner and editor of The Hinsdalean, and Janice Hunt, owner and editor of the Oakland Independent, talk about the impact their weekly newspapers have in their small communities during a session May 6 of the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual convention. Both The Hinsdalean and the Oakland Independent won the Illinois Press Association sweepstakes trophies in their divisions of the "Best of the Press" editorial excellence contest the next day. (Credit: Zoom.us).
Click here to watch the "Small Papers, Big Impact" session.
the convention session. “Particularly in smaller communities, the newspaper has a role in keeping people united,” Rogers said. Way back on March 19, 2020, Lannom wrote a piece on how hard restaurants were about to be hit, with a sidebar on local restaurants’ offerings, which continues to run today as restrictions remain in place. “When you walk around town and nothing’s open, it’s a disheartening, frightening experience, so readers appreciated hearing from business owners, and that they were going to push through it,” Lannom said. The Hinsdalean profiled local restaurants in the western suburb of about 17,000, did a virtual restaurant week and ran a report with all the fixins on all the Thanksgiving fare residents could order online to have delivered in town. Hunt is a one-person staff and seventh-generation resident of Oakland, a town of about 900 about an hour’s drive south of Champaign. That is, apart from her prized proofreader, and mother, Bev Hunt. Aware residents were anxious as they were ordered to stay at home, she created a board game called Walk Around Oakland. The spaces on the board tell players to visit notable spots around town, to go back five spaces if they don’t wave at someone passing by, that sort of thing. “I felt bad for all these parents stuck with their kids at home,” Hunt said, laughing, but adding that she knew the game would be sentimental for Oakland residents who’d moved out of town but still received the
See BIG IMPACT on Page 27
2021 CONVENTION COVERAGE
Feder on media under siege: ‘Where’s our Walter Cronkite now?’ BY CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association A Gallup poll that shows only two out of five Americans trust the media has longtime media critic Robert Feder asking a simple, wistful question. “Where’s our Walter Cronkite now?” Feder said leading up to the unveiling of the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors awards midday May 7 at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation virtual annual convention. When Richard Nixon orchestrated an assault on the media in the 1970s for its coverage of the Vietnam War, Cronkite stood as a shield between the leader of the free world and the Fourth Estate that held him accountable. When Nixon declared “the press is the enemy” — “Does that sound familiar?” Feder asked — Cronkite laid out a full-throated defense from the CBS News desk, in appearances and speeches, and with testimony before Congress. What resulted was a victory for the press, and a golden era of journalism. Feder said at that time, the same Gallup approval poll data was nearly double, at 76 percent. “Let that sink in. Investigative reporting was glamorous, with the likes of Woodward and Bernstein and others,” Feder said, adding that enrollment in college journalism programs “skyrocketed.” He’d already planned to enter the field. After all, he’d written Cronkite a fan letter at age 14. But Feder was stunned when Cronkite wrote him, just before he graduated college, advising him to go into print journalism. Feder said Cronkite was disenchanted with broadcast, where ratings
and cosmetics ran interference with thoughtfulness and depth of reporting. “This was the man for whom the word ‘anchorman’ was coined, the man who invented television news and the role of anchorman,” Feder said, admiring the irony of the career advice. Robert Feder Cronkite, however, was also the “Most Trusted Man in America” for a reason, so Feder listened and has carved out a legendary career as a media critic that began when his hometown newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, hired him in 1980. As a rookie reporter, he covered Oprah Winfrey from the time ABC hired her as an unknown 29-year-old, gossiping over lunch and talking shop at her home. “It was magical to see her padding around in her stocking feet,” he said. Feder not only covered legendary film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, but considered them friends and wrote their feature obituaries. He followed the golden age of personality radio and the exploding talk show scene in Chicago, when 16 nationally syndicated shows emanated from the Windy City. Feder witnessed a turning point in trust in the media when Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun-Times in 1983. He likened it to the impending sale of the Chicago Tribune to hedge fund Alden Capital. But he said Murdoch wasn’t as poor of a publisher at that time as many would think, and that it wasn’t until Murdoch divested newspapers to form a fourth broadcast network, Fox News, and when he hired former Nixon political consultant Roger Ailes to run the network, that the downturn truly began.
Feder said Rush Limbaugh, initially a sheepish radio host, became responsible for fertilizing the proverbial soil where seeds of distrust in the media grew deep roots and sprang into weeds that are now the size of redwoods. Feder continues to hold the media accountable, tell its stories and celebrate its victories in his blog, which operates under an agreement with the Daily Herald. He said the newspaper is doing a commendable job battling back misinformation and distrust with its Facts Matters initiative. He said editors do a thorough job explaining complex issues and how the newspaper is covering them, and that reporters “take readers behind the scenes,” as well. Feder is optimistic for a bill in the General Assembly sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, that would require that news literacy be taught in schools beginning in the 2022-’23 school year. The bill was passed April 20 by the House. “I consider that a great start,” he said. “We need to educate the public about what we do and how we do it, to educate the public about the difference between facts and propaganda,” Feder said. In the spirit of entering Mother’s Day weekend, Feder opened his speech with some levity, referring to the tongue-in-cheek motto, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” He said he fact-checked it, and that his mother, who turns 100 this year, does in fact still love him. “If our readers, listeners and viewers don’t love us anymore, we just have to live with it,” Feder said. “But we need to stand up and let the world know why what we do is necessary.” In conclusion, Feder borrowed one last quote. “If they don’t love us, as dear Uncle Walter would say, ‘And that’s the way it is.’”
She and Lannom agreed that slice-of-life stories were as important as ever during the pandemic. “Every time I could, I tried to do something that gave a little sense that there were still good things going on in the midst of all of this,” Hunt said. “People might think they’re light stories, but I think they’re important stories to keep communities unified.”
Lannom said readers expressed gratitude that she wrote stories about the good, bad, and the scary experiences community members were having. “They could see how their struggles and triumphs were shared with other people,” she said. “And I think every Thursday, there was a sense that if we could keep coming out every week, things were going to be OK.”
BIG IMPACT Continued from Page 26 paper. “For them, it was a walk down memory lane.” If she wondered whether the board game made a difference, that was put to rest when a preschooler’s family sent them their own version of the game. The board game made a little bit of money, too, but that wasn’t the point. “At first, I didn’t even think of ad dollars,” Hunt said. “I could have sold it for a lot more, I think.”
28 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Growing Community Media Former SJ-R editor receives names Romain equity editor speechwriting awards RIVERSIDE – Growing Community Media has named Michael Romain its first equity editor and ombudsman. Romain will continue as editor of the Austin Weekly News, but will step aside as Wednesday Journal's education reporter. Joining the staff and growing the newsroom Michael Romain is F. Amanda Tugade as education reporter. Tugade is a veteran of community journalism, having worked at Shaw Media, 22nd Century Media and as a fellow at City Bureau. She has been freelancing for Growing Community Media in recent months. As education reporter, Tugade will add coverage of River Forest's District 90 elementary schools, a beat where coverage has been thin. She will also cover early childhood education stories and mix in private school news. Romain’s role as equity editor and ombudsman will be wide-ranging. He will regularly report on equityrelated news and will work with editorial staff to ensure coverage reflects an equity lens.
Martin named Hillsboro newspaper’s editor HILLSBORO – Bethany Martin, a reporter and photographer for The Journal-News in Hillsboro, has accepted the position of associate editor at the newspaper. Martin has worked at the newspaper for nearly five years. She is a 2011 graduate of Lincolnwood High School in Raymond, and takes a leadership role in each week's edition of The Raymond News.
SPRINGFIELD – Jayette Bolinski, a former State Journal-Register editorial page editor who works for Comptroller Susana Mendoza, a Democrat, won two 2021 Cicero Speechwriting awards. Bolinski won for speeches she wrote for Mendoza in the contest's "state-of-the institution" and "commemorative" categories. The
speeches were titled "Selling Illinois" and “100 years of Women's Suffrage: The Enduring Power of Showing Up."
Downstate law professor elected to Paddock board ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Thomas C. Britton, emeritus law professor at Southern Illinois University, has been elected to the board of directors of Paddock Publications, Inc., owners of the Daily Herald Media Group
and the downstate Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. His appointment strengthens Paddock's expertise in downstate Illinois, where the employee-owned company has been expanding its newspaper holdings. Among his credentials, Britton was a member of the SIU board of trustees from 2018 to 2019. He is president of the Southern Illinois Learning in Retirement Board and a member of the Southern Illinois Healthcare Ethics Committee.
You have questions. We have answers. Got Trucking Questions? Need Answers? If you have one and need the other, contact us! Don Schaefer Executive Vice-President
Illinois Press Association Government Relations Legal & Legislative Sam Fisher, President and Chief Executive Officer firstname.lastname@example.org Don Craven, Legal Counsel email@example.com
To advertise in PressLines, call Sandy Pistole at 217-241-1300, ext. 238
30 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
AROUND THE STATE
Ihejirika to pass baton of Chicago media leadership
Herald & Review, Pantagraph launch new commenting system online
CHICAGO – Maudlyne Ihejirika, the prominent Chicago Sun-Times columnist and one of the most powerful women in Chicago journalism, has announced she's stepping down as president of two influential professional organizations. In relinquishing the top leadership roles with the Chicago Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Maudlyne Ihejirika Chapter she has held since 2017, Ihejirika said she plans to concentrate on her "Chicago Chronicles" column for the SunTimes. Succeeding Ihejirika as president of the Chicago Journalists Association is Stephanie Choporis, a freelance Stephanie Choporis multimedia journalist and co-founder of Happenstance, a mobile app sharing mini-podcasts. Choporis joined the Sun-Times for the first time in 1987 and has served as urban affairs reporter, assistant city editor and columnist over two stints at the paper. In between she spent two years as press secretary for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
DECATUR – The Herald & Review in Decatur and The Pantagraph in Bloomington have launched new reader participation features. The Lee Enterprises publications have partnered with OpenWeb to feature a more dynamic, friendly and enjoyable commenting experience across the newspapers’ websites. According to a brief in the May 7 editions, the feature is easier on the eyes, and readers will now be able to publish comments and follow conversations in real time; benefit from threaded conversations that make it easier to participate and follow; and enjoy better technology that pre¬emptively filters out spam, foul language and "trolls" who attack others. Any subscriber and anyone else who has registered an online account will be able to use the same login for the new feature as they do for other services. No anonymous comments will be allowed, and comments from the old system did not migrate to the new system. Users will not be able to use Facebook accounts to make comments on the website. To find discussions, readers go to the bottom of an article on the website, then click or tap the "Comments" button to read and participate in discussions. Or they can click the Community Spotlight on the homepage to reveal active conversations across the site. According to the brief, OpenWeb technology
helps newspapers more effectively moderate community discussions, so staff “intend to enforce an abuse-free community where conversations add value to your visit and offer insights.”
East Dubuque art students design newspaper clothing EAST DUBUQUE – Tai Thew, East Dubuque's first-year art teacher, introduced a new competition to East Dubuque High School's art program with a newspaper clothing and accessories design challenge in her 3D Studio Art class. "I call the art room an art studio," said Thew. "It is a studio space for the students." The design project was inspired by Carrie Ann Schumacher, a multimedia artist who lives and works in Chicago. Schumacher is on the faculty at College of DuPage, where she teaches computer art. Schumacher designed a series of dresses from the pages of romance novels. "I have always been interested in alternative materials for art," Thew said. "I just think it is more fun that allows kids to think outside of the box.” Students learned about Schumacher's process and swapped out the romance novel paper for newspapers, which the school had in abundance. "They learned all of the different techniques and their imagination went wild from there," Thew said. "I let them do whatever they wanted to do, but I was there to facilitate. The range that they came up with was awesome."
AROUND THE STATE
Local publishing company acquires Glasford Gazette GLASFORD – AD Scott Company LLC has acquired the Glasford Gazette from Jessica and Ben Westerman. The Westermans have owned the Gazette since 2016. AD Scott Company is based in Galesburg and publishes a handful of products including The Burg (Galesburg), Knoxville Bulletin (Knoxville), Community Brief (Monmouth), Mercer County Thrive (Aledo),
Limestone Independent News (Bartonville) and two statewide products, Heartland Outdoors and Antique and Vintage Explorer. Tony Scott, president and publisher of AD Scott Company, lives in Knoxville with his wife, Jodi. They have two adult children. Tony worked for 20 years for GateHouse Media (now Gannett) as a publisher and regional VP. His responsibilities involved newspapers in Illinois, California, Colorado, and Arizona.
He started his own company in 2016. Jodi is the regional superintendent of schools for Knox, Warren, Henderson and Mercer counties.
Lee Enterprises begins trading on Nasdaq MOLINE – Lee Enterprises stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on April 19. The common stock continues to be traded under the "LEE" symbol, as it was on the New York Stock
Exchange. It closed the day April 19 at $29.63 a share, up 3.96 percent. The media company owns The Pantagraph in Bloomington, Herald & Review in Decatur, Journal Gazette/Times¬Courier in MattoonCharleston, The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale, The Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and serves 77 markets in 26 states. Lee's newspapers have a combined average daily circulation of 1.2 million, and reach more than 55 million digital unique visitors.
Clinton County area mourns journalist’s death CARLYLE – The Clinton County community and the Sentinel coverage area are mourning the loss of a longtime area fixture. Veteran journalist Mark Hodapp, 67, died around 1:15 a.m. May 2 at Fireside House of Centralia Senior living. Hodapp, who had suffered from multiple health issues over the past couple of years, was a journalist since 1974. He started at the Centralia Morning Sentinel in 1978, where he worked until moving to the Carlyle Union Banner in February 2008. Both papers are owned by Centralia Press Ltd. He spent a combined 42 years with the Centralia Sentinel and the Carlyle Union Banner. He had
to retire in March 2020 due to failing health and the risk of COVID-19. "Mark was an oldschool newsman," Sentinel Publisher John Perrine said. Mark Hodapp "Something out of the movies, really. You know the tough-as-nails reporter, pecking at his typewriter while talking on the phone in a cloud of cigarette smoke? That was Mark. But also like the movie character he had a heart of gold. He would do anything for a friend, was kind to strangers and loved animals. We will all miss him." Ray Albert started with the
Centralia Morning Sentinel in 1979, one year after Hodapp started. "We go back over 40 years together," Albert said. "He was an old-school journalist and I learned a lot from him as well as former City Editor Mike Jones, who passed away last year." Vicky Albers knew Hodapp when she was the editor of the Breese Journal and continued to work with him through her current job as the Clinton County Clerk. She said Hodapp's stories were plentiful, and he always shared them with a bit of laughter. She said he was a great friend and he will be missed. "I had the pleasure of working with Mark for nearly 30 years ... countless town meetings, ribbon-cuttings,
parades and a variety of other milestone events that have shaped this county into what it is today," Albers said. "Although we always worked at different newspapers, we became instant friends and always had a wonderful working relationship. ... Anyone who knew Mark professionally knows that, above all, he was extremely dedicated to his job reporting the news of Clinton County and the surrounding areas.” She said Hodapp’s occasional cantankerous grumblings were to be taken with a grain of salt, almost an endearing quality once you got to know him.
See HOLDAPP on Page 32
Monique Seago NUTWOOD – Monique Seago, 57, of Godfrey, passed away Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, at her cabin in Nutwood, enjoying her time with her family. She was born Aug. 17, 1963, in Alton, the daughter of Terry D. and Sharon L. (Church) Carmean. She married Joseph Seago on March 25, 1992 in Dunns River Falls, Jamaica and he survives. Monique had worked for the Suburban Journals, WBGZ, and the Alton Telegraph. Monique also did great things while working for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She loved boating and fishing. Monique's greatest joy was spending time at her cabin in Nutwood. She is also survived by her parents, Terry and Sharon Carmean of Godfrey; a grandmother, Patricia Church of Alton; her siblings and their spouses, Reba Tuetken of San Diego, Tony and Cortne Carmean of Carlsbad, California, Tom and Susan Seago of
Alton, Tim Seago of Baltimore, Jim Seago of Alton, and Mindy Shine of Mount Carmel; several nieces and nephews, Alyssa Tuetken, Adam Tuetken, Jacob Carmean, Lauren Carmean, Billy Seago, Jackie Seago, Keila Seago, Mindy Seago, James Seago, Jesse Shine, Mason Shine, Eddie Shine, and Mike Shine; her beloved pets, Kenzie and Mia; and many other relatives and friends. She is preceded in death by her great-grandparents, Emory and Vashtie Church; grandparents, John William Church and Russell and Florence (Carmean) Davis; two brothers-in-law, Jeff Tuetken and Mike Shine; and a sister-in-law, Linda (Macias) Seago. Memorials may be made to Siteman Cancer Center or to Friends of Kids with Cancer. Online condolences and guest book can be found at www.eliaskallalandschaaf.com.
Sherrie Kahn Reddick CHICAGO – Sherrie Kehn Reddick died April 13, 2021, of pneumonia,
possibly a complication from having COVID-19 late in 2020. For the last several years of her life, she was lovingly cared for by Monica Walford, Daphene Pascascio and Aishat Plunkitt. As Sherrie liked to say "I am not your usual broad." She was right about that. Sherrie – college graduate, reporter, editor, teacher, world traveller, opera lover, daughter, sister, aunt, stepmother, "grandmother," cousin and friend, was woman ahead of her time. She got an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and did post-graduate work at Northwestern before joining the hard-nose world of Chicago journalism as a reporter for API, hanging around with the likes of Mike Royko and other Chicago newspaper notables. She then moved into the corporate world as a writer in the communication area for Illinois Bell, and then AT&T. When she retired, she remained active teaching English as a second language, being a patron of the Chicago Lyric Opera and a
lover of the arts. Sherrie, who could not have children of her own, became a mother to many. Again, in her own words, "I love kids." As a sister, she loved, lorded over and looked after her younger brother David; as a step¬mother, she loved and help raise both Dena and Jeffery; as an aunt, she adored Hayley, Elaine, Walker and Thorson; as an informal "grandmother," she doted over Stephano and Daniel; and as a relative and friend, she provided friendship, comfort, and support when each was needed. Sherrie is survived by her loving brother, David Kahn; step¬children, Dena and Jeffery; nieces and nephews, Hayley Kahn, Elaine Kahn, Walker Kahn and Thorson Kahn; many cousins, including Jim Cahan; informal grandchildren, Stephano Hong and Daniel Hong; and loving friends and relatives. She will be missed. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20North Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606.
32 ILLINOIS PRESSLINES
Robert F. Dixon II DeMOTTE – Robert F. Dixon II, 72, of DeMotte, passed away Feb. 4, 2021. Robert II was born Nov. 20, 1950, to Robert I and Dorothy (Bacon) Dixon, in Chicago. Robert married Delores Duttlinger on June 6, 1970, in Franklin. He was an editor for many magazines, newspapers and books. Robert really enjoyed writing newspaper articles, especially for the Daily Reporter in Greenfield. Robert is Survived by his wife, Delores; Son, Michael; granddaughter, Sarah Chase-Dixon; and sister, Diane. Robert was preceded in death by his parents and infant son, Robert William Dixon II. Memorials are requested for the Robert Dixon Memorial Journalism Scholarship Program.
AROUND THE STATE
Lewis and Clark Community College has record-breaking haul of awards GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community Col lege's student-run newspaper, The Bridge, earned a record-breaking 22 awards in the 2021 Illinois Community College Journalism Association (ICCJA) awards. Last year the newspaper won 17 awards. Bridge Advisor Louise Jett said the challenges of the last year made her staff even closer. "The Bridge staff didn't scatter to the wind when the pandemic hit," she said. "We united to keep our campus community informed and entertained. Our commitment to being flexible and working together as a team helped us earn these awards, many of which took the work of multiple team members. "I am so proud of these students, not only for the awards they have received, but for the community of learners they have built and nourished," she said. "We are such a great team." The paper's win spanned all disciplines, including reporting, photography, design, graphics, editorial
cartoon and podcast production. "Under the mentorship of Louise Jett, these awards recognize the outstanding work of these talented L&C students," said Vice President of Academic Affairs Jill Lane. "I continue to be proud of our student newspaper." Jett was especially proud of one entry, the coverage of the "What You Were Wearing" exhibit. "And, I am especially proud of Bridge Editor in- Chief Alex Johnson, whose leadership kept us publishing during the pandemic,"she said. "Alex earned an impressive eight awards across different categories, both in writing and design." Johnson found the attention The Bridge received to be a little overwhelming. "Once the whirlwind of the event was over, I felt a lot of pride – not only in myself, but for what we were all able to accom plish," Johnson said. "I'm extremely proud to be a part of the team that broke The Bridge's ICCJA award record, and I don't think that would have been possible without the support and love The Bridge staff provides to each other every day."
HODAPP Continued from Page 31 “While he may have complained here and there, we all knew that was just Mark's nature,” Albers said. “The complaining never fooled me; I know that deep down he absolutely loved what he did for a living. And, we are all fortunate to have worked with him, to have learned from him and to have enjoyed his writing. "Once you got past Mark's gruff and edgy exterior he was a puppy dog, big and lovable.” Carlyle Mayor Judy Smith said Hodapp will be missed in the community. Smith was one of Hodapp's neighbors. "Mark reported on every major event in this area during his career," Smith said. "You knew he would be there and readv to give his spin on the story. He was an encyclopedia of facts from the past and could reel you in with a simple, ‘I once covered a story…’. He was more than ready and willing to share his expertise with up-and-coming reporters. He was a true professional when it came to reporting the news.” Hodapp was a mentor to many who worked at the Sentinel. "Mark Hodapp and Mike Jones were my first and greatest mentors at the Sentinel, and losing both of them within the past 13 months has left a huge void, as they were both incomparable in their commitment to community journalism," said
Michelle Pennington, Sentinel Lifestyles editor, who started at the newspaper 28 years ago as a reporter. He said Hodapp gave him the tour of the town in his first week at the Sentinel. "He introduced me to everyone, helping me to build relationships in the communities I would be covering,” Pennington said. “I will forever owe him a tremendous debt for his generosity of time and knowledge. Mark was more than just our co-worker – he was a dear friend and part of our family. Hodapp was a graduate of Collinsville High School. He attended Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1971 and wanted to become a veterinarian. Hodapp made the decision that he needed to look for another major. He took a philosophy class taught by Sheila Ruth and he was hooked. But Hodapp was smart enough to know that he couldn't survive by merely thinking. That was when Mike Manning helped guide Hodapp in a different career path. Manning was the student body president at SIUE and he asked Hodapp to represent him at a student grievance meeting. After that meeting, Manning asked Hodapp to write a report, which he then got published in the student newspaper.
Bill Ward was the head of the journalism program at SIUE and Steve Feldmann was one of his students and Hodapp's friend. Ward asked Feldman to have Hodapp see him, and Hodapp took his first journalism class from Kamil Winter. Hodapp said he had always been a fair writer, but with no imagination for fiction. He began filling his class schedule with journalism and philosophy electives. Eventually, he had the hours for a journalism degree. He applied and graduated. One journalism class Hodapp took was an internship at the Wood River Journal. He managed to make that a full-time job before he graduated in 1976. Hodapp worked for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Atkinson News before working for the Centralia Press properties. Hodapp also was involved in community organizations including the Knights of Columbus, with which he was a Grand Knight 5 years. "Mark was someone who was very easy to talk to and was very well-versed," Knights of Columbus member Bob Diekemper said. "He was a very good writer for the paper and his articles were very concise. He was a very likable person and we got along well. He was willing to do whatever for the KC Hall.''