November-December 2020 PressLines

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November-December 2020


Remembering Barry Locher 4 How you can help Capitol News Illinois 7 IPA Member Spotlights 10, 16 The state of student journalism 17 How should hate groups be covered? 24

s Sports Editor Matt Kamp sits alone in the Intelligencer newsroom in downtown Edwardsville. In practicing precaution, the newsroom has not been actively occupied since mid-March due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read about how Kamp's paper and others are coping with COVID-19. PAGE 11 (Photo by Tyler Pletsch/The Edwardsville Intelligencer)




An invigorating visit with award winners


e all find ways to continue to operate during a pandemic. This year, we opted to forgo the in-person convention and go virtual. The annual


and editorial contests are a huge part of the annual event. Given that there was nobody “present” to accept plaques and sweepstakes trophies, we mailed the plaques and SAM FISHER certificates to the President & CEO winning newspapers. But we decided to personally deliver the sweepstakes trophies to the winners when possible. I had the opportunity to do that twice in recent weeks. I took the Verle V. Kramer trophy recognizing the best small weekly newspaper in the state to the Woodstock Independent office. The Harold and Eva White trophy for the best mid-size weekly newspaper,

Illinois Press Association President and CEO Sam Fisher (left) and Woodstock Independent Editor Larry Lough and Publisher and Co-owner Cheryl Wormley pose with the Verle V. Kramer trophy at the newspaper's office in Woodstock. Fisher delivered the trophy, which was won by the Woodstock Independent as the best small weekly newspaper in the state during the IPA's 2019 editorial contest. and the Sam Zito award for the best advertising in a weekly newspaper were delivered to The Hinsdalean. I headed to Woodstock to deliver

the trophy and other hardware to Woodstock on Oct. 19 and had lunch with Cheryl Wormley, Larry Lough and the rest of the staff. Then on Oct.

OFFICERS Scott Stone | Chair Daily Herald Media Group, Arlington Heights 900 Community Drive Springfield, IL 62703 Ph. 217-241-1300 Fax 217-241-1301

29, I headed to Hinsdale to deliver all of the contest hardware to Jim Slonoff, Pam Lannom and the rest of The Hinsdalean staff – again lunch was served. What a refreshing trip each of them was! The staffs were excited about the recognition – The Hinsdalean even had a banner next to the front door of the office proclaiming the staff’s well-deserved accomplishments. Having not had the opportunity this year to visit newspapers, this was what I needed to remind me about the passion you have for what you do, and the commitment and relationships you have with your communities. It reinforced to me why we do what we do, not only in Woodstock and Hinsdale but in every community our members serve throughout the state. Thanks to Cheryl, Larry, Jim and Pam for letting me have the opportunity to share in their celebrations of excellence. After the year we’ve all had, it was what I needed to remind me that what we do is important, and no matter how difficult the times we need to remember that our communities need us now more than ever.

DIRECTORS Dorothy Leavell Crusader Group, Chicago

Stefanie Anderson Paddock Publications Inc./ Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group

Sandy Macfarland Law Bulletin Media, Chicago

David Bauer Hearst Newspapers, Jacksonville

Wendy Martin Mason County Democrat, Havana

Sue Walker | Treasurer Herald Newspapers, Inc., Chicago

Durrell Garth Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group

Jim Slonoff The Hinsdalean, Hinsdale

Ron Wallace | Immediate Past Chair Quincy Herald-Whig

Margaret Holt Chicago Tribune Media Group, Chicago

Nykia Wright Chicago Sun-Times

Don Bricker | Vice-Chair Shaw Media, Sterling

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

Sandy Pistole, Director of Revenue Ext. 238 -

Ron Kline, Technology & Online Coordinator Ext. 239 -

Tracy Spoonmore, Chief Financial Officer Ext. 237 -

Cindy Bedolli, Member Relations Ext. 226 -

Jeff Rogers, Director of Foundation Ext. 286 –

ILLINOIS PRESSLINES is published bimonthly for $30 per year for Illinois Press Association members by the Illinois Press Association, 900 Community Drive, Springfield, IL 62703. Jeff Rogers, Editor © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. Volume 26 November/December 2020 Number 7 Date of Issue: 11/16/2020


Winners in Woodstock!



Winners in Hinsdale!

Trophies and plaques won by The Hinsdalean in the 2019 Illinois Press Association advertising and editorial contests are displayed on a table at the newspaper's Hinsdale office. The Hinsdalean won the Sam Zito Award of Excellence trophy as the top non-daily newspaper in advertising. It also won the Division H trophy in advertising for papers with a circulation of between 4,001 and 8,000. The Hinsdalean ALSO won the Harold and Eva White Memorial Trophy in the editorial contest. It is awarded to the top mediumsized nondaily newspaper. (Photo submitted by Jim Slonoff)

Send us your award-winning pictures! Employees and correspondents at the Woodstock Independent pose with the Verle V. Kramer trophy outside the office in Woodstock. The trophy was awarded to the Woodstock Independent as it won the sweepstakes in the Illinois Press Association's 2019 editorial contest as the best small weekly newspaper in the state. (Photo by Sam Fisher)

Do you have photos of award-winning staff members and contest trophies won during the recent IPA convention? We'd like to share them in the next edition of PressLines! Please email them to Jeff Rogers, Foundation director, at

Nykia Wright, Chicago Sun-Times CEO, joins Ilinois Press Association Board SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Press Association Board Chairman Scott Stone is pleased to announce that Nykia Wright, chief executive officer of the Chicago Sun-Times, is joining the IPA Board. Wright replaces former Chicago Sun-Times Executive Editor Chris Fusco, who left the SunTimes in October to become executive editor of the startup Lookout Local in Santa Cruz, California. At the Sun-Times, Wright is responsible for leading the turnaround and digital transformation of the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in Chicago. She was recently

named one of the most powerful women in Chicago journalism. Before joining the Sun-Times in 2017, Wright was a strategy and business transformation professional Nykia Wright with more than 15 years of experience advising and leading companies and teams for operational, financial, and performance improvement projects. Specific areas of expertise included planning for growth, operational turnarounds, organizational assessments, and cost

rationalization strategies. Her work history includes roles with JPMorgan Chase, Huron Consulting, and North Highland Worldwide Consulting. Wright has a Bachelor of Science from Carnegie Mellon University, International Business Certification from the University of Cambridge (England), and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She is a member of the 2018 Crain’s Business 40 under 40 class, and also a member of the 40 gamechangers under 40 class, a recognition bestowed from a partnership between WVON and Ariel Investments.

Wright sits on the board of Choose Chicago and is an advisory board member of a technology startup. She is also a founding member of Chief Chicago, a private network built to drive more women into positions of power and keep them there. “Nykia’s extensive business background will be of great benefit to the Illinois Press Association,” said Sam Fisher, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association. “She will bring a much needed and unique perspective having spent the majority of her career outside of the newspaper industry.”




'He was a great boss, a true leader' Barry Locher, former SJ-R editor and Ilinois Press Foundation director, dies at 65 By BERNARD SCHOENBURG State Journal-Register Barry Locher, who rose from a photography intern to editor of The State Journal-Register, died Tuesday, Nov. 10, at his Springfield home after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 65. He had been in home hospice care, and his wife, Debra, and three adult children – Tad, Bonnie and Joseph – were all there. Locher worked at the newspaper for 33 years, leaving in 2007 following the sale of the publication from Copley Newspapers to GateHouse Media. It is now owned by Gannett. “He was a great hands-on kind of guy, a good organizer,” said Pat Coburn, a former publisher of the newspaper who now lives in Chicago. “He identified good people,” Coburn said of how Locher brought “shining lights” to the newspaper staff, “and then he let them do their job.” Rich Saal of Springfield, who spent nearly 35 years at the newspaper and was photo editor when he left in 2019, said he was hired by Locher and learned much from him. “He was a great boss, a true leader, because his appreciation of and expectations for great photography was always adequate motivation,” Saal said. “He never berated. He never belittled. ... And he was the kind of person you really wanted to work hard for. I always genuinely felt bad when I knew I’d let him down. He’s really the one responsible for the great photography program that The State Journal-Register had become known for. … He just had a knack for knowing what would connect with readers.” Locher spent his childhood in Roodhouse, and graduated from North Greene High School in 1973 before studying journalism at the University of Missouri, where he graduated in 1977. Photography and journalism was “his life and his passion,” his wife said. He was a starter on his high school basketball team, she said, but he quit to be a photographer for the yearbook and newspaper. As a photographer, he liked to “learn all the facts” and meet the people” to tell their stories. She said he spent “weeks and weeks and weeks” with

See LOCHER on Page 6

Barry Locher was director of the Illinois Press Foundation in Springfield from 2010 to 2016. Soon after they learned about Locher's death on Nov. 10, former colleagues at the Illinois Press Association and members of the Illinois Press Foundation Board shared memories of their time working with him. LEFT: Among Locher's accomplishments as director of the Illinois Press Foundation was leading the Illinois First Amendment Center initiative. (Photo provided by Lynn Lance)



REMEMBERING BARRY LOCHER: Former IPA colleagues, IPF Board members share their thoughts Devastating news. I knew him from his SJ-R days and he became a dear friend over the years. He will indeed be missed, by many. Greg Bilbrey

Barry’s door was always open, offering support and wisdom for all that ventured in, not only at the IPA but thereafter. Barry once wrote me… “I would just say to you to remain positive and continue to focus on what's good in your life and to not dwell on the past. Continue to look forward and move forward and as hard as it is, try to put the past behind you.” Ron Kline

I'm so sorry to hear this. Barry was such a steadfast advocate for high school journalism programs and journalism teachers – and in addition, he was simply a great guy to know. We’ll miss him. Linda Jones

I always looked forward to opportunities to work with Barry. I remember his commitment to the High School Journalism Grant Program. I am saddened and send my sympathy to all who are grieving. Cheryl Wormley

So sorry to hear about Barry. Had an opportunity to communicate with him not long ago. He was a brave man who loved his family. Wendy Martin It was devastating news to hear that Barry had passed away. He was always so full of life. I knew Barry during his tenure at the State Journal since my wife worked there also. The Illinois Press Foundation was lucky to have capitalized on his expertise. Nathan Jones I am so sorry. He truly loved the (Eastern Illinois University summer journalism) camp and all the students, and he was incredibly supportive to high school advisers all over the state. Again, I am so sorry to hear this news. Sally Renaud So sorry to hear such sad news. Barry and I go back 40-some years, to his days as an SJ-R photog and me at the Sun-Times, before either of us became part of the IPF. An all-around good guy and a consummate professional, always willing to go the extra mile, especially for my students. RIP. Charlie Wheeler I will miss Barry. His cabin in Pike County was not far from my farmhouse. He was an all around great guy. Julie Boren I am sending a memorial for my dear friend Barry to the IPF. Jerry Reppert

What an outpouring for Barry. … Being a good person trumps all else, doesn’t it. Also knew him from his photo days through the foundation. Genuine good guy. Doug Ray

This was not the news I wanted to hear to start my morning. Barry was one of the most thoughtful, caring and talented persons I have ever known. I did not know him well until he served us on the Foundation, but grew to greatly enjoy his company. Our profession has lost a great champion and contributor. We are all blessed that he shared some portions of his life with us. Jon Whitney I was fortunate to work with Barry at the Illinois Press Association for 5 years and lucky enough to call him one of my closest friends. He was kind, honest, hard-working, fair and funny. He loved the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. He loved a good chili and loved to argue about what MADE a good chili (must have red beans – a recipe I still use today). If there was anyone that deserved a long retirement with their lovely family it was Barry. He set the bar for friendship and I will miss him fiercely. Lynne Lance

I totally enjoyed working with Barry. He had a way about him that made you feel important and what you said was important. If he needed you to do a project for him, he did not expect you to do anything he would not do himself. He made working so much fun when he was joking around. Family was so important to Barry. You could just feel how much he loved his family when he talked about them. Barry is one of those people you meet once in a lifetime. Lisa Sisti That is so sad. Barry was one of the most pleasant people to work with – and one who really loved newspapers. Kathy Farren Barry Locher was simply an extraordinary man. His smile, his courteous demeanor, the way he conducted himself as a professional – he had no equal. He will be deeply missed by the media industry in Illinois and all of those whose life he touched. Josh Sharp

Barry probably understood the role newspapers play in communities, large and small, better than anybody else in the business. He also understood people and how to get the best out of all of us, no matter our stations in life. I was thrilled when he undertook the role as director of the Foundation, because I knew that the programs of the Foundation were near and dear. Remember the smiles, the stories, the laughs. Don Craven I've also worked with Barry for many years. He did such great job for the IPF, naturally, because of his keen understanding of journalism and its role in our communities as well as his commitment to education. During his years at the SJ-R he never failed to respond to requests for help with jobs fairs for college journalists, workshops for college journalists, participants in Mid-America Press Institute programs. And, of course, he was a delightful comrade to spend time with. I'm sure his family knows there's a host of former colleagues who will miss Barry, too. Dave Reed n More memories shared on Page 6





REMEMBERING BARRY LOCHER: Former IPA colleagues, IPF Board members share their thoughts Barry always had a smile that just set the tone for the rest of the day. He was a true newspaper professional that loved the business. We went to J-school at Mizzou at the same time, but unfortunately I never had a chance to meet him then – I wish I had. He’ll be missed. Sam Fisher I remember stopping to see Barry at the State Journal-Register during a visit to Springfield in my early days on the IPA board. He welcomed me like an old friend, gave me a tour of the office, and was genuinely interested in my life and career. We chatted about photography and the newspaper business. That others-focused approach to life – even in the midst of his many responsibilities – made an impression on me then, and it continued to characterize him for the next quarter of a century that I had the privilege to call him a friend. We shared a love of nature and a passion for journalism that made it a joy every time we got together. Rest In Peace, my friend. Dave Bell I am greatly saddened by Barry’s death. I’ve known Barry since we worked together at Camp Illinek Boy Scout Camp when we were kids. We stayed friends though the years, and he was always my go-to when I had sticky editorial issues to figure out. He was always willing to lend a hand. John Galer

Barry Locher is pictured here with his good friends and SJ-R colleagues, Pat Coburn and Nancy Evans. (Credit: Facebook)

Barry and I were editors of sister Copley papers. That made us collaborators and, at times, competitors, and, eventually, the best of friends. Barry was uproariously funny and extremely generous. And I saw time and again his acting out his belief that knowledge is worthless unless shared. He was a man of high principles. He loved his family and his community and his chosen profession. We've been blessed to know him. Jack Brimeyer

that he would be available for one of his infamous chats. We would talk about everything from the future of newspapers to his days at Copley and the people he had met along the way. The newspaper industry was incredibly lucky to have been the passion of such a man. I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have known such a man. Rewa Boldrey

In all of the years I spent working in the newspaper industry, I have never met anyone as knowledgeable or as passionate about newspapers as Barry. It was truly inspiring. I would find myself standing outside of his door in the hope

I worked alongside him for several years at the Illinois Press Association. Together, we achieved goals I would not have achieved on my own. He made me feel good about myself. He made me feel valued. He made me feel capable. He made me feel like the high road was the only road worth traveling on. He never spoke of his own integrity. Didn’t have to. His integrity was self-evident. He inspired others to aspire to that. It’s not just me. His friends have this shared experience. It was “you,” whoever “you” was at the time. If you knew him, you know what I’m talking about. And if you didn’t, well, I wish you had. David Porter

owner of the Lower 40 Duck Club in Snicarte. He also created an outdoors section that published for several years in the newspaper. “He never missed a deer hunting season, and often brought venison summer sausage to the newsroom,” Saal recalled. “His office at the newspaper was notably decorated with some of his trophy mounts.” After he left the newspaper, Locher joined the public relations staff at Memorial Medical Center, and in 2010 he became director of the Illinois Press Foundation, a position he held until 2016. Debra Locher said her husband often quoted a concept from the late poet and activist Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget

how you made them feel.” “He preached that to the kids all the time — you listen, listen, listen, listen,” his wife said, and put importance on “how you make someone else feel.” She said after he left the paper, he would get many calls from former interns and employees, not only for references, but for advice and encouragement. “He made a lot of people feel really good about themselves,” she said. “And that’s what a leader does. That’s what a boss does. He didn’t say what to do. He let them take the lead, and then encouraged that.” Services will be private. Memorials can be sent to the Illinois Audubon Society/Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, P.O. Box 2547, Springfield, IL 62708.

LOCHER Continued from Page 4 the late Margery Adams, who lived on the property of Adams Wildlife Sanctuary along Clear Lake Avenue in Springfield, to tell her story. Locher and associates on The State Journal-Register’s editorial board became leading proponents in seeking to preserve her house on the property, and it is now the headquarters for the Illinois Audubon Society. Among his recognitions, Locher was named photographer of the year by the Illinois Press Photographers Association in 1982. In 2008, he was inducted into the Lincoln League of Journalists by the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association for exemplary service to other journalists and newspapers in the state. Locher was also an avid waterfowl and deer hunter and loved the outdoors. He had been an




Even a little gift to Capitol News Illinois can make a big impact during NewsMatch campaign C

apitol News Illinois is about to complete its second year of covering state government for Illinois newspapers and other news organizations. And what a great two years it has been! Capitol News Illinois stories have been published more than 38,000 times (you read that correctly) in more than 420 newspapers with a combined circulation of nearly 2 million subscribers. Now, that’s an impact! Your news organization likely has published state government coverage from Capitol News Illinois during its first 22-plus months of existence, so you understand its value. Thank you! Capitol News Illinois exists because of financial and operational commitments from the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. However, its continued success and growth will rely upon additional donors large and small. For the second consecutive year, Capitol News Illinois is participating in the national NewsMatch fundraising campaign. It is an opportunity for Capitol News Illinois to receive a match on every individual donation made between now and Dec. 31. Last year, Capitol News Illinois gained more than $40,000 in donations and matches during the NewsMatch campaign. This year, the goal is to bring in at least $60,000 in donations and matches. We cannot do that without your help. Donations may be made as a one-time contribution or as a recurring gift. NewsMatch will match the full year’s worth of quarterly or monthly recurring gifts that are initiated between now and Dec. 31. If all of this is sounding a bit familiar, well, it should! I wrote much of this in a fundraising campaign email appeal that was sent to newspaper editors, publishers and other leaders earlier this month. We would love to receive more support from our many newsroom partners throughout the state. What a great story it would be to tell prospective big donors that we receive significant support from people in the newspaper industry! Think about this: If only two employees at each of the newspapers that have published our content each gave $25, it would mean more than $20,000 for Capitol News Illinois – before any match from NewsMatch! Truly, any donation – no matter how

large or small – makes a difference. Last year’s NewsMatch fundraising campaign helped Capitol News Illinois bring in an additional full-time reporter from Report For America this summer and to launch the Capitol News Daily email newsletter at the beginning of the year. It also helped Capitol News JEFF ROGERS Illinois develop a new, more user-friendly website in FebDirector of Foundation ruary. Depending on its success, we hope this year’s NewsMatch campaign will help us add an investigative reporter or aid us in launching a broadcast journalism venture. We look forward to your assistance in making this year’s NewsMatch campaign a success so Capitol News Illinois may continue to thrive and grow. I thank you in advance for your support.


nnn As I write this, I and Bureau Chief Jerry Nowicki just completed eight interviews with potential interns for Capitol News Illinois from the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. What a great bunch of young journalists from a great program! Capitol News Illinois has benefitted greatly from the program in its first two years. Grant Morgan, Ben Orner and Lindsey Salvatelli each made significant contributions to the news service’s successful start as interns. If you’re reading this and are a graduate of the PAR program, you’ll be hearing more from Grant and Ben in the coming weeks. They and the program’s director, Jason Piscia, have graciously provided an assist to our NewsMatch fundraising campaign effort that you will be seeing soon. On Dec. 3, the Illinois Press Foundation will award four students in the program with $1,200 scholarships. Thank you to the Illinois Press Foundation Board, which last year approved awarding four annual scholarships instead of three as it had done in the past.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS Share your video testimonial with Capitol News Illinois! If you don't feel comfortable making a donation to Capitol News Illinois' NewsMatch fundraising campaign or even if you do - there's another way you can help! Grab your cellphone and shoot a video of yourself making a spoken testimonial about the importance of Capitol News Illinois to your news organization. It can be short. Send it ASAP to Jeff Rogers at, so he can include it in future fundraising appeals.




Mansur joins Capitol News Illinois as statehouse reporter She returns to Capitol, where she previously worked for Chicago Daily Law Bulletin SPRINGFIELD – Sarah Mansur on Oct. 26 joined Capitol News Illinois as a member of its full-time reporting staff. Mansur previously was the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin bureau chief at the Capitol. She joined the Daily Law Bulletin in 2017 after graduating from the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Before enrolling in the PAR program, Mansur was a reporter for nearly three years for the Daily Dispatch newspaper in Henderson, North Carolina. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina. “I’m excited to join a news orga-

nization that values independent journalism and recognizes the importance of providing quality coverage to small, local papers, especially at a time when many newsrooms Sarah Mansur in Illinois are shrinking in response to budget cuts,” Mansur said. Capitol News Illinois Bureau Chief Jerry Nowicki said Mansur’s perspective and experience will strengthen the reporting team and help the news service move forward in new and exciting ways.

“Sarah will make an excellent and important addition to the Capitol News Illinois team, allowing us to keep up a continuity of coverage of the Illinois courts and statehouse that our readers have come to expect,” Nowicki said. “In freelance work she has done for us in the past few weeks, Sarah has already demonstrated a knack for covering stories that have otherwise been overlooked, shedding an important light on a pair of Illinois Supreme Court races that could impact state politics for decades to come." Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit news service covering state govern-

ment that is operated by the Illinois Press Foundation and funded primarily by the Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Its stories have been published by more than 420 daily and nondaily newspapers statewide with a combined circulation of more than 1.9 million. It began operations in January 2019. Mansur joins Nowicki and fulltime reporters Peter Hancock and Raymon Troncoso on the Capitol News Illinois team. Troncoso joined Capitol News Illinois in July as a reporter through the Report For America 2020-21 program.

Postal service proposes rate changes – minor to no change for newspapers’ mailed products By PAUL J. BOYLE News Media Alliance The United States Postal Service on Oct. 9 announced rate changes for Marketing Mail and for Periodicals mail. Assuming that the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will approve the new rates, they will go into effect on Jan. 24, 2021. In Marketing Mail, rates for High Density Plus and Saturation flats – used primarily by newspapers’ Target Market Coverage (TMC) packages – will not change at all. In the category of Marketing Mail, USPS devoted much of its available rate authority under the price cap structure to increase rates for catalogs and parcels. However, it should be noted, if your TMC package includes a Detached Address Label and Detached Marketing Labels, there will be a one cent increase per label. In Periodicals Mail, the In-County pound rate and the carrier route piece rates will not change, but the rate for Non-barcoded 5-Digit flats will rise by 8.22 percent. In Outside County mail, USPS is making chan-

ges to encourage mailers to enter their mail in ways that the agency can handle more efficiently. Most notably, the USPS is establishing a separate rate for trays (“tubs”), so for the first time they will be priced differently from sacks. The National Newspaper Association, representing primarily weekly newspapers, has been pushing for this change for some time. The new trays rate will rise by less than 0.4 percent, while the sacks rate will increase by more than 5.5 percent. Thus, for the first time, trays will be priced lower than sacks. As with In-County mail, the pound rate also will not change. Workshare discount passthroughs in the proposed Periodicals rates are quite low. For example, for In-County, there is no workshare discount for entering at the Destination Delivery Unit or local post office, and the discount for sorting to the Carrier Route level passes through only 34.9

percent of the costs avoided. The Postal Service’s filing in this rate case devotes several pages to arguing that workshare passthroughs should not be required to be set at or near 100 percent in a class, such as Periodicals, that does not cover its costs. Here is a list of examples of the rate changes for newspapers’ products that are mailed through the Postal Service. While it was expected that the USPS would keep rates relatively low given the impact of COVID-19 on the mailing industry, this could change in future years as the PRC has proposed a new rate setting system that would allow USPS to raise prices beyond the statutory rate cap outlined in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. If this happens, rates for newspapers’ TMC and editorial products could skyrocket in the coming years. The News Media Alliance will fight at the PRC and in Congress to maintain this rate cap that has ensured reasonable and predictable rate changes, and which has incentivized mailers to maintain mail volumes in the system.




Illinois publisher elected vice chairman of NNA John Galer, publisher of The Journal-News in Hillsboro, was voted vice chairman of the National Newspaper Association during its 134th annual meeting held virtually earlier this month. The Galer family came to The Journal in 1945 when John’s grandfather, Del, took over production management duties. John’s father, Phillip Galer, purchased the Journal’s first offset press in 1968. He and John, along with numerous others, helped expand the business during the ’70s and ’80s. Two weekly shoppers, Macoupin County Journal and M & M Journal, were started during that time. They also bought the Raymond (Illinois) News, and in 1996 John took over the responsibilities of publisher for the operation.

John Galer

In 2004, John and his wife, Susan, bought the Montgomery County News, also in Hillsboro, and merged that publication and staff into the Journal operation. The Journal-News, a 6,000-circulation, twice weekly, has been well received throughout the community and is a community advocate. Galer had been the Region 4 direc-

tor for NNA. “It’s a very challenging time for our industry and NNA,” Galer said. “My hope is that we can help our membership succeed during this difficult period and come out stronger. To that end we’ve changed a

lot organizationally at NNA to enhance services to our members and to enable us to work our efforts on governmental affairs in a stronger manner. “The good news is NNA has already been successful in several lobbying efforts, postal rates won’t explode next year and we’ve garnered some reductions on flat tray charges. And we just helped successfully argue for open records in a major court case.” Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications in Cordell, Oklahoma, was elected NNA chairman. Beth Bennett, a former director of government relations for Illinois Press Association who is now executive director of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, was elected to the NNA board.

IPA applauds Rep. Bustos for calling on GAO to review government advertising spending, assess agency use of local media SPRINGFIELD – Congresswoman Cheri Bustos on Oct. 8 sent a letter along with Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that it conduct a comprehensive review of current government agency expenditures on advertising and to examine, among other issues, how federal agencies could place more advertising with local news publishers and broadcast stations. The letter specifically requests that the GAO evaluate federal government expenditures on advertising for FY 2015-2020 and additional issues, such as the breakdown of advertising expenditures across federal government agencies; the media mix selected for government advertising campaigns; and the mechanisms in place that would make it efficient for federal agencies to place advertisements in local media outlets of all sizes. Sam Fisher, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Press Association, applauded Bustos and her staff for working with the News Media Alliance in requesting the study. “We thank Congresswoman Bustos for being a consistent ally of the newspaper industry,” Fisher said. “Not long after the pandemic brought additional hardship to Illinois newspapers, she was on the phone with editors and publishers to find out how she could help.” David Chavern, president and CEO of the News Media Alliance, said the study will help shed light on how government agencies could shift advertising spending to support local media. “Local print, digital and broadcast news organizations are working tirelessly to bring us critical news and in-

formation – which we need now more than ever,” Chavern said. “Advertising in local media is an easy way for our government agencies to provide much-needed support, while benefiting from effective and efficient avenues to reach local communities across the country on issues of national and local Rep. Cheri Bustos importance, including the pandemic.” President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, Gordon Smith, said, “Federal advertising on local media has long been recognized as an effective way to keep the public informed about government actions, programs and services. NAB commends Reps. Bustos and Aderholt for encouraging a comprehensive review of federal agency advertising, and we appreciate their leadership in pushing for expanding federal agency advertising on local broadcast radio and TV stations and community newspapers.” Representatives Bustos and Aderholt’s request to the GAO follows Congressional appeals from more than 240 members of the House of Representatives and 74 members in the Senate calling on the federal government to increase its advertising spending with local media outlets. Rep. Bustos said, “This pandemic has laid bare the critical need for access to up-to-date, accurate information, and our local news outlets are among the most trusted to deliver for our communities. As a former journalist, I understand the vital role local news plays in keeping our people informed and our democracy strong. We must work to ensure our local media outlets receive the support they need to keep providing high quality news content.”

Webinar: How to Increase Digital Subscriptions Our-Hometown President and CEO Matthew Larson will present a free webinar, “How to Increase Digital Subscriptions,” at 9 a.m. Dec. 17. He will introduce attendees to a number of simple strategies used by Our-Hometown customers for generating digital subscription revenue. These strategies will include ways to advertise your website in the print edition and methods for marketing digital subscriptions online and across social media. Larson will also cover the benefits of using Auto Renewing Subscriptions to reduce the commitment needed from the buyer to manually renew each billing period, resulting in time saved for all involved! Last but not least, Larson will discuss some of the creative ways that newspapers are offering premium access to live video sessions with editors and publishers as a value-add for their digital subscribers. Register in advance for this webinar.




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This panoramic view of an empty Chicago Sun-Times newsroom was shot in March by Brian Ernst and posted to Twitter by Tina Sfondeles. The Sun-Times newsroom, like most at daily newspapers in Illinois, has remained mostly empty throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘IT’S GONNA BE A WHILE BEFORE WE GO BACK’ Newspaper leaders face facts, stick with similar COVID-19 protocols By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – While newsrooms around the state might vary in the degree of their vigilance during the pandemic, all but one of the 10 newspapers that responded to a survey from the Illinois Press Association share a common, comforting thread: no positive COVID-19 cases among their staffers. “We’ve been very blessed and very thankful,” said John Lampinen, senior vice president and editor of the Daily Herald. There’s something to be said for making your own blessings. Whereas some newspapers have allowed reporters in the office, and some editors regularly work from the office, Daily Herald staffers are barred from the newsroom.

Lampinen, who joined the Daily Herald in the 1970s and has spent all but one of his years in the industry there, has set foot in the office only to retrieve items he absolutely needs. His first visit after Gov. JB Pritzker issued his March 20 stay-at-home order was eerie. “It was kind of a weird feeling, and of course you add heightened tension to the chances the virus was out there,” he said. “If you ran into somebody you were almost spooked by it, wondering whether they had it.” Lampinen said reporters need to keep up that mentality, to some degree. “We operate as though anyone we encounter could be infected,” he said. “The health and safety of our staff takes precedence over anything else.” Half an hour’s drive away – without traffic

– the Chicago Tribune office has remained open, “but we have always encouraged people to [work from home] if they could,” Chicago Tribune Editor-in-Chief Colin McMahon wrote in his survey response, adding that the majority of the newsroom is working full-time from home. “Anywhere from a handful of journalists to a dozen or so are in the office on any random day,” he continued. “We have protocols about socially distancing, mask-wearing and other precautions.” Every newsroom’s circumstances are different, of course. Weekly newspapers’ employees have almost universally continued reporting to the office, given their shoestring staffs, some of them boasting a solitary full-timer. In Jo Daviess County,

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COVID-19 Continued from Page 11 where the 7-day rolling COVID-19 positive rate has hovered around 10 percent, the celebrated Galena Gazette experienced an outbreak in early October. Editor Hillary Dickerson and her husband Jay Dickerson – also the paper’s sales director – tested positive along with four co-workers. They’ve since recovered. Whereas the rolling positivity rate was 7.1 percent through Oct. 17 in Cook County, it was 12.7 percent in Winnebago County, home to the Rockford Register Star, and 12.4 percent in Stephenson County, home to the Freeport Journal-Standard. As a result, Mark Baldwin, executive director of both Gannett papers, has enforced a water-tight policy prohibiting staff from working at the office. Mark Baldwin He popped in for about half an hour one day in mid-October to pick up the snail mail, the first time he’d been there in about a month. He said the only other exceptions have been for tech issues. “We’ve been relentless about keeping people safe,” he said. “There’s been no pressure on them to do anything but work from the house.” Reporters from Block Club, a nonprofit that puts a hyper-local emphasis on coverage of Chicago’s unique, diverse neighborhoods, already predominantly worked remotely before the pandemic. Co-founder Shamus Toomey said reporters might be in the office once or twice a month. They’re in there far less frequently now, although co-founders have popped in to grab needed supplies from the space they share with six other companies. “We take turns collecting mail and sending it to each other – and watering plants,” Toomey said. Many common-sense policies and safety practices are shared by every newspaper that responded to the survey. Reporters and photographers alike

are required to wear masks in the field and maintain social distancing whenever possible. They’re advised to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer immediately Shamus Toomey after each interview or assignment. “They also know that if they’re ever in a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable about their safety, their health comes first, that it is more important than any individual John Lampinen assignment,” Lampinen said. “We talk about this a lot, and I can’t say enough about how proud and impressed I have been by the staff’s ability to turn on a dime in how we report the news in this new environment. They are such incredible people.”

Some policies less stringent Chris Coates, Central Illinois editor for Lee Enterprises and the IPA’s 2019 editor of the year, can be found by a reporter or two, or photographers, a day or two each week in his offices at The Pantagraph in Bloomington and Herald & Review in Decatur. He otherwise works remotely, but said he goes in occasionally “to make sure the newspaper’s OK and check in with things.” He said photographers often work in the office, as well as reporters “if they need to file and they’re close to the building.” Anyone entering the building must wear a mask and perform a self-assessment. Same goes for reporters at the Edwardsville Intelligencer who are covering events downtown, “a few yards from the office,” as Editor Brittany Johnson described it. She cited a Black Lives Matter protest the weekend of Oct. 17 as an example. She said there’s never more than two reporters in the office at any time, and that desks are set up at least 6 feet apart.

The Belleville News-Democrat, about 25 miles away, has a similar policy – no more than two in the office at a time, masks required, and reporters Brittany Johnson should be in the office only if they’re covering live events. “They also are asked to maintain distance and disinfect the areas they use,” Senior Editor Todd Eschman said. The BND team is living through particularly unique circumstances, having sold its Civil War-era building earlier this year with plans to move into its new, right-sized office a couple of blocks to the north. “There was some anticipated upheaval even before the pandemic hit, and so we had a plan to move people and work remotely temporarily in the interim,” he said. “This has gone on much, much longer than we anticipated, of course, but I think that planning was an advantage.” Then any prospects of anyone working in the building came to a screeching halt when a frequent letter-writer on Oct. 16 made a threat to blow up the new building using fertilizer and dynamite, a threat Eschman described as “credible.” He said the office would be closed for the foreseeable future.

Gauging reporters’ comfort level Both Johnson and Eschman emphasized checking in with reporters before and after their assignments to make sure they’re comfortable with where they’re going and where they’ve just been. “Outside the newsroom, we're very careful about where we send reporters and are sensitive and accommodating to their individual concerns,” Eschman wrote in the survey. “We're going to BLM demonstrations, for example, but making arrangements to speak to organizers in advance and/or away from the crowds while observing from safer distances. If a

reporter is uncomfortable with the size of the crowd or feels their space is being encroached, we encourage them to act on their personal judgement and sense of well-being.” Baldwin is all too familiar with protest coverage in Rockford, “a city fraught with racial tension,” in his words. He’s grateful to Gannett for providing all the safety gear reporters and photographers need. “We’ve covered the protests very, very intensely,” Baldwin said. “We made darn sure of two things: Don’t put yourself in danger, or get yourself between protestors and police. But also make darn sure you’re wearing your mask, that you’ve got plenty of hand sanitizer available, and everything else you might need.” When President Donald Trump held a rally Oct. 17 with little to no social distancing a short drive from Rockford in Janesville, Wisconsin, Baldwin ultimately left it up to his reporter and photographer as to whether they’d cover the event in person. “I’m not going to send you in harm’s way,” he said. The reporter opted to insert content from a sister paper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, into his story, while the photog covered the event in person. “He very much wanted to go, and from a business standpoint, it made more sense for him to go. A gallery from a Trump rally was going to get more traffic than the text would,” Baldwin said.

‘We need to check in on each other’ Several of the editors expressed in the survey and in interviews that among the opportunities to be seized amid the dramatic changes this year is a renewed focus on mental health. Any editor worth his salt is aware journalists will work hours they’re not clocking if somebody doesn’t stop them. “We’ve been very, very strict with making sure people aren’t clocking in at crazy times,” Coates said. “Regular

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COVID-19 Continued from Page 12 check-ins are really important.” A certain level of attention to detail, if not perfectionism, is OK, Lampinen said. But there’s a line. “Some reporters have to fight the temptation to return after hours to check the computer to touch up a story or get a head start on tomorrow or see what more they can do. Some of that’s probably natural and OK, but a lot of it can become debilitating.” “Working remotely has made it particularly different for managers to separate their work life from their home life,” Baldwin said. “I’ve ordered people to take a day off. This job is mentally taxing. You’re not going to do anybody any good if you’re exhausted.” Paying close attention to staff during video meetings and monitoring when people are logged in, active on email and clocking in and out can go a long way in protecting journalists from themselves. “I can usually tell if something’s going off the rails, and reel it in,” Coates said. Johnson said she’s re-examined her decision-making when assigning stories for the Intelligencer. “The world is not going to wait,” she said. “There are people out there who are going to do what they think is best – whether it’s wearing a mask or not, social distancing or not. So we have to decide as a newsroom, when there’s an event, whether we cover that event or deliver that news.” She said it’s crucial to take time away from the regular grind to ask reporters how they’re doing. “The health and safety of our reporters is paramount,” Johnson said. “That’s not only physical, but it’s mental. It’s important to check in with the reporter afterward – not only how the assignment went, but how [they] feel. “We need to check in on each other as humans, like you would with a friend.” Lampinen said it’s more important than ever to tell staff they’re doing good work. “Touching base, recognizing good work, giving staff members a respite from time to time, these always are important in a work situation,” Lampinen said. “They’ve become even more important in the isolated work situation the pandemic has created.” Both Johnson and Lampinen said a newsroom can be energized simply by acknowledging the impact of the work it’s doing. “We have to remember what we’re doing: educating the community,” Johnson said. “That invigorates us.” “We’re reporting history,” Lampinen said. “The vast majority of people on our staff appreciate that we’re reporting for the greater good and helping the audience understand their risks and how we can mitigate their risks, and the politics that have developed.”

What’s been lost

Nearly all respondents to the survey agreed on the biggest thing journalists have lost while working remotely: each other. “Even though I think a lot of us are introverts – that’s why we’re in a position to ask all the questions and have others answer – we like being part of the team and succeeding together,” Baldwin said. “The people who do this work are incredibly smart, incredibly passionate, and incredibly funny. We’re missing that.” Every editor knows that bittersweet moment when a reporter ducks into his or her office while the editor is trying to edit a story or crunch budget numbers. Eschman misses being interrupted in the BND office. “The ideas that arise from spurof-the-moment conversation and reactions to live events is missing,” Todd Eschman he said. “There is simply no replacement for the daily, live contact with colleagues in a newsroom, not just for communication, but for maintaining energy and enthusiasm.” McMahon remarked on how many breakthroughs would typically happen immediately after an in-person staff meeting at the Tribune. “The afterglow of a meeting is often where a lot of important work gets done as people follow up on what was said at the meeting,” he said. “That is gone. Cracks don’t get filled in.” “Without working in a newsroom, the cross-pollination of ideas is hard to recreate,” Toomey said. “We try via Zoom and Slack, but it’s not the same.” Colin McMahon In terms of reporting, Lampinen said it’s hard enough to hold Chicago officials’ feet to the fire in person, let alone remotely. “Frankly, [it’s] harder to monitor governments as closely as our watchdog obligations require,” Lampinen said. “How do we deal with those challenges? There’s no magic. We try to make sure we recognize the pitfalls and we try to work harder to overcome them.” Not being able to see a source’s face can make it difficult to capture emotion and convey it in a story. It can also limit a reporter’s agility in an interview. “Reporting via phone, video conference, email, etc. impacts access, flavor, and photography, too,” Toomey wrote in his response.

What’s been gained

Coates said audiences have, however, become accustomed to getting their information, getting to know sources, and hearing stories via a video interview. That’s the case whether they’re watching a national network or a video interview The Pantagraph or Herald & Review posts on its website or pushes on social media. “The weird discovery of this whole thing is that video conferencing has become the de facto way we handle our lives,” he said. “It’s opened up a whole new world to us, with the way we communicate, and the way we report. We’ve discovered we can be equally nimble.” He said the newsroom’s decision-making process is more transparent. “In some ways we communicate better with Google docs and Zoom meetings,” he said. “Our 2 p.m. meetings used to be independent huddles.” Eschman said working remotely has exposed News-Democrat reporters’ strengths and weaknesses. “Who can work independently, who can't, who will step up and lead, who needs a hand to hold?” he said. “That's powerful information. Generally, the drudgery of pandemic coverage has really focused our reporters to high utility, reader-driven topics. We're doing some of our best explanatory journalism at the moment.” Working from home and covering virtual meetings have also given newsrooms a logistic boost. No one misses grinding their teeth while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic first thing in the morning. “The cut in commute time is a big benefit for people personally, and our experience suggests that it not only helps everyone’s mood but it has helped increase productivity, too,” Lampinen said. Toomey said his reporters can now cover multiple meetings, in multiple neighborhoods Block Club covers, in the same night. But there’s a caveat. “Access to public officials at these meetings is obviously slashed, so post-meeting follow-up questions are much tougher,” he said. Johnson said the pandemic has provided an opportunity for journalists to “pull back the curtain” and connect with the greater Edwardsville community that’s going through the same things, being stuck indoors and facing social isolation. Because Daily Herald readers are stuck at home, Lampinen said his staff has been hearing from them more often. “That’s a huge benefit, one that helps strengthen

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COVID-19 Continued from Page 13 our coverage but also our engagement with our readers,” he said. “I think that engagement is stronger now than ever. And we want to find ways to make that continue even after the pandemic fades.”

What’s on the horizon Psychologists, propped up by experts’ predictions of another increase in deaths involving COVID-19 by year’s end, have warned we’re approaching a “long, dark winter,” in the words of Steve Joordens, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. As a result, no one who responded to the survey is entertaining the thought of staff returning to the newsroom this year. Some companies have established Jan. 1, 2021, as when they’ll re-evaluate the feasibility of a return. The Chicago Tribune has “no plans for a formal return to work process until some time in 2021,” McMahon wrote. “It’s not any safer to be working together now than it was in March,” Toomey said. In late summer, Gannett laid out guidelines on when staff could safely return to the office. In a companywide editors call Oct. 23, it was made clear “any return to the office is going to be voluntary,” Baldwin said. Despite journalists’ ingrained practice of going toward danger in order to describe it and warn readers not to, Baldwin said the fact that no one in his shop has tested positive speaks to reporters’ prudent decisions and attention to safety. “Let’s face it: We as news people live in a world of facts, information, and truths,” Baldwin said. “We’re not deniers. We believe the data and science. It stands to reason that news folks would take the necessary precautions.” With the convergence of the again-surging pandemic and cold and flu season, Baldwin said the quiet part out loud. “It’s gonna be a while before we go back.”

Hillary and Jay Dickerson pose with their daughters (left to right) Ruby, 14, Lilly, 17 and Maya, 15. Hillary is the editor of The Galena Gazette and Jay is the weekly newspaper's sales manager.

COVID-19 diagnosis gives Galena Gazette editor added perspective ‘It’s frustrating’ to see public ignoring seriousness of virus, weekly paper’s leader says By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association GALENA – In April, Hillary Dickerson, the editor of The Galena Gazette, wrote a column titled “Finding Silver Linings.” She shared her family’s heartbreak with the weekly newspaper’s readers. Most notably, her oldest daughter’s graduation ceremony and performance in “Mamma Mia” had been suddenly scrapped. But Dickerson quickly shifted to a place of gratitude for the chance for her, her husband, and their three daughters to spend more time together. “In the past several weeks, our time together as a

family has been the greatest blessing in my life. … I’m sorry to say that it had been far too long since we had time to make dinner together every night and then sit around the table to share that meal,” the Page 4 column in the April 8 edition reads. “There’s no rushing off to the next meeting or activity. We’re present in one another’s lives. We even clear the table together and do the dishes with barely a complaint. We’ve ended the evening with some great board game battles, hours spent huddled working on a puzzle or cuddled up together in the living room watching a movie.”

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GALENA Continued from Page 14 Her moment of reckoning was just beginning. In early October, six members of the small-but-mighty newspaper’s staff tested positive for COVID-19, including Hillary and her husband, Jay, who’s also the paper’s sales manager. “Luckily, the timing worked out that [the office was] able to remain open the entire time,” Hillary said. She and Jay immediately isolated at home. She was able to connect to the server and lay out pages the following Monday. “Luckily our symptoms were quite mild, so we were able to push through,” Hillary said. She and Jay both suffered mild sinus symptoms and extreme fatigue, Hillary said. One of their daughters suffered those same symptoms, as

well as a headache. Another daughter, who was diagnosed a week after those three had tested positive, “only” lost her taste and smell, Hillary said. “It was so strange, all those different symptoms in one house,” she said. “We’re all pretty much back to 100 percent now.” That is apart from their youngest, 15-year-old Ruby, whose sense of taste is still a bit off. “She says almond milk is salty, bananas are sweeter ...” Hillary said. Brace for the real tragedy in all of this. “... and Goldfish crackers have a weird aftertaste,” she continued. Hillary and one reporter make up the editorial staff that covers Galena, a popular tourist destination in the state’s northwest corner. Over the years, the Gazette has regularly won the

Illinois Press Association’s editorial sweepstakes, and finished runner-up to The Hinsdalean in 2019. “Having lived and worked near Galena for many years, I’ve always admired the work The Galena Gazette staff has done,” said Jeff Rogers, director of the IPA’s foundation. “It’s consistently one of the best nondaily newspapers in the state. It’s a paper that is really plugged into the communities it covers, and it shows in the journalism practiced by Hillary and her team.” Since Gov. JB Pritzker issued his stay-at-home order March 20, apart from three staff – two ad reps and a graphic designer – the Gazette’s team has worked in the office, often beyond its reduced schedule of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. “As I’m sure you understand, people are often at the office outside those times,” Hillary said. “We have a large enough space that we’re all 10-plus feet apart. We wear masks and require those of customers.” The week after Hillary’s diagnosis, her reporter started working from home as a precautionary measure. Whereas many daily newspapers have made their offices completely off-limits, it’s a different game for weekly publications and their small staffs. The Carroll County Review, in Thomson directly south of Jo Daviess County, has an editorial staff of one – 76-year-old owner and publisher Jon Whitney. “The office is really an extension of our house and we spend more time here than at home. At least it seems like it,” Whitney said. “We only have a part-time person that missed about six weeks, but is back now. Other than that, it's my wife [Nancy] and I.” Hillary Dickerson said her family’s experience has given her new perspective, while Jo Daviess County’s positivity rate has eclipsed 10 percent and restaurants throughout the state are bucking orders to close their dining rooms. “We’ve been very open about our positive test results in the community, and I hope that sharing our

experience helps others understand the seriousness of what is happening,” she said. “Our positivity rate in this region is climbing daily and I see all sorts of people not taking the pandemic seriously on a daily basis. It’s frustrating.” Hillary misses pounding the pavement, covering events, and doing in-person interviews. She said staff will occasionally mask up to cover in-person meetings, while keeping their distance. “As convenient as it is to attend a meeting virtually, I’ve certainly noticed that the discussion among board members isn’t the same,” she said. Whitney seconded that, saying one village board has canceled most of its meetings after two of them held in a large space to accommodate social distancing didn’t go well. “That did not work well because of acoustic problems,” he said. “Most of the board members are elderly and don't hear well; two do not have computers or internet service.” He said the other village board the Review covers was once virtual but has resumed meeting in person, but will likely return to the virtual format now that cases are again surging. In lieu of high school sports seasons, The Galena Gazette is producing a special section with feature stories about how the school has adjusted to the pandemic and highlighting some of the unique things that are happening in and out of the classrooms. “We actually believe this section could have wider appeal than just a typical sports program, so it will be interesting to see the response,” Hillary Dickerson said. “It’s also a great way to document what’s happening now for future generations.” While newsrooms’ overwhelming consensus lament of 2020 might be “It’s not the same,” the Dickersons, with their newfound perspective, willingly accept it. “I’m willing to change things up if it means keeping people safe, and we’re still definitely committed to covering the communities we serve,” she said.



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Sign up for our Sales By The Book Club The Illinois Press Association Sales by the Book Club is a bimonthly one-hour Zoom meeting during which participants will review a pre-selected book on sales to help grow their sales skills. We will review one book twice a month for 3-4 months and help participants apply what they learn from the book to the real world of advertising sales. The only expense for our members is the purchase of the book. IPA Director of Revenue Sandy Pistole will present the

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Temperature check: The state of student journalism in Illinois Some college newspapers cease printing, others pull back, while one office is locked down By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association CARBONDALE – Sept. 11 was particularly heavy this year for the Daily Egyptian student newspaper at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. A staff member who’d begun to feel sick Sept. 7 and received a positive COVID-19 test Sept. 11, triggered a 2-week lockdown. “We value the safety of our community and staff and we are taking every precaution,” Editor-in-Chief Kallie Cox wrote to conclude a letter from the editor that was published Sept. 11. Through testing and contact tracing, all staff members were cleared, Cox wrote, adding that the only those who have been cleared will Kallie Cox be permitted to cover in-person events during the quarantine. Cox said in late-August that her 16 reporters outnumber the paper’s entire staff last school year. Good thing. They’ve been busy. The Daily-Egyptian reported Aug. 24 that the university was refusing to release any data on COVID-19 cases, and the ensuing social media outcry prompted administration to put numbers out there the very next day. Some numbers, but not nearly enough, Cox said. “These numbers aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of what’s happening on campus,” she said. “They’re general numbers. They don’t specify where the outbreaks have

The Northern Star student publication, like other college newspapers, have gone to online-only. (Photo by Christopher Heimerman) happened. They just aren’t a great reflection of what’s actually happening. They’re not terribly helpful to our students.” Clearly an old soul, Cox struggles to take satisfaction from a story having an immediate impact. “It’s definitely very rewarding,” she said. “That’s the end goal with any story we write. We want things to get better. But it’s frustrating that they did the bare minimum.” Cox also said in late-August that the university was recommending students get tested but not providing any tests – outside of the athletics department. The Daily-Egyptian reported in mid-September that the university began testing on-campus. The university has also told the

Daily Egyptian to take down its signs indicating staff must be tested before entering the office. “We were told to take down our signs, that it’s a liability,” Cox said. “I don’t plan on taking the signs down. They can’t control whether I’m taking temperatures.” She and William Freivogel, her lawyer and the university’s director of journalism, are exploring whether they need to ask for special permission to keep the signs up. On Aug. 26, the editorial board published a fiery call to action. “This is unacceptable,” it reads. “As a public university, SIU needs to do better and it needs to become more transparent. If it doesn’t, people are going to start dying. We don’t want

to write obituaries for our friends, co-workers and teachers when it can be avoided by better policies and more transparency from the administration.” The closing line packs some punch. “We want to live to make it to graduation.” Both the Daily Egyptian and The Alestle at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville continue to print daily. “A lot of people here rely on the print product,” she said. “We don’t have widespread Internet. And our readers need their news, maybe more than ever before.” During the 2019 fall semester, the Edwardsville university’s administration announced The Alestle was being moved to an office about one-quarter the size of its previous space. With social distancing, only seven people can be in the new office. The Alestle’s staff is between 25 and 30, adviser Tammy Merrett said. Staff must reserve overflow rooms for most of the week during peak times so staff can still work on-site, but not in the same room. “We are using Zoom whenever possible as well, but it has its downsides when we have new staff members,” Merrett said. “The staff is adapting fairly well to COVID situations of more remote working, but it is harder for them to build a rapport with each other as a team. Now that they are in the same room with each other, albeit properly socially distanced, I can tell they want to spend more time together but feel like they can't.”

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STUDENT Continued from Page 14

Stop the presses Will Buss wishes it would have been a surprise when, in a matter of months, The Western Courier went from a three-days-a week student newspaper to online-only. “We’re watching the deterioration of our democracy, with newspapers vanishing, or being stripped down to the point they can baWill Buss rely operate,” said Buss, the Courier’s adviser and a broadcasting and journalism instructor at his alma mater, Western Illinois University. “These are sad times, and we’re going to suffer from a loss as a society.” As was the case for most student newspapers in the state, the Courier printed its March 6 edition thinking the students would return after spring break and get back to work. Days later, Gov. JB Pritzker ordered residents statewide to stay home as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation. Buss had a feeling the March 6 edition would be the last print offering for the 115-year-old newspaper. “I always knew in the back of my mind that maybe we would have to consider going to an all-online publication,” he said. “I knew we’d have to make this decision. The pandemic just made that decision more clear.” The usual culprits were at play in the financial constraints that forced the decision: declining enrollment, plummeting advertising revenue, and the warp-speed advancements in technology. “The ease of the technology just made it a matter of time,” Buss said. WIU’s enrollment also is only about two-thirds of what it was a decade ago. Adding insult to injury, Buss said that he’s not seeing the watchdogs he worked alongside when he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WIU in 1997.

“I fell in love with the business as a college student,” he said. “I don’t come into too many students who are aspiring reporters. But I do have students from all walks of life who just enjoy being in journalism.” Editors were in the Courier office Aug. 24 putting out the first of more than 43 planned e-editions. Buss said social distancing guidelines are being followed in the office, adding that he moved editors who are doing their coursework remotely out of their roles and replaced them with in-person students. He said there are silver linings to ditching the print product. “We don’t have the same deadlines and considerations for getting the product up to the printer,” he said. “It gives us some liberties, and we can focus on reporting more immediately, in real time.” The Northern Star printed twice a week before it all came to a screeching halt in March. Now the paper is digital-only. For one, the Northern Illinois University watchdog’s adviser, Shelley Hendricks, isn’t wistful for ink on her fingers. “I’m not sentimental toward print at all,” she said. “As a consumer, I consume almost all online.” Her staff can be in the office, if they follow social distancing guidelines, but she said most are working remotely. “The biggest difficulty for us is the team-building,” Hendricks said. “The students have been doing great. They have all the fire they’ve always had. But trying to establish the esprit de corps that comes with being in a newsroom has been a struggle.” Hendricks said an overlooked struggle is recruiting, and that advisers are wise to count on their staff being fewer in number at the end of the school year than at the outset, given how staff come and go. “We’re pretty much at the staff size we were at the end of the last school year. Which is kind of scary,” she said. “We just don’t have that huge

influx of people right now.” The organization was obviously unable to do its typical recruiting at in-person events over the summer. “Advising a student Shelley Hendricks newspaper is similar to coaching a sports team,” Hendricks said. “You have to be constantly recruiting and protecting the franchise. This has certainly set us back.” She said in a rare collaboration with university administration – “rare as in never before,” she said – open positions at The Northern Star were advertised in an email sent by administration in June. She’s banking on students recruiting, but she’s also resuscitated a newsletter that she said perhaps didn’t previously get the attention it deserved. Having worked at the Rockford Register Star for 14 years before transitioning to NIU in 2012, she’s stayed in touch with professional colleagues and has learned those newsletters are also prime real estate for advertisers. Bradley University’s student newspaper, The Scout, which began printing in 1898, has also gone all-digital and dropped its weekly newspaper. Adviser Chris Kaegard, who’s also president of the Illinois College Press Association and the associate editor at The Journal Star in Peoria, said back in March that he didn’t anticipate the print product coming back in the fall. “Our students had already laid the groundwork for the transition,” he said. “They were putting much more focus on making sure things were online in a timely way. They were making sure they were writing good teasers on social media and live-tweeting events.” It was easier for them than, say, Kaergard. “It was a much more natural transition for them,” he said. “They live and breathe social media and are pulling

in their news online.” He’s urged to his staff that with the relentless torrent of anxiety that comes from living in a pandemic, humanizing stories has never been more important. He Chris Kaergard pointed to being able to share athletes’ stories beyond the box score as an example. That emphasis plays right into the wheelhouse of his editor-in-chief, Haley Johnson. “I don’t think everything should be surrounded by COVID,” said Johnson, who celebrated her 21st birthday the same day bars and restaurants were closed. “Before this pandemic, human interest stories were viewed as filler content. We need them now more than ever. We need to be reminded we’re human.” In early September, The Scout spoke with professors to get their point of view on the choice to teach in person, as staff were given the option to do so if they have – or could find – a classroom that meets Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines. “It is a really hard decision, so a lot of these older professors have to completely change their teaching style to fit into the pandemic,” Johnson said. “We want to know how they’re feeling about that.” There’s no questioning how James Plath, adviser of The Argus at Illinois Wesleyan University, feels. The former weekly paper will now be online-only, and he’s resigned himself to a bleak outlook on journalism as a whole. “I've had earnest students in the ‘B’ range over the past few years, James Plath but have lacked the driven wannabe journalist that I've had in the past,” he said. “I personally have noticed a dropoff in registration for my journalism classes since the [expletive] in the White

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STUDENT Continued from Page 18 House started yammering about fake news and calling journalists the enemy of the people.” He said over the past 28 years, he’d have at least a dozen students in basic news writing. “Since Trump, the number has been more like three to six,” he said. "Several times classes had to be canceled for lack of enrollment.”

Slow the presses Many student newspapers, rather than stop printing altogether, have

scaled back their frequency. The Augustana Observer has gone from a weekly print edition to a loose plan to publish “a few print issues each seCarolyn Yaschur mester, with the majority of the students’ work going online,” according to adviser Carolyn Yaschur. When students work on a print edition, they’ll stagger layout days to accommodate social distancing. All

their budget and staff meetings are happening virtually. The Daily Northwestern, driven by students in Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism, will go from daily to twice weekly – that is, as long as printing on campus is possible. “That’s the plan, but the newsroom is on campus. So if campus closes, we obviously won’t be printing, and we’ll be online-only,” said Marissa Martinez, the Daily Northwestern’s editorMarissa Martinez in-chief and diversity and inclusion chair. The first editions hit newsstands Sept. 21 and Sept. 24, and Monday and Thursday will be the publish dates going forward. Northwestern has a quarterly calendar, so classes first resumed Sept. 16. Same goes for DePaul Univer-

sity, which is printing just 750 copies of The DePaulia, compared to its typical 4,000 copies. Staff is staggered at its office in Chicago’s Loop, and to accomMarla Krouse modate social distancing, students have been shuffled to the back office that was previously vacant. Masks are mandatory, and no food is allowed, according to adviser Marla Krouse. The Chicago Maroon at the University of Chicago opted to go from printing two editions a month to putting out only its orientation issue and distributing copies in residence halls and Hyde Park businesses. The rest of the students’ reporting will be online-only, adviser Karen Pryor said. She added that Maroon journalists likely won’t be allowed in the office this quarter.



Phone it in? Only during a pandemic Student newspaper advisers, editors balance safety, proper training By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association DeKALB – It doesn’t make sense. The idea of telling reporters to opt for calling a source, rather than banging on their door, doesn’t add up in the mind of any editor worth their salt. But it’s another verse in the song and dance that is reporting during a pandemic. “I’m trying to get them to be safe. That’s what’s most important, of course,” said Shelley Hendricks, adviser of The Northern Star at Northern Illinois University. “But we don’t want to teach future journalists to do their work over the phone. That’s not how this job is done. Not effectively, at least.” “I don’t prefer phone interviews, but we’ll make an exception,” said Will Buss, the broadcasting and journalism instructor at Western Illinois University and The Western Courier adviser. “It’s ideal to be face-to-face and gauge reactions and responses.” He’d know. Before joining WIU in 2016, he built a celebrated career as an award-winning reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat. Before joining The Northern Star in 2012, Hendricks worked 14 years at the Rockford Register Star where, just like at The Northern Star, employees are setting foot in the office only when it’s necessary. It’s a risky game of identifying the threshold of what’s safe enough, and the stakes are high. Even before the fall semester began, when two members of The Vidette staff at Illinois State University tested positive with COVID-19, the office was closed, and staff had to work remotely as it put out its weekly print edition. ISU provides Cisco Remote, which allows students to access the office PCs from off-site, and Vidette staff used the system to build its seven e-editions while campus was closed by Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order. Haley Johnson, the editor-in-chief of The Bradley Scout at Bradley University, will always remember when the brake was suddenly thrown in the spring. The Scout, which began printing in 1898, has dropped its weekly print product and gone online-only, so it’s last physical cover story was on students studying abroad catching flights home because of the coronavirus. “It was creepy foreshadowing. Suddenly, it was on campus,” she said. “It wasn’t a slow economic decline. It happened so quickly, and it was a really

A statue of Lydia Moss Bradley outside Bradley Hall at Bradley University in Peoria. The student newspaper there, The Bradley Scout, has dropped its weekly printed product and gone online-only. Staff there, like everywhere, has had to be cautious about working together in an office. "Follow these rules. Don’t move the chairs. Be careful in the office and out of the office,” Chris Kaergard, adviser to The Bradley Scout, said. “If one person tests positive, we have to close the whole office. With a small staff like ours, that would be devastating.” bizarre feeling.” The Scout’s adviser, Chris Kaergard, is also associate editor at the The Journal Star in Peoria and president of the Illinois College Press Association. He praised Johnson for her safety-first approach to management as campus reopened over the summer. “She was very upfront with the staff: Follow these rules. Don’t move the chairs. Be careful in the office and out of the office,” Kaergard said. “If one person tests positive, we have to close the whole office. With a small staff like ours, that would be devastating.” Perhaps it benefits college newspapers’ editors that they haven’t spent years reminding reporters that they need to get out of the office and pound the pavement to find stories and get sources to talk to them. But that doesn’t make it easy. “It’s a struggle to train people virtually,” said Kallie Cox, the 20-year-old editor-in-chief of The

Daily Egyptian at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She has an exquisite problem. Her staff is much bigger this year than a year ago. She has 16 reporters, which is more than her total staff last school year. While she’s working in the office, her staff has the option to work remotely. So she must weigh the risks out in the field and accept the fact that many reporters won’t have the in-person training she’s gotten the past few years. She said some sources have insisted on answering questions only via email. “That’s something we try to avoid at all costs, because it is not the same as getting a real interview or having a real conversation with someone,” Cox said. “It is almost impossible for us to build trust with a source when we can't look them in the eye, so that's something we have struggled with as well. It is definitely one of the hardest parts of the pandemic.”




Standard-bearer Vidette going under university control Revenue collapse forces ISU to fold student newspaper into communications department By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association NORMAL – Years before the COVID-19 pandemic rearranged not just the seating arrangement but the entire face of the college newsroom, the writing was on the wall at one of the state’s most celebrated publications. John Plevka, general manager of The Vidette at Illinois State University, acknowledges he saw the words, but now the font is boldfaced. The 132-year-old student newspaper is in peril. He and Business Advisor Madeline Jean-Charles were given non-renewal notices in June, and next summer the publication will be folded fully in the university’s communications department. Plevka sits on the committee tasked with proposing by December what the new arrangement will look like. “I do not want to see them shutter this place,” he said. “The opportunities we provide on the digital platforms – web content management and spinning it out through social media, and our podcasting and photo galleries – it’s all taking off. These English majors we draw to do the copy editing, it’s just crazy. We get these bright kids, exceptional students, and there’s no similar opportunity on campus.” The proof is in the pudding: The Vidette has won General Excellence in the Illinois College Press Association competition 2 of the past 3 years. Plevka, the former editor at The Journal-Star in Peoria, said when he transitioned to ISU in 2012, The Vidette’s budget was $1 million. It’s now around $250,000. He’s cut an IT position, reduced Jean-Charles’ hours, and pared down the number of paid student employees. The once-five-day newspaper dropped its Friday edition in 2013, went down to two days in 2015, and became a weekly in August 2019. It’s still a weekly – for this school year, at least, and as long as campus remains open. The constant taffy pull for Plevka was whether to

make deeper cuts and compromise the services the Vidette provided to its community. “Even with the cuts we were making, the model was still intact. We were doing it on a much tighter budget,” Plevka said. “Looking back, I do feel we could have been a little more proactive on this, potentially as far back as 4 or 5 years ago. I’ve been sounding these sirens for several years. We didn’t just find out we had a financial problem.” The last fiscal year The Vidette finished in the

black was 2013. It’s projected to finish more than $200,000 in the red when the calendar flips to July next summer. If the plane were going down 5 years ago, it perceivably crashed into the mountain in spring of 2018, when the paper’s two biggest advertisers, rental companies First Site and Young America, pulled their ads. The accounts made up about $100,000 of The Vidette’s revenue, Plevka said.

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VIDETTE Continued from Page 21 In advertising with The Vidette, Young America had carved out the one way – perceivably – it could circumvent policy preventing it from advertising on campus. The company bought ads “the size of refrigerators,” as Plevka put it, that went on the paper boxes around campus. Plevka said while he was given no indication as to why the companies cut ties – “and they don’t have to” – he and his students now watch wistfully as buses drive through campus with new advertisement clings on the side. “They look really nice, actually,” he said, laughing. “These are not nasty, evil people. They’re business people who are managing multi-million-dollar rental properties. They moved to more internal marketing, and direct marketing on social media. It makes sense. They didn’t need us as much, painful as that is to admit.” Plevka said when he looked at the size of the advertising accounts The Vidette was leaning on, it was eerily reminiscent of the prioritization of accounts with automobile dealerships and real estate companies in the professional world. “I don’t want to say losing those accounts was a fatal blow, because we’re not dead yet,” he said. “But we just have not been able to backfill.” The Vidette was actually folded into the communications department in 2011, but it still paid its own bills. The newspaper reported in July that Diane Zosky, interim dean of the college of arts and sciences, said she hopes the program can keep its learning lab requirement – while being feasible under the university’s control. “For the first time in the last two years, I’m very excited for The Vidette and hopeful for it,” Zosky told The Vidette. “We have chosen how we can transform and save and continue The Vidette as an excellent paper.” Zosky declined to be interviewed by the Illinois Press Association. Plevka, 64, said while it’s possible he and Jean-Charles could be rehired after their contracts expire June 30, 2021, he’s at peace with however the situation

John Plevka, general manager of The Vidette student newspaper at Illinois State University. (Photo supplied) plays out. After all, he said the bulk of his daily duties at The Journal Star centered around balancing a near-impossible budget and letting go of talent. “I was the guy responsible for walking people out the door after letting them know with a minute’s notice,” Plevka said. “That was basically my life for 2 years – cutting people at The Journal Star.” Enrollment is holding steady at ISU, Plevka said. Shudder to think about budgets at universities around the state where enrollment is in steep decline, apart from the two Southern Illinois University schools, which have actually seen an uptick. Other state universities, however, have collected student fees for their newspaper organizations. When ISU approved a new $10 student fee after the 2018-19 school year, The Vidette learned in July 2019 it wasn’t getting a cut. Plevka said he was hoping for 45 cents. “When we found out we weren’t getting a piece of that pie, that’s when I knew we were really in trouble,” he said. It was perhaps the smoking gun of what was to come. While The Vidette’s website racked up more than a million page views, the university saw newspapers sitting in their boxes, not

being picked up by students. “They see those leftover papers, so it’s harder for them to see the traffic on the website,” Plevka said. “We’re

getting interactions globally, and we’re trying to attract international students. It’s pretty incredible.” He all but assumes the print product will be gone next school year, but he has faith The Vidette will stay in business online. “I don’t think it’s going to be shuttered,” he said. “I think the alumni base will speak up.” Among his greatest worries is that in moving it into the communications department, only comm students will be able to participate. “That would be too bad,” Plevka said. “We’ve got English, political science majors, students in majors across the board. And in addition to the experience reporting and managing the web content, the other thing is the managerial experience. It’s huge. Where else are they going to get that? Internships are great, but you’re not going to get management experience as an intern at The Pantagraph.”



The Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map" shows the locations of the 940 hate groups in the U.S. it tracked in 2019. There were 26 such groups in Illinois last year, the center says. (Credit:

‘THERE’S NO OTHER SIDE IN HATE’ Journalists urge re-examination of hate group coverage policies in moment of reckoning By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association Patriot Front was born in August 2017, from the aftermath of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, as an offshoot of the Neo-Nazi group Vanguard America. Within months, the Southern Poverty Law Center tracked Patriot Front in nearly 40 states – including Illinois. The SPLC calls it an “image-obsessed” white nationalist group that “rehabilitated the explicitly fascist agenda of Vanguard America with garish patriotism.” It’s on the media to call it that, as well, according to Adam Rhodes, the first social jus-

tice at the Reader in Chicago. “Media, for whatever reason, has failed to really call a spade a spade, especially when human rights are being implicated,” said Adam Rhodes, whose 1-year position made possible by a grant from the Field Foundation. Adam Rhodes “There’s a side where someone has human rights, and a side where it doesn’t. We need to be covering the issue of extremism and hate groups. But they need to be prepared to label things as extremism when it’s extremism. “The media has dropped the ball to say the least.”

Even before the tidal wave of civil rights protests and upheaval from counter-protests, hate groups were spreading like wildfire in America. According to the SPLC, the number of hate groups in America eclipsed 1,000 in February 2019, and were up 30 percent midway through Donald Trump’s presidency. SPLC reported that hate groups have more than doubled since it tracked 457 groups in 1999. The nonprofit watchdog this past March put out a warning that white supremacist groups had increased by 55 percent during the Trump era.

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HATE Continued from Page 23 In Illinois, hate groups have seen a rise from 10 in 2003 to 26 in 2019, with a high-water mark of 35 in 2017. Neighboring Wisconsin has seen an increase from nine groups in 2017 to 15 in 2019. The wide-open wounds inflicted by 2020 have set up a moment of reckoning for journalists: How do you cover an incendiary group that thrives in both the darkness and in the spotlight? “Obviously, we can’t afford to ignore hate,” said Ron Smith, whose legacy has led him to his role as editor of the nonprofit Neighborhood News Service in Milwaukee, a nonRon Smith profit that serves 18 underserved communities. Smith worked 14 years as deputy editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He then served as managing editor of USA Today before joining NNS. He also teaches practice of journalism and media studies at Marquette. “It’s Journalism 101: We don’t have to amplify voices of hate,” he said. “We’d not be responsible if we did not talk about hate groups. ... But we’re not stenographers. We’re under no obligation to tell things verbatim. We don’t have to replicate the hatred they’re talking about, but we have to think about how they impact life in America.” The SPLC curates an interactive Hate Map, where users can do deep dives into the recent history of hate groups in America, with year-over-year data and filters to pin down specific ideologies. A newsroom’s audience needs to know what hate groups are out there, what they’re doing, and what threat they pose. It’s on reporters and their editors to determine where to draw the line between the public’s need to know and context and quotes that amplify messages of hate or blatant falsehoods. “You don’t want to give them free

publicity and recruiting tools,” said Daxton “Chip” Stewart, a professor at Texas Christian University, whose courses include ethics and law of mass communication. “Attention legitimizes them.”

The editor-reporter relationship With newsrooms being gashed by brutal economic realities, discussions between editors and reporters remain paramount in coverage of sensitive issues. “Communication is one of my biggest points in running a newsroom,” said Romando Dixson, who’s nearly 3 months into his tenure as the first Black editor of the Journal-Star in Peoria. “That discussion leads to decisions big and small, whether Romando Dixson it be how much background we’ll use, which quotes, and which photos. There’s such a gray area with everything in the business.” Joe Davidson, the Washington Post’s federal government issues columnist who along with 43 others co-founded the National Association of Black Journalists nearly 50 years ago, spoke of the importance of coaching over simply editing and line-editing when it comes to covering events such as a protest. “It begins at the story assignment, having a conversation about what to look for and how to frame a story without putting a reporter in a straightjacket,” he said. “Throughout the editing process, the line-editing process, those discussions continue. Once the story is published, the conversation can continue with a look toward the next story.” It’s equally on the editor to evaluate the story’s context, and often add to what the reporter has put in the story, in order to reach and report the truth. “What we try to get at is the truth, not just saying this person said A

and somebody else said Z, and that there’s nothing in between A and Z,” he said. “That would lack responsibility in journalism. Everything in between is part of the context, and good reporters have to be aware and do their research and talk to a variety of people, to make sure they’re not giving equal weight to A and Z.” Dixson said it’s also important to check with reporters before they leave the office if there’s a potential concern over the topic they’re covering. “Is it a safe environment for your reporter, and can they cover an event in an unbiased manner?” he said. “Then you have to be able to adjust accordingly.” Before any of those conversations comes the decision as to whether an

event warrants coverage. “If we covered gatherings of five people, we’d be covering protests all day, every day,” Dixson said.

A moment of reckoning starts with leadership It’s up to each newsroom to re-examine the line between the public’s need to know and reckless journalism that exacerbates societal issues. Dixson said he’s spending far more time than expected writing and rewriting various policies for the Journal-Star newsroom, but the paper hasn’t yet addressed its policy on covering hate groups.

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‘We’re all in this together’ Chicago region nonprofit collaboration shares content, ideas, training info and then Illinois Humanities, and during his time with the latter, he brought representatives of Resolve Philadelphia to the city to discuss why what they were doing was working. Sam Cholke “How do we flesh that out?” Cholke said. “How does that work?”

By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN For Illinois Press Association CHICAGO – Collaboration was not normal for Tracy Brown. Not until she left the print side of journalism and stepped into her new role as managing editor of WBEZ, a National Public Radio affiliate in the city. “The news industry has always been competitive in nature,” said Brown, who’s spent the bulk of her career in newspapers, most Tracy Brown recently as deputy managing editor of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Who can get it first? Who can get sources to talk to you? That’s the mentality that’s been built into news organizations.” Even before a pandemic, civil rights upheaval and other forces galvanized journalists, a spirit of collaboration has been alive and well in Chicago. But Solving for Chicago, a consortium of about 20 media outlets in the Chicago region administered by the national Local Media Association,

All parts working together

Journalist Mauricio Peña reports for Block Club Chicago, a neighborhood-focused nonprofit news organization that is part of the Solving for Chicago media consortium that collaborates on reporting and shares content among about 20 outlets. (Photo credit: Alex Garcia) is geared to have a deeper, broader and longer-lasting impact on how news is gathered, reported and supported. “This was done in the interest of better reporting, first and foremost,” said Solving for Chicago’s project director, Sam Cholke. “But one of the side products of that is the model makes money, too.”

In addition to Solving for Chicago, LMA has launched Oklahoma Media Center, a similar collaboration. They’re modeled after the nonprofit initiative Resolve Philadelphia, a project of the Solutions Journalism Network. SJN, along with the Google News Initiative, funds Solving for Chicago. Cholke formerly worked for DNA-

Cholke said most collaboration groups key on either sharing editorial content, or sharing ideas on how to increase revenue streams. “We’re sort of both,” Cholke said. “There’s a synergy there. It’s linked and we have to recognize and understand when those things are reinforcing or not reinforcing each other.” He and LMA staff provide not just a content sharing platform, but support, training and think tank sessions. “That’s the idea at the top of this,” he said. “Shared content is great, but one of the things we’re starting

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HATE Continued from Page 24 “I hope it’s happening, especially in this moment. It may be that we’re ahead of the curve, but I’d suggest that all outlets and all journalists do it,” he said. “There’s no space for hate speech in society. Racism is racism. That’s not a pro-con idea.” He said newsrooms also need to be examining the diversity of their staff. Minorities make up about a quarter of the American population, yet about only one-eighth of newsrooms coast to coast, according to data collected by the American Society of News Editors beginning in 1978, when the group set a goal of newsrooms’ diversity reflecting that of the American population by 2025. Initial gains were encouraging. In 2006, minori-

ties made up nearly 14 percent of newsroom staff, three and a half times more than in 1978 (less than 4 percent). But progress flatlined. Last year, the ASNE and Associated Press Media Editors merged to form News Leaders of America. When only 17 percent of newsrooms responded to its survey in 2018, it paused the initiative to rerack the survey and how it’s distributed. It’s now re-examining the survey process, including a focus on including not just race, ethnicity and gender, but also gender identity and sexual orientation. “I think there’s optimism and room for things to change,” Stewart said. “But that’s tampered by the actual power of people to make decisions, who are

still entrenched in 1970s values. People on the editorial board, and who have access to it, are by and large privileged. They’re affluent. They have money.” Rhodes, too, is skeptical. “There’s no reason we should still be saying ‘First Black investigative reporter of this bureau’,” he said. “I’m flabbergasted at the refusal by media leadership to see diversifying its ranks as anything more than an imperative.” Smith says the wealth of talent in his Marquette students gives him hope, and that he’s optimistic because where some see dismantling, he sees a rebuilding project. “With disruption and change comes opportunity,” he said.



TOGETHER Continued from Page 25 to understand about collaborations is there’s so much beyond that that benefits individual newsrooms.” Similar to Resolve Philadelphia, Solving for Chicago’s members span the media landscape. The initiative’s partners are mostly print, from sizable entities like the newly turned nonprofit Chicago Reader and family-owned Shaw Media to smaller ones, such as individual neighborhood-focused Block Club Chicago, which is growing but hasn’t quite regained the size of its former incarnation as DNA Info. In addition to WBEZ, the local PBS affiliate WTTW is in the fold. Shamus Toomey, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Block Club Chicago, is a longtime print journalist who worked for the Daily Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and City News Bureau before becoming DNA Info’s managing editor. He said cross-promotion between print and broadcast, and entities large and small, is crucial. “I came up in the days of hating the competition and trying to beat them at every turn,” Toomey said. “We like to win, but we also know that as the media landscape changes and contracts, our real job is to make sure Chicago is being covered equitably and robustly. We’re all in this together.”

One month, one topic, at a time Solving for Chicago will pick a topic each month and report on it exhaustively. Cholke said the plan is to publish three stories a week. As of Sept. 11, seven stories had been published on the September topic: essential workers. He shared an example of how the group can touch on myriad issues society faces every day, through a resident’s morning commute to O’Hare International. As Cholke described it, the subject has to get her child ready for the day, board a bus, then a train, and drop the child off at grandma’s in what can be a problematic senior facility.

Borderless Magazine Executive Director Nissa Rhee (left) talks with engagement reporter Diane Bou Khalil in their Chicago office. (Photo credit: Todd Crawford/Northeastern Illinois University) Transportation logistics are down. The subject is worried about being laid off. “Right there you’ve touched on a lot of traditional beats, just on the individual story of someone getting to work in the morning,” Cholke said. “And they haven’t even gotten to work yet. That’s what people need. That’s news. They need news to get through their day.” Brown said simply being able to pick up and run other outlets’ stories is invaluable. “There are some really great, strong stories,” she said. “They’re stories we would have loved to be able to pursue, but we don’t have the bandwidth.” Outlets will also have the opportunity to tune those stories to their expertise and audience.

Supports of all sorts Nissa Rhee is executive director of Borderless Magazine, which covers immigration issues and also trains and mentors journalists on best practices covering the subject. She said as of Sept. 11, the nonpro-

fit had spent more than 670 hours mentoring journalists, but that the biggest prong of the entity is reporting for an audience that is mostly local, but also tracks coast-to-coast. Rhee said in creating a content-sharing network, Solving for Chicago takes a heavy burden off outlets and saves them a valuable, finite commodity: time. “That way I don’t have to spend all my time calling all these editors, which is what I did before,” Rhee said. “It saves that time and helps us to get our stories out to even more outlets.” Beyond content sharing, Solving for Chicago is also providing a think tank and a training ground for its members. Rhee is a Peabody Award-nominated journalist whose experience is by and large in reporting – not the business side. She’s grateful to get support and advice from other directors. “The support is wide and varied,” she said. “For a nonprofit, it’s figuring out who gets to be on your board and how to run your board. There’s also the nitty gritty things, like best

practices for a newsletter to get your stories out, connect with your audience, while raising money.” Borderless, founded in 2017 as an all-volunteer, short-term journalism project, was developed into a nonprofit that was officially rebranded and launched in October 2019. She said her newsletter was in place before the launch, but that it needs to take on a bigger role. “It’s the straightest path to our readers and a place we as journalists know we can reach our audience directly, and get around the algorithms in social media,” she said. Cholke said an emphasis of Solving for Chicago is helping create and coordinate live, paid events, which was his primary job with Illinois Humanities. Rhee said Borderless has relied heavily on in-person events and festivals. “That’s where we come in with resources,” he said. “Whether it’s training, helping with live events, or acting as a broker or a matchmaker of groups that should be collaborating.” “We’re in this moment where journalists for decades have been competitors,” Rhee said. “We have to figure out how to be collaborators.”

A hungry audience Borderless and other nonprofits have been spared the advertising revenue collapse, but donations from individuals and foundations have taken a dive, both Rhee and Brown said. Toomey said Block Club Chicago is very much driven by subscription revenue, and that while there have been revenue losses in some streams, “there’s been a lot gained.” “There are a lot of people who can’t afford a subscription, but they’re still subscribing because they understand to have professional reporters out there, they have to be paid. It’s something people are coming around to. If

See TOGETHER on Page 27





Bridget Knowles new student reporter in Wilmington WILMINGTON – Bridget Knowles will be writing as the new student reporter for the Wilmington Free Press Advocate for the 2020-21 school year. Knowles, 16, is entering her junior year at Wilmington High School. She is involved in Interact club, Tri-M Music Honors Society, and plays the French horn in the school band.

Former Daily Herald garden writer earns Fellow award ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Mary B. Good, who wrote a garden column for the Daily Herald called "The Potting Shed" for more than 20 years, was honored in August as a Fellow by Garden Communicators International, an association for professional communicators in the garden industry. The Fellow award, given to members showing exceptional skill and dedication, tops a 53-year writing career that Good began after sending

submissions to the Daily Herald for the Arlington Heights Garden Club and eventually being hired as a feature and garden writer. After moving to Wisconsin, Good continued writing her gardening column for two more decades. She has written for newspapers and magazines across the country, as well as five books, including her latest, "Skewed Flash Fiction: A Collection of 50 Freaky-Fast Reads." During her time in Arlington Heights, Good started one of the first community organic gardens in the country. Good's service to the garden organization includes six years on the board of directors and four years as an officer.

NIU grad Jayce Eustice joins NewsTrib reporting team LaSALLE – Northern Illinois University graduate and Henry native Jayce Eustice joined the NewsTribune's editorial staff as a new reporter Sept. 14. Eustice, a 2015 graduate of Henry-Senachwine High School and a 2019 graduate of NIU, joined the

news team, with a focus on covering La Salle and Peru government beats. Eustice was the sports editor for The Northern Star at NIU and served on the editorial board Jayce Eustice before graduation. He also covered the Division I football program. He and his girlfriend, Taylor, moved to La Salle after she accepted a job as a first-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary. Aside from the government beat, Eustice will also help newsroom colleagues cover breaking news.

The Hinsdalean enlists three new guest columnists HINSDALE – A casual solicitation for contributing columnists yielded the largest application pool The Hinsdalean has seen, and brought three guest columnists into the fold, according to Editor Pamela Lannom. “Perhaps being stuck at home with nothing to do made people more likely to apply!” she wrote in a Sept.

17 column. The paper brought on Bret Conway, Gabriela Garcia and Alegra Waverley, and still also features returning writer Kelly Abate Kallas. Kallas was one of the first contributing columnists when the paper started up in 2006. She wrote for six years and then returned for a two-year stint from 2014 to 2016. A dermatologist by day, she and her husband have three children, ages 17 to 21. Conway is a 19-year resident who hopes to re-ignite his passion for writing, which has been dormant since he penned a screenplay in the late 1990s about a prodigal son returning home. He works in talent acquisition for the health care industry. Garcia is a professional freelance writer and a five-year resident of Hinsdale. She and her husband are parents to 6- and 8-year-old girls. Waverley, a senior at Hinsdale Central High School, is involved in a number of activities at Central and has appeared in numerous musicals there and with Stage Door Fine Arts. She also serves as communications chair of the Hinsdale Hospital Junior Executive Board and as a hospital volunteer.

TOGETHER Continued from Page 26 every piece of news in the world is free, it wouldn’t be a sustainable model to simply rely on advertising and sponsorships.” He said readers have a “voracious appetite for news right now,” so shared content will be consumed, even if it isn’t hyper-local. “All these stories from other newsrooms [in Solving for Chicago] will be free and open-sourced,” he said. “We think it will expand our audience and maybe introduce some new readers. We have a voracious appetite for news right now.” Toomey said collaboration is going on nationwide, but what’s happening in Chicago is different. “There’s something cool going on in Chicago with the nonprofit newsrooms,” he said. “It’s a clo-

se-knit media market. What’s been considered our competitors, they’re really our colleagues working for different organizations.” “You’re not going to be able to exist in the market and be completely competitive,” Cholke said. “You’re going to have to be OK with your reporter going on TV and talking about your media market. We’re formalizing those relationships and figuring out when it’s good to cooperate and when it doesn’t make sense.” It’s no coincidence that Solving for Chicago is funded by the Solutions Journalism Network. “Sometimes as news organizations, we have a tendency to show what’s wrong, rather than seek solutions,” she said. “We need to not just cover the news, but to play an instrumental role in solving

the problems,” Brown said. “Not just shining a light on problems or gotcha moments. It’s about trying to push for solutions and how to fix some of the things that are going on.” Brown said an “aha” moment came in a WBEZ piece on CTA workers, whose health is obviously at risk along the front line of the pandemic. But they also have to police people who don’t wear masks or take them off the moment they’ve boarded the bus. The piece paints a troubling picture, but it also brought to light a simple solution. Bus drivers are supplying their own dispensary of sanitizer and masks for those who don’t have them. “Sometimes the solution comes if you just listen to the people,” Brown said.




Anderson joins Shaw as VP of Daily Herald editor, designer news, content development wins national awards CRYSTAL LAKE – Shaw Media announced Dennis Anderson has been named vice president of news and content development. In his new role, Anderson will oversee all journalism and content efforts, and he will supervise Shaw Media's newsrooms in Illinois. Anderson most recently was the top editor for Dennis Anderson Gannett Illinois, which includes newspapers in Peoria, Rockford and Springfield. He also has held editorial management positions at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights and newspapers in Binghamton, New York; Norwich, Connecticut; and Lawrence, Kansas. Throughout his career, he has served as a board member for several journalism advocacy groups and newspaper associations. Shaw Media, founded in Dixon in 1851, is a media company with newspapers, magazines, niche publications, websites and video/digital production services in the Chicago suburbs, northern Illinois and Iowa. Shaw Media is the third-oldest, continuously owned and operated media company in the nation.

Longtime Pana News Group staffer retires PANA – Angela Damery, a 40-year veteran of the local newspaper industry who handled graphic design, editorial duties, and office work for all of the Pana News Group newspapers, has retired. Damery started her career at Golden Prairie News in Assumption in 1981. Angela Damery Assuming her responsibilities at the newspapers is Luke McQuillan, editorial assistant and graphic designer.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Amanda Erd, a multiplatform editor and paginator on the Daily Herald's copy

desk, won two awards in an annual contest sponsored by the National Federation of Press Women. Erd, who joined the Daily Herald in 2015, earned first place in the infographics category, plus an honorable mention in the page design category,

for work done in 2019. Erd qualified for the national contest by winning both categories in the Illinois Women's Press Association contest in the spring. Her infographic, which appeared April 22, was a package on a mock NFL draft.

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Tuscola author publishes book of award-winning columns David Porter, a newspaper publisher in Tuscola, Illinois, has published a 300-page compilation of his award-winning Ramblin’ Man columns. Called The Make-Out Room & Other Stories, the title column won the 2020 Best Humor Column award from the National Newspaper Association. Over the past 26 years, the column also has received first-place nods from the Illinois Press Association and Southern Illinois Editorial

Association. Porter is publisher of three weekly newspapers in central Illinois – the Tuscola Review, the Arcola Herald-Record and the Lebanon Advertiser. The self-syndicated column has appeared in more than a dozen Illinois newspapers. The stories draw from the everyday experiences and musings of the author. Topics frequently include family, cigars, reflections on the news and oddball stuff.

Dave Barry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist quipped, “David Porter is without question the finest newspaper columnist on the planet that I am aware of who is based in Tuscola, Illinois.” The book, available on, is illustrated by Lana Weatherford Hill of Arcola. Hill, who was a classmate of Porter’s at Tuscola High School, also writes an award-winning column and

illustrated the children’s book Ten Little Sisters. The Make-Out Room also is available for Kindle readers on A link can be found online at is married to the former Jennie Quinn, a Kindergarten teacher. They first met while in kindergarten together. They have three children, five grandchildren (and one on the way) and four great-grandchildren.


Shaw Media’s Record Newspapers adds reporter YORKVILLE – Lucas Robinson of Muncie, Indiana, has joined the Record Newspapers and staff as a general assignment reporter. Robinson has worked as a reporter for the Buenos Aires Times in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he wrote Lucas Robinson enterprise stories on economic, political and social issues amid that country's economic crisis and a national election. As a reporter for the Marion Chronicle Tribune in Marion, Indiana, Robinson covered multiple beats in a small community, including local government, business, the arts and education. He also collaborated with another reporter to produce a series on the community's battle with the opioid epidemic, interviewing former addicts, law enforcement and local officials. Robinson earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and a bachelor's degree in English and political science, with a minor in

Spanish, at Indiana University. With the Record Newspapers and, Robinson will cover breaking news and enterprise stories throughout Kendall County, Kendall County government, the city of Yorkville and the Yorkville School District.

Adams has served as board member of the Scott County YMCA, the Vera French Mental Health Center and the Davenport One Downtown Partnership. He is originally from Montana and is a graduate of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Adams named Pantagraph president, sales leader

RBHS grad named a top editor at the Chicago Tribune Editor Bill Richardson leaves Lawrenceville Daily Record CHICAGO – Michelle G. Lopez has

BLOOMINGTON – Dan Adams has been named president and director of local sales and marketing for the Central Illinois Publishing Group of Lee Enterprises, which includes The Pantagraph in Bloomington, the Herald & Review in Decatur and the Journal-Gazette & Times-Courier in CharDan Adams leston-Mattoon. Adams previously served as director of sales at a4 Media, vice president of client services at Altice USA and owner of several businesses, including a home care company, lifestyle magazine and a digital agency. He previously worked in leadership positions with Lee Enterprises in Billings, Montana; Madison, Wisconsin; and Davenport, Iowa.

been named a director of content for the Chicago Tribune. Lopez, 36, of Riverside, is one of eight directors of content, what used to be known as editors, at the Tribune. Lopez will be responsible for shaping how Michelle G. Lopez the Tribune looks online and on social media as the newspaper tries to appeal to a younger and more diverse audience. Lopez was born in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, moved to Berwyn when she was 5 and to North Riverside when she was 10. She has lived in Riverside since the summer of 2017 with her husband, Juan Mario Lopez, a nuclear medicine and molecular imaging technologist at the Hines

V.A. Hospital, and has two young sons. Lopez earned her degree in journalism at the University of Illinois, where she was the design editor of the Daily Illini. Her first job out of college was as a page designer for the South Bend Tribune before signing on as a page designer and copy editor for the Suburban Life.

LAWRENCEVILLE – Daily Record Editor Bill Richardson has resigned his position. Richardson had been with the Daily Record since 2001 and had been the editor since 2016. Crystal Wimberly has been named news editor for the Daily Record. She has been with the paper since 2015 and will be concentrating heavily on the local news effort at the newspaper as well as playing an important role in the online and print editions. Additionally, Tom Osborne has been named regional editor for the Daily News in Robinson and the Daily Record. Osborne has been with the Daily News in different capacities for 19 years and has been instrumental in the digital first news approach undertaken at both locations.



No political endorsements from the Journal Star. Here's why You might have noticed the Journal Star has not published any political endorsements this election season. That has been by design. I'm sorry to disappoint those of you who had been looking for the endorsements. Let me explain. Historically, the editorial board of a newspaper is separate from the news staff and has no influence on news coverage. The editorial board might have consisted of an opinion page editor whose sole duty is to deal with opinion content, others in the newsroom who might not cover "hard" news, and members of the community. Over the years, younger readers might not be aware of that distinct

separation, and maybe some people willfully ignore it to prove that a newspaper is biased. But I think it is reasonable that many people might not be aware of that historical line between the news staff and the editorial board. As the newsroom has seen reductions in staff, it has been harder to strike that balance. At the Journal Star, we don't have the luxury of an opinion page editor. And we'd like our reporters and editors to focus on news content. In my time here and in other places, readers have been crystal clear about their disdain for opinion and bias from newspapers. When I worked as a reporter at a previous newspaper, a fellow reporter

pointed out a conflict to an editor. He had been assigned to write about a particular race. His story was scheduled to publish after the newspaper had already endorsed a candidate publicly. When he reached out to the candidate, the candidate asked why it was necessary to comment for the story if the newspaper had already chosen a side. I don't think it's necessary to put any reporters or our newspaper in that predicament. And research has shown that presidential endorsements from newspapers don't have much impact these days anyway. As far as local and state races are concerned, I think there's a stronger argument to be made that a news-

paper should endorse a candidate and take a stance on an issue. But I'd prefer that we provided readers with thorough, balanced coverage of an issue, giving them the information to make an informed decision. Reasonable people can beg to differ about our approach, which is not unique or unprecedented around the country. Many newspapers have continued the tradition of endorsing presidential candidates. But as long as I'm here, we'll leave the endorsement game to others. This opinion of Executive Editor Romando Dixson was published Nov. 1.


Bridgeport News ceases publishing on Oct. 28 BRIDGEPORT – Citing revenue losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bridgeport News ceased operations Oct. 28. Editor and General Manager Janice Racinowski said the paper was riding out this health crisis along with other small businesses around town, but after 80-plus years in business, the paper was forced to close.

Newman Independent raising price for product, advertising NEWMAN – Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Newman Independent will raise the price of its newspapers and ads for the first time in more than a decade. The paper will cost 60 cents per edition, an increase of 10 cents. Subscription rates will go up, as well, to $25 for residents in Douglas, Edgar and Champaign counties, $30 for other Illinois residents and $35 for out-of-staters.

The paper’s ad rate will go up 50 cents per column inch. All told, the price increase is about 20 percent, according to a report in the paper.

Wednesday Journal suspends sports coverage OAK PARK – The Wednesday Journal announced that it suspended its weekly prep sports coverage back in August so its sports editor, James Kay, could focus on building new websites for all of Growing Community Media’s publications. A brief in the weekly Nov. 4 edition states that the announcement was scheduled to be published months ago, but it wasn’t as the result of an oversight. The brief acknowledges the frustration coaches, athletes and athletic departments have with the move, and explains that since the start of the pandemic, Growing Community Media has lost a severe amount of its advertising revenue, and with it page counts have dropped. It prioritized having news and

Viewpoints as its main focus, since the size of its print product has shrunk and people engage with those stories more than sports content. The brief made it clear that the Wednesday Journal will not be covering winter sports (including basketball, despite the IHSA's plans to disregard Gov. Pritzker's ruling on winter sports) and spring sports if the situation does not get better. The paper plans to write a general recap of what went on in each season (including fall sports) and updates on what is happening with the IHSA's plans around COVID-19.

Better Newspapers Inc. purchases Leader-Union MASCOUTAH – Better Newspapers Inc. on Nov. 5 completed the purchase of The Leader-Union from Landmark Community Newspapers. Based in Mascoutah, Better Newspapers is a family-owned company that now operates 25 publications in Illinois and Missouri. Owner Greg Hoskins now will be the publisher of The Leader-Union. Rich Bauer

will continue as the editor of The Leader-Union, and other long¬time employees will remain. Hoskins said he expected few changes in The Leader-Union, but some future streamlining of operations. Hoskins bought his first group of newspapers in Mascoutah. He and Cleon Birkemeyer formed Better Newspapers Inc. on May 1, 1991, and the newspapers included the Mascoutah Herald, Clinton County News, Fairview Heights Tribune and Scott Flier. Since that time, Hoskins has purchased Mt. Zion Region News, Arthur Graphic/Clarion, Southern Piatt Record-Herald, Altamont News, St. Elmo Banner, Villa Grove News, Southern Champaign County Today, Bond and Fayette County Shopper, The Shoppers Review in Highland, The Troy Times-Tribune, The Nashville News and The Illinois Business Journal, as well as Mountain Echo in Ironton, Missouri, Wayne County Banner in Piedmont, The Reynolds County Courier in Ellington, The Ozark Horse Trader in West Plains and Ste. Genevieve Herald.





Bureau Valley Chief closes along with owners retiring TISKILWA – John and Ginger Murphy, who’ve owned the weekly Bureau Valley Chief for half a century, retired Nov. 1 and the paper closed. According to a report in the paper, the Murphys are retiring from both the newspaper and commercial printing businesses and hope to sell the building at 108 W. Main St. The last edition was the Oct. 22 paper. Since joining Allen and Mary Murphy in business in 1970, the Murphys have published the Bureau Valley Chief for 50 years.

BND launches interactive Voter Guide for readers BELLEVILLE – The Belleville News-Democrat compiled an interactive Voter Guide to help readers learn more about the candidates in the Nov. 3 election. A team of BND reporters contacted candidates in competitive races across southwestern Illinois and asked them to fill out a detailed questionnaire. The BND published responses from nearly 60 candidates in more than 40 races, including U.S. Senate, Congress, state representatives, county offices and judicial. The guide at allowed users to enter a home address to preview the ballot, plus information from the participating candidates.

NewsTribune moves print production operations LA SALLE – The La Salle News-Tribune's print production operation has moved to Janesville, Wisconsin. The move, which affects fewer than 10 employees, was designed to maintain local reporting resources. The NewsTribune recently won several awards of excellence for journalism from the Illinois Press Asso-

ciation. In 2019, Shaw Media purchased the La Salle NewsTribune from Miller Group Media. The NewsTribune, and its predecessor newspapers, has been publishing since 1891.

Hillsboro paper donates funds for annual events HILLSBORO – Hoping better days are ahead, The Journal-News has donated $2,414.50 since the beginning of the pandemic in its "See You Next Year" promotion. When it became obvious that the pandemic would force the cancellation of the annual spring, summer and fall events that communities all throughout Montgomery County celebrate, the newspaper hosted a "See You Next Year" community support page for each, in which advertisers backed photos from past events and messages of optimism for the future. The newspaper pledged a quarter of the support funds to each celebration. With the help of those community supporters, checks were donated to Farmersville Irish Days, Montgomery County 4¬H, Raymond Independence Day, the Montgomery County Fair, Hillsboro Independence Day, Litchfield Independence Day, Nokomis Homecoming, Morrisonville Picnic, the Old Tyme Tractor Show, Old Settlers, Witt Labor Day, and Party in the Park.

Rantoul Press ceases publication with Sept. 30 issue RANTOUL – After 145 years, the Rantoul Press published its last issue Sept. 30. Champaign Multimedia Group Publisher/Executive Vice President Paul Barrett said the decision was strictly a business one. Community Media Group bought the newspaper last year. Starting in the late 1950s, it was distributed as a free newspaper that went to every area household until recently. Local resi-

dents were not obligated to pay their news carriers, but many of them did. The new company opted to shift to a subscription plan. Subscription totals began to slowly increase, but retail advertising – the lifeblood of any newspaper – waned, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Established in 1875, the newspaper has called several buildings home. During its heyday, it operated on East Harmon Drive with a full print shop. During the newspaper's centennial year, the Press boasted a staff of nearly 60 people. In recent years, the staff size dwindled to just a handful, and the newspaper moved to its new location in the 200 block of East Sangamon Avenue, just about a block from its original home.

Lee Enterprises joins nationwide virtual career fair BLOOMINGTON – Lee Enterprises, parent company of The Pantagraph in Bloomington, the Herald & Review in Decatur and other Illinois newspapers, hosted a nationwide virtual career fair during October. More than 330 companies from at least 20 states participated in the Anywhere Career Fair. More than 12 businesses from Central Illinois took part in the event, including American Buildings, Chestnut Health Systems, Coles-Moultrie County Emergency Communications Center, Gibson Area Hospital, Kemmerer Village, Millikin University, United Prairie, and the University of Illinois.

Oakland Independent begins charging for political letters OAKLAND – Due to some candidates' campaign tactic of using free letters to the editor to further their campaigns, the Oakland Independent this year adopted a policy requiring such letters to be paid submissions. The Independent charges $4.50 per column inch, making a 400-word

letter around $90, which had to be paid in advance. A campaign season is defined as the period of time between when candidates file to get on the ballot until the election. In the Independent, letters about candidates, ballot measures or political parties are printed in a separate letters section that identifies them as being paid content. Even with paid political letters, the letter writer was required to include a name, address and telephone number for verification purposes; contact information wasn’t be printed.

Star Courier building sold KEWANEE – After at least a decade of trying to find a buyer, the Star Courier building at 105 E. Central Boulevard was sold in October to a locally owned company, Tower Equipment Rental. The new owner of the building is Johnson Towing and Recovery, based in Manlius, which will use it to house its equipment-rental business. The company has already taken ownership and has been working on making building improvements. The new business will use the former Star Courier building, built in 1957, to store and rent a wide range of maintenance and construction equipment, from sod cutters to lifts. Gannett company officials con-firmed that the building was sold the week of Oct. 19 and indicated that the newspaper's operations would remain unchanged. The Star Courier will continue printing five days a week and customers will not notice any change in coverage or service as employees move to office space inside the existing building. Gannett's directive to keep its offices closed to the public during the pandemic, instituted in March, will continue until further notice. Office workers continue to perform day-today tasks in the office while editorial functions have been conducted virtually.



New York Times calls into question Illinois Valley Times OTTAWA – State Sen. Sue Rezin was contacted by the New York Times for the first time, but she wasn't asked about her positions or policies. The national publication was interested in a publication that had written about her. The Morris Republican had been favorably mentioned in the Illinois Valley Times, and the reporter who reached out to Rezin had questions about her relationship with the publication. The New York Times had uncovered details about the operation through interviews with more than 30 current and former employees and clients, as well as thousands of internal emails between reporters and editors spanning several years. Employees of the network shared emails and the editing history in the site's publishing software that revealed who requested dozens of articles and how. The network is one of a proliferation of partisan local news sites funded by political groups associated with both parties. Behind the scenes, many of the stories are directed by political groups and corporate public relations firms to promote a Republican candidate or a company, or to smear their rivals, reported the New York Times. This is problematic, because only a few dozen of the sites disclose funding from advocacy groups. Traditional news organizations don't accept pay for articles; the Federal Trade Commission requires that advertising that looks like articles be labeled as ads. Liberal donors have poured millions of dollars into operations like Courier, a network of eight si-

tes that began covering local news in swing states last year. Conservative activists are running similar sites, such as the Star News group in Tennessee, Virginia and Minnesota. In Rezin's case, she said she's never worked with the company that operates the Illinois Valley Times. She said she never remitted them any money in exchange for favorable coverage. The New York Times counted 34 of 40 stories written by one reporter about Rezin. As for the IV Times reporter who published articles about her, Rezin said she fields questions from that reporter on a regular basis. "From my perspective, he's one of the reporters who calls me, and it's usually covering a topic from my social media," Rezin told Shaw Media. But Rezin came away understanding that the New York Times had called into question the financial relationship between the GOP and the publishers of the IV Times and others across the nation that use a nontraditional business model. While most newspapers derive revenue from the paid circulation and advertising, what the New York Times discovered was a growing number of print products were political vehicles funded largely by the GOP and its interest groups or public relations firms. The network, the New York Times reported, "is largely overseen by Brian Timpone, a TV reporter turned internet entrepreneur who has sought to capitalize on the decline of local news organizations for nearly two decades."

The Times went on to link the Timpone operation to Chicago radio personality Dan Proft and two sitting Republican officeholders, including Jeanne Ives, a former candidate for Illinois governor, who "paid Mr. Timpone's companies $55,000 over the past three years, according to state and federal records. “During that time, the Illinois sites have published overwhelmingly positive coverage of her, including running some of her news releases verbatim." Proft and Timpone did not respond to Shaw Media messages left by social media and by telephone. A message left with Ives' campaign spokeswoman also was not returned. According to the New York Times analysis, "The publications looked like typical news outlets that covered their communities. But a political action committee controlled by Mr. Proft paid Mr. Timpone's companies at least $646,000 from 2016 to 2018, according to state campaign finance records." Other publications produced by this outlet throughout Illinois include the DeKalb Times, Grundy Reporter, Kane County Reporter, Kankakee Times, Kendall County Times, McLean County Times, NW Illinois News, Peoria Standard and McHenry Times, among others. In 2016, the Ottawa Times revealed instances of plagiarism in the Illinois Valley Times. The publication said it fired the reporter after those instances were revealed.


Black-owned coalition seeks more of $2B advertising pie CHICAGO – The Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative Sept. 23 to get the state to spend a larger share of its advertising dollars on Black-owned media. The Coalition for Black Media Equity is seeking at least 8 percent of the state's annual $2 billion marketing budget, or about $160 million, be spent on Black-owned media, in line with the state's minority procurement guidelines.

Larry Ivory, president and CEO of the chamber, said the state's actual Black-owned media spend is closer to $10 million a year, or about 0.5 percent of the total budget. The state's Business Enterprise Program, which promotes the economic development of minority-owned businesses, "encourages" state agencies to spend at least 20 percent of their budgets with minority-owned businesses, including media companies. Based on demographics, that should translate to about 8 to 10 percent of the state's advertising budget placed

with Black-owned media companies, including radio stations, newspapers and advertising agencies, Ivory said. There are 15 initial members in the coalition, Ivory said.

Daily Herald Media Group’s Reflejos earns national awards ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Reflejos, the weekly bilingual journal owned by the Daily Herald Media Group, won seven awards at the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Publications.

It took a Gold award for an article speaking to the need for Latino nurses and the benefits of that profession, and Gold for its annual "Reflecting Excellence" event, which honors organizations, businesses and institutions that readers say reflect excellence in the services and products they bring to the Latino communities. The event also honors young Latino student leaders, and Reflejos presents each student with a scholarship, as they begin their next journey.




Composer writes 'Pantagraph March' in newspaper's honor BLOOMINGTON – "To The Pantagraph Newspaper, and all the people it serves" reads the top of a score written by Kevin Kaisershot, a professional musician and composer. Newspaper marches became a longstanding tradition after John Phillip Sousa wrote a piece for the Washington Post in 1889 to celebrate the first awards presented by the Washington Post Amateur Authors Association. Since then, several well-established news outlets have had marches written for them, including the Chicago Tribune and the Louisville Courier Journal. Kaisershot has composed marches for three newspapers, including The Beacon News in Aurora, where he currently lives. The Pantagraph in October became the most recent newspaper to have a march written in its honor. "This was on my bucket list," Kaisershot said. "'The Pantagraph March' only took me two days to write." Central Illinois Editor Chris Coates

Composer Kevin Kaisershot wrote The Pantagraph March, an ode to his childhood newspaper in Bloomington. (Credit: The Pantagraph) CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO "THE PANTAGRAPH MARCH." said the march was an unexpected gift. "I want to thank Kevin for thinking of us," Coates said. "It's quite an honor and recognizes our long history in the community." Kaisershot became a paper carrier with The Pantagraph when he was 14 and told staff several stories when

he presented the march Oct. 9. His younger brothers also were carriers. "It was my first big job, you know," he said. "Our particular route was in the family for probably about 14 years." He began writing music as a student at Normal Community High School. His first published work was

a vocal piece that he was encouraged to write by his chorus director. Kaisershot earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and received his master's degree in trumpet performance from Illinois State University. He is nationally recognized for his musical talent and has won awards for band compositions. His work has been performed in the U.S., Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Norway and Germany. The musician and clinician belongs to several professional organizations, including the International Trumpet Guild, Illinois Music Educators Association, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Kaisershot won the ASCAP/MENC composition competition in 2009 when his march entry was selected as "The Music Teachers March." "This was really fun, and I hope everyone enjoys it," Kaisershot said.


Family-owned PMG acquires five papers in SE Illinois CARMI – Paxton Media Group has bought five Gatehouse-Gannett newspapers in southeastern Illinois, effective Sept. 1, and is folding them along with The Mount Carmel Register into a new twice-weekly paper called Hometown Register. PMG, a family-owned media company headquartered in Paducah, Kentucky, added to its portfolio The Newton Press Mentor, Olney Daily Mail, Advocate Press of Flora, Teutopolis Press, and Carmi Times. Hometown Register on Sept. 15 began being published Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Carmi Times and Olney Daily Mail were previously dailies. Courtney Shuttle of Princeton, Indiana, is the publisher of the newly acquired papers. She is also the publisher of The Mount Carmel Register, The Princeton (Indiana) Daily Clarion, Vincennes (Indiana) Sun-Commercial, Jasper (Indiana) Herald, the Life Along The Wabash magazine, and Hometown Magazine. Shuttle said in a story in the Sept. 11 edition of The Mount Carmel Register that the paper has been published since June 1841 and is the longest-running in the region. An e-edition is available by subscription, and top stories of the region will also be featured online at

Danville Commercial News reduces print frequency DANVILLE – Citing continuing COVID-19 impact, the Danville Commercial News reduced the number of its editions from five a week to two, starting Sept. 22. The new publishing schedule is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday instead of Tuesday through Saturday. The paper's website,, continues to provide daily local news, features and sports. The cost of newsprint and ink prices combined with the expenses of press production and delivery made this change necessary because of the

financial fallout on advertising revenue from the pandemic, the newspaper told its readers on Sept. 17.

Mundelein student newspaper wins Quill and Scroll award MUNDELEIN – Mundelein High School's student newspaper received an award from the 2020 Quill and Scroll News Media Evaluation, officials announced in September. The Mustang, MHS's student paper put out by eight staff members, won the "International First Place Award," which is given to student newspapers that earn "Superior" ratings in four of the five categories the organization assesses.



'We believe in the public's right to access public records' The Southern Illinoisan files lawsuit over public records in homicide CARBONDALE – The Southern Illinoisan on Aug. 19 filed a lawsuit in Williamson County Circuit Court alleging four agencies of improperly withholding public records sought under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. The City of Marion, Williamson County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police and Williamson County Coroner's Office denied The Southern access to all public records pertaining to the March 1987 homicide of 32-year-old Marion resident Ladonna Cooper. FOIA requests were submitted to each agency seeking public records regarding Cooper's homicide for an upcoming installment in The Southern's "Chasing Closure" series, which takes an in-depth look at unsolved cases in the region. As part of the series, The Southern reported last year on the still-unsolved murder of 22-year-old Ryan Livingston, who was killed on July 14, 2006, in Carbondale. "We believe in the public's right to access public records," said Tom English, executive editor for The Southern. "FOIA is important to holding our public bodies accountable, and what we have asked for is well within our rights." The Illinois Freedom of Information Act states: "All records in the custody or possession of a public body are presumed to be open to inspection or copying. Any public body that asserts that a record is exempt from disclosure has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that it is exempt." The City of Marion failed to respond to a FOIA request sent April 29 within the five business days afforded under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. After multiple inquiries, the city replied on May 11 and said the requested information could not be released because Cooper's case is "open and active." In the response, Marion City Clerk Tammy Beasley said "you may have a copy of the original report." The Southern was never provided with that document. The Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor has ruled many times the mere fact an investigation is underway is not, by itself, enough for a public body to meet its burden to withhold

Ladonna Cooper is pictured in a family photo from 1986. (Photo provided to The Southern Illinoisan by Jodi Cooper-Kelly) records in their entirety. Courts have ruled on several occasions that exemptions to disclosing records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act are to be read narrowly, so as not to defeat the intended purpose of FOIA. The Williamson County Sheriff's Office claimed a records request was unduly burdensome because the Cooper case file contained "thousands of pages of items and records." The Southern was granted an opportunity to narrow its request to a manageable portion, but was still denied all records even after submitting a narrowed request. The Illinois State Police denied The Southern its records pertaining to the case, citing a letter from Marion City Attorney Wendy Cunningham, which

said the Marion Police Department was the initial investigating agency and "the City would respectfully request you deny any records in your possession on the same basis." The Williamson County Coroner's Office denied The Southern's request for Cooper's autopsy, toxicology and coroner's inquest reports, saying release of the records "would interfere with law enforcement proceedings." "When The Southern contacted me, I was presented with an article about the unsolved murder of Ryan Livingston in Carbondale," Cooper's daughter, Jodi Cooper-Kelly, said in an August statement to The Southern. "I was absolutely taken away by the narrative provided and the facts given without causing harm to Ryan's case. I wanted my mother's story to be written and told in the same manner. I wanted more to be said about her last few moments on earth." Cooper-Kelly has also recently submitted numerous FOIA requests regarding her mother's homicide. So far, she, too, has been denied access to all records pertaining to the case. "I have made multiple FOIA requests to obtain records from mom's case," Cooper-Kelly said. "Every request has been denied over and over again. Only one request of mine has yet to be answered. I know that as Ladonna's daughter, I have a right to these records per FOIA laws and statutes. I am very saddened and disappointed by the actions and responses from the Marion Police Department, Williamson County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police, the Coroner's Office, as well as attorneys within." The Illinois Freedom of Information Act says: "When a request is made to inspect or copy a public record that contains information that is exempt from disclosure, but also contains information that is not exempt from disclosure, the public body may elect to redact the information that is exempt. The public body shall make the remaining information available for inspection and copying."






Pantagraph co-hosts debate and parts of the Metro East. between congressional foes Herald-Whig in Quincy shifts BLOOMINGTON – The Pantagraph to delivery by postal service partnered on a debate between U.S.

House candidates U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. The online-only event was Oct. 13 and was streamed at The event was hosted by WGLT, with co-hosts Heartland Community College, the Illinois State University American Democracy Project and Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, Illinois Wesleyan University, McLean County League of Women Voters and WJBC. Davis was re-elected Nov. 3 to serve the district, which includes Champaign, Decatur, Bloomington

QUINCY – The Herald-Whig on Sept. 4 announced operational changes designed to improve customer service, shore up home delivery and advance the newspaper's mission to become a digital-first newspaper operation. Effective Oct. 6, the newspaper began utilizing the U.S. Postal Service for home delivery. To accommodate this, The Herald-Whig has become a morning newspaper. This means single-copy issues are on newsstands early each morning, but same-day home delivery will be made by mail. Home delivery continues, however, of Sunday editions.

In addition, while news-gathering and reporting for both print and digital editions will continue seven days a week, print publication on Mondays ceased with the Sept. 28 edition. Helping to enhance the digital operation are a new platform launching at and in the Whig Now mobile app, along with a new newsroom operating system and database that will help streamline operations with both The Herald-Whig and its sister newspaper, The Hannibal (Missouri) Courier-Post.

The Record had to vacate its previous office on Market Street after the former newspaper owners sold that building at auction in mid-August. Owners planned to have office phone and fax lines up and running later in September.

Journal & Topics increasing annual subscription rate

PAXTON – The Ford County Record has a new home at 124 W. State St, Suite 6.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – The Journal & Topics has bumped its annual subscription rate from $39 to $43. According to a Sept. 17 report, a high demand by readers led to the decision to extend to Sept. 25 the deadline for buying or renewing a subscription at the $39 rate. It adds that rates for two- and three-year subscriptions are discounted.

of closing the restaurant on Wednesday, March 4, 1987. Cooper called her husband, Bobby, shortly before midnight to tell him she would be about 10 minutes late getting home. The restaurant had seen significant business that evening and Cooper was still filling out paperwork before leaving for the night. When Cooper didn't make it home by about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Bobby was concerned and drove to the restaurant. When he found no trace of his wife, nor her car, he drove home and called Bonanza management. Upon arrival, managers noticed the night's receipts and cash were also missing. The findings were then reported to the Marion Police Department. During the course of the investigation, police found what appeared to be blood and signs of a struggle outside the restaurant. About 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, 1987, Cooper's abandoned Buick was discovered in Herrin. Investiga-

tors found what appeared to be blood inside the car. On Friday, March 6, 1987, a woman who was looking at waterfowl from an observation tower in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge noticed what she thought to be a body in her scope. The Williamson County Sheriff's Office responded and found Cooper's body about 150 yards west of the observation towers on state Route 148 near the edge of a small body of water. A coroner's inquest jury determined Cooper's cause of death was homicide due to multiple stab wounds. "A mother is everything a child looks up to," Cooper-Kelly said. "She's your protector, your counselor, your teacher, your cheerleader, and your place of respite. My brother, sister and I, we didn't get that. We had that taken from us. ... I never wanted it to come to this. I just wanted to tell her story, but her last fight has now become my fight."

Ford County Record moves to new office in Paxton

PUBLIC RECORDS Continued from Page 34 Yet, Cooper-Kelly and The Southern have not received a single item requested under FOIA pertaining to the case. Attorney Ian Russell from the Davenport, Iowa, law firm Lane & Waterman LLP drafted and filed the complaint on behalf of The Southern. The complaint seeks "a declaration that the defendants have violated the Illinois FOIA" and requests the court to order the agencies to produce the records requested redacting only information that is truly exempt. In addition, it asks the defendants be ordered to pay civil penalties under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and reasonable attorney's fees. Reporter Marilyn Halstead contacted all four agencies named in the lawsuit after it was filed. Beasley said the City of Marion had no comment regarding the lawsuit. The Williamson County Sheriff's Office, Illinois State Police and Williamson County Coroner's Office did not return Halstead's calls for comment.

Cooper-Kelly said it has been years since her family was provided with any updates by authorities involved with the investigation. "In 2010, the Williamson County Cold Case Squad was established and mom's case was the first of many that they began working on," Cooper-Kelly said. "Members of my family, along with myself, have participated in discussions and meetings with the Cold Case Squad. Her case has, to our knowledge, been untouched since at least 2014 and all communication with the Marion Police and Cold Case Squad ended. "But, I never wanted her story to end too." Cooper was an assistant manager at the Bonanza Family Restaurant, which was located on state Route 13 just east of Interstate 57 in Marion. The building that once housed Bonanza is currently Tequilas Mexican Restaurant. According to previous reporting in The Southern, Cooper was in charge



Former Bears reporter for Chicago Tribune dies at 48 CHICAGO – ESPN's Vaughn McClure, a former Chicago Bears reporter for the Chicago Tribune, has died. He was 48. Since 2013, McClure covered the NFL's Atlanta Falcons for ESPN, which reported Oct. 15 that he died at his Atlanta-¬area home. The date and cause were not mentioned. McClure's last story for was posted Oct. 14, and his last tweet was Oct. 13. ESPN's Jeff Dickerson called McClure "an amazing friend and colleague" on Twitter, while Falcons President and Chief Executive Rich McKay remembered him as "an earnest, thoughtful reporter who had a passion for his craft and the relationships he held." Besides writing for ESPN's website, McClure appeared on its television and radio programs, including "SportsCenter" and "NFL Live."

A Chicago native, McClure came to the Tribune in 2007 from the Chicago Sun-Times, where he had covered Notre Dame. McClure previously worked for the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune, Fresno (California) Bee and Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where he was a Vaughn McClure general assignment reporter covering the police, fire, courts, park district, and school board beats after graduating from Northern Illinois University in 1994. ESPN NFL analyst Chris Mortensen called McClure a "wonderful man. Pro. Humble. Diligent. Loving. Caring. Faithful. And much more." Wrote Tribune Bears and NFL columnist Brad Biggs: "Terribly saddened by the passing of former colleague and good friend Vaughn McClure. He had an

incredible gift for getting people to open up to him and was a delight to be around. Rest in peace, Vaughn." Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher tweeted that McClure "had a big heart and was one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. You will be missed. RIP HOMIE" WSCR-AM 670’sDavid Haugh, a former Chicago Tribune columnist and longtime colleague of McClure's, tweeted a fond remembrance. Haugh hired McClure at the South Bend Tribune when he was an assistant sports editor there. "From South Bend through Chicago ‘til our last conversation Tuesday, Vaughn McClure was uncommonly considerate, effortlessly charismatic and one of my best friends," Haugh wrote. "He'd be so proud to see the outpouring. And then he'd ask how to improve his writing. RIP, buddy. You'll be missed."


Dianne Pauser DIXON – Dianne Behme Pauser died Sept. 2, 2020, at age 83. Dianne was born Aug. 5, 1937, to Leah and Jerome Behme. She grew up in Pine River, Minnesota, and graduated from Pine River High School and the College St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, with degrees in history, Dianne Pauser physical education and economics. On a trip to Park Falls, Wisconsin, with a college roommate, she met the love of her life, Don Pauser. They married in 1960 at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Park Falls, and she died 8 days before their 60th wedding anniversary. She taught physical education in Platteville Junior High while Don finished his engineering degree. They then moved to Dixon, where he was a civil engineer with IDOT until retirement. Dianne taught physical education at St. Mary's School, taught many years at Lincoln (8 years as librarian) and presently was a paraprofessional part-time at Jefferson School, retiring in January 2020

at age 82. She also was a part-time photographer and editor at the Dixon Evening Telegraph. She also taught baton twirling in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois for 5 years. She was involved in many community activities, including: 6 years on the Dixon Community Concert Board, and PTO president at St. Mary's, Reagan Middle and Lincoln Elementary schools. She was a longtime member of PEO Chapter KM, YMCA Physical Committee and the Dixon Park District advising committee. Dianne owned Edelweiss Dolls, a part-time business where she collected and sold antique dolls and toys. Dianne and Don were generous hosts and often held holiday gatherings and events in their home. Bridge was another passion for Dianne, and she was working on accumulating points for a Life Master in bridge. She is survived by her husband, Don; daughters Terri (Alan) Wolf of Sacramento, California, Marcy (Dave) Wolmutt of Madison, Wisconsin, Laurie (Dan) DeMeyer of St. Charles; sons, Patrick (Teresa) Pauser of Rochelle and Jerry Pauser and significant other Carla Cruse of Dixon; seven grandchildren, Bryn Wolf English, Brooke Wolf,

Aaron and Kyle Wolmutt, Megan and Matthew DeMeyer and Zachary Pauser; and great-grandchildren Rylynn, Elyse and Savannah. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials may be made to the Dianne Pauser Educational Fund for local schools and students. Funds can be sent to the Dianne Pauser Educational Fund, c/o Sauk Valley Bank, 300 Walton Dr., Dixon, IL 61021. Condolences may be sent online at

Martin Wilson SIDNEY – Martin Gary Wilson, 61, of Sidney passed away Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at home. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Cindy, and his entire family. Marty was born Dec. 31, 1958, to Gerald and Judith (Harden) Wilson. They preceded him in death. He was a 1977 graduate of Homer High School, he worked for The News-Gazette in Champaign during and after high school, earning him the CB handle "Paper Boy." He then went on to work other jobs but ended up back at The News-Gazette, working as a pressman for 26 years,

retiring in 2018. Recently, he drove a school bus for the Heritage School district. He was a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, he enjoyed going to auctions, and trying his luck at casinos. He loved watching and laughing at his grandkids, riding around Sidney in his golf cart, watching "Andy Griffith" and "Gunsmoke," and sitting on his back porch with his best pal, "Roxy Girl." He is survived by his wife, Cindy (Harms) Wilson of Sidney; two sons, Joshua (Kathy) Wilson of Tuscola and Dane (Cassie) Wilson of Casey; three stepchildren, Jessie Tillman of Sidney, Jenny (Gabe) Kirstein of Joliet and Travis Evosovich of Sidney. He has 11 grandchildren of whom he was so proud. Marty has two brothers, Jim (Tracy) Wilson of Tolono and Joe (Cathy) Wilson of Seneca; and one sister, Jeri (Ed) Thomas of Tolono. He also had many nieces and nephews who loved him. In memory of Marty, you can send any memorial gifts to Carle Hospice for their excellent care, 1813 W. Kirby Ave., Champaign, IL 61821. Condolences may be sent to the family at





Neil Shalin NAPERVILLE – Neil Shalin was a storyteller at heart. He entertained friends and family by telling stories of his early years in New York City. He felt great joy telling stories about his two children and five grandsons. And he wrote about DuPage Neil Shalin County high school sports as a longtime Daily Herald freelance writer. Shalin, a Naperville resident for 40 years, died at age 76 at home Sept. 26 surrounded by his family. He had suffered a stroke in late May. Shalin moved to the area from New York when his employer, MetLife, transferred him to a job in Aurora. He brought with him stories of jobs working as the public relations person and public-address announcer for a roller derby league, as a reporter for the Long Island Press and for the ABA's New York Nets and the NBA's Philadelphia76ers. "He just had these amazing things that happened to him," his daughter, Joanna Mattia, said. There was the time he had met singer Ronnie Spector. And when he called later he wound up speaking with famed music producer Phil Spector. "There were no shortage of stories like that," Mattia said. Shalin got involved in his new community by joining the Rotary Club of Naperville. He served on the scholarship committee and as sergeant at arms. Shalin had a great love of sports and had tremendous recall of details from games and rosters. "He'd run into somebody who played Big Ten football in the 1960s and they'd start talking about this guy's team, and inevitably my father would end up naming more people from the guy's team than the guy remembered," his son, Dan Shalin, said. He retired from MetLife in 1999

and began writing for the Daily Herald and the Naperville Sun. Shalin covered the boys and girls tennis, boys and girls swimming and boys volleyball beats for the Daily Herald. He also wrote about local college sports for many years. "I think he just viewed it as kind of like a public service, in a way," Dan Shalin said. "To be able to just tell positive stories about Naperville. He saw the kids as viewing them kind of from a parent's perspective. He loved telling stories about high school kids' accomplishments." Shalin also wrote several books on baseball, including 2002's "Out by a Step: The100 Best Players Not in the Baseball Hall of Fame," co-written with his brother, Mike. A doting father, Shalin coached Dan's and Joanna's basketball, baseball and soccer teams. "Everything was about us," Joanna said. "He was just a great father, but over the years like a friend, too," Dan Shalin added. Shalin also is survived by his wife of 50 years, Bonnie, and brothers Steve and Mike. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sid and Ronnie. Contributions in Shalin's memory may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or to a charity of your choice.

Joan E. Norton SUGAR GROVE – Joan E. (Harmon) Norton, 87, passed away Saturday, Sept. 26, at home in Sugar Grove. She was born Nov. 10, 1932, in Utica, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Donahue) Harmon. She grew up and spent most of her life in Earlville. She married John E. "Jack" Norton on June 20, 1953, in Earlville at St. Theresa Catholic Church, where she had been an active parishioner since childhood. A member of Earlville High School's graduating class of 1950, she was a straight-A student in every year of school. However, college was not within her family's reach, so she continued as a member of the local workforce. Beginning at age 13 as a

pinsetter at Earlville's bowling alley, she worked the rest of her life until retirement, including both partand full-time work as she raised her family. Joan A. Norton Among her employers were the Earlville Leader newspaper, where she began dating her future husband, Jack; Babcock Insurance Agency; R & H Supermarket; and One Stop Foods (later the Red Fox supermarket), and she retired from Pioneer State Bank (then known as the National Bank of Earlville). Her life revolved around her faith, her marriage, her children, her extended family, her work, and later in life, her grandchildren. She traveled the Midwest to support them in their academic, musical, and athletic endeavors. She especially loved the trips she took around the United States with her children and grandchildren and as the guest of her brother, Bob, on trips to New York, Ireland, and Rome. Known by all as an exceptionally kind, giving, and loving person, she will be missed dearly by her family and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; a daughter, Mary; two sisters, Donna (Harmon) Schrecengost and Marilyn (Harmon) Payne; and a brother, Robert Harmon. She is survived by a brother, Thomas Harmon of Clearlake, California; six children, Thomas (Susan) Norton of Carol Stream, Julia Norton of Mesa, Arizona, Mary Beth Norton of Milwaukee, Jane (Febronio) Norton of Chicago, Margaret (Duane) Norton-Rosko of Sugar Grove, and Joseph (Nikole) Norton of Chicago; 18 grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory may be made to the Earlville Library District, the Earlville Community Historical Society, Earlville High School, or to the Alzheimer's Association. For more information or to sign the online guest book, go to

Kathleen Naureckas OAK PARK – Kathleen Naureckas, 83, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Oak Park. She was born Oct. 12, 1936, in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, was a former resident of Libertyville, Chicago, and Glenview, and most recently of Oak Park. Kathleen received her Kathleen Naureckas bachelor’s degree from Northwestern Medill School of Journalism, and her master’s in English literature, also from Northwestern. She was the managing editor of the weekly Libertyville Herald, and later on the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune until her retirement. Kathleen was an avid reader and a poet, having published one chapbook titled “For the Duration,” with another poetry book, “Winter Ecology,” under publication. After retirement, she played saxophone for the New Horizons Band, and enjoyed playing bridge and watching movies. She is survived by her daughter, Karen (Rick) Christiansen; two sons, Dr. Ted (Dr.Sara) and Jim (Janine Jackson) Naureckas; six grandchildren, Dr. Lauren (Matthew) Lindquist, Sean Christiansen, Dr. Caitlin (Dr. Edward) Li, Dr. Patrick (Lauren Heeg), June and Eden Naureckas; three great-grandchildren, Ethan, Reid, and Collin Lindquist; a sister, Marie Zelenka; brothers, Thomas and Patrick Kearney; and her beloved cat, Rosie. She was preceded in death by her parents, Adeline and Christopher Kearney; her husband, Edward Naureckas; their young daughter, Barbara Naureckas; her brothers, Jim and John Kearney; and her sister, Adele Kearney. To allow her love of reading to live on in children in need, memorial contributions can be made to Reach Out and Read at Erie Family Health Centers ( donate/).




Frederick Goss Tuttle Jr. CHICAGO – Frederick Goss Tuttle, Jr., 85, of Chicago, died Oct. 8, 2020, in Chicago. Mr. Tuttle was born Nov. 27, 1934, in Oak Park, the son of Frederick G. Tuttle and Lydia Sprenger Tuttle. A former newspaperman and public relations manager, he more recently was co-owner of several gift shops: Twigges of Galena and Twigges of Red Wing, LLC, in Red Wing, Minnesota, ¬and the DeZoya House Bed & Breakfast in Galena. He was reared in LaGrange and LaGrange Park, where he attended local schools, being graduated in 1952 from Lyons Township High School. He attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he joined the Phi Kappa Psi social fraternity, later serving as chapter president, and was elected to the Sigma Delta Chi professional journalism fraternity. He was editor of the Colorado Daily student newspaper in 1955 and 1956. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1956 from the University of Colorado. Mr. Tuttle joined the editorial staff of the Citizen Newspapers, LaGrange, in 1956, becoming editor in 1959, and several years later, publisher. He acquired ownership of The Citizen in 1966 and sold his newspaper interests in 1972. He co-founded CompuComp Corp., now of Westchester, and after a brief association, joined Montgomery Ward & Co. in 1973, where he served in several public relations and employee training positions until 1988. Subsequently, in 1991, he directed his interest toward real estate development and management with his partner, James J. Zalewski. He and Mr. Zalewski, with whom he lived and worked since 1976, established retail businesses and the DeZoya House Bed and Breakfast. Mr. Tuttle was active in community affairs, including Rotary International; LaGrange Area Chamber of Commerce; Southwest Suburban Mental Health Association; Community Memorial

General Hospital Associate Board; the Jaycees; Emmanuel Episcopal Church, LaGrange, where he served as a member of the vestry; and All Saints Episcopal Church, Western Springs, where he also served as a vestry member and as warden of the parish. He served as a director and president of Chase House, an agency of Episcopal Charities. In 1989, he was elected to the board of directors of The Archeus Foundation, a nonprofit provider of employee assistance programs. Upon moving to Chicago in 1973, he became an active member of the Cathedral Church of St. James, where he served variously as a member of the Cathedral Chapter and as chair of the Worship Commission and the Music Committee. He also attended Grace Episcopal Church , Galena, where he served as a member of the Worship Committee. On Nov. 24, 1956, he married the former Jeanne Adele Dondanville of Western Springs. The couple divorced in 1972. Mr. Tuttle is survived by four children from that marriage: Margaret G. Tuttle (Thomas Quinn, deceased) of Princeton, New Jersey; Frederick G. Tuttle III (Sarah Tuttle) of Laguna Niguel, California, Amy B. Wright (Emerick Woods), Sunnyvale, California; and Miriam E. Lampert (William Lampert), of LaGrange Park. He is also survived by two granddaughters, Victory Adele and Genevieve Elizabeth Lampert, and a grandson, Nathan Henry Quinn. He was preceded in death by his life partner, James J. Zalewski, and his sister, Lynn Tuttle Elliott, of Phoenix, Arizona.

Leon Dan Ardelean ELKHART, Ind. – Leon Dan Ardelean, 92, of Elkhart, Indiana, passed away Oct. 7, 2020, after suffering from heart disease. He was born Oct. 25, 1927, and raised on Pigeon Hill in Aurora, to Alexander and Florence (Sheresh) Ardelean. He served in the United

State Army Air Force and Corps of Engineers from 1945 to 1947, stationed at Sandia Base and Los Alamos, and worked on the Manhattan Project. His love of flying allowed him to attend flying school. He soloed in 1942 at Tufts-Edgecombe aviation in Elgin. Leon, a lifetime learner, mastered photography as an apprentice at Evans Photo Studio, before the advent of strobe lights, digital cameras, and color photography. He then decided printing was the way to go and learned the printing business while working at several area print plants where he received his journeyman card as a union printer. Leon eventually made his way as a printer at the Chicago Tribune. In 1974, he embarked on another journey by taking over McEvoy Press, managing the print world until his retirement in 2018. Leon served on many boards: Kane County Board member, District 3; Board of Trustees, Village of Shabbona; Democratic Party precinct committeeman; River Valley WIB (Workforce Board); 3rd Ward Committee; Aurora Trades and Labor Assembly; and DuPage Building Trades. He also was a member of many organizations: St. George Byzantine Catholic Church, American Legion Post 84, Chicago Typographical Union, Local 16, and the Shabbona Business Association. He was very active in his lifetime, traveling extensively, also photographing numerous candid weddings, both with film and video. He recorded many church activities at St. George Byzantine Catholic Church, where he attended. His camera was ever present at countless family functions. Leon's accomplishments were many. However, his greatest accomplishment is when he married Wilma Lynn (Soule) on Feb. 18, 1961. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Wilma Lynn (Soule); his parents, Alexander and Florence (Sheresh) Ardelean, immigrants from Satu Mare din Crai Doroldt, Romania; a son, Dane Mi-

chael Ardelean; and brothers, Alex Ardelean, Geoge J. Ardelean, and John Ardelean. Survivors include his children, Alexander George Ardelean, Elizabeth Ann (Aldrich), Daniel Lee Ardelean, Cassandra Lynn (Smith), and Marguerite Florence Ardelean; and a step-daughter, Pamela Sue George; and 17 grandchildren.

Anne Bailey TEMPERANCE, Mich. – Anne Marie (Thoma) Bailey of Temperance, Michigan, passed away on Oct. 2, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio, after a short battle with cancer. She was born in Danville, to Carl R. and Dorothy Depke Thoma. A graduate of Schlarman High School, Anne Bailey Danville, and Parkland College, Champaign, she did continuing studies at Ivy Tech and Indiana University, and worked for a number of years as a copywriter, photojournalist and editor in the Danville and Champaign-Urbana area. She had a keen love of her grandchildren and abandoned kittens. Anne was a member of Gesu Catholic Parish, Toledo, Ohio, and selflessly donated her body to The University of Toledo for the advancement of science. Anne is survived by her daughter, Dr. Mary Beth (Jason) Wroblewski; grandchildren, Jonathan and Annemarie; sisters, Mary (Tom) Day, Sarah Lloren; and two brothers, Carl Thoma Jr. and Edwin (Sharon) Thoma. Anne was preceded in death by her son, Michael; husband, William T. Bailey; parents; and sisters, Judy (John) Henry and Ellen (Fred) Morris, and a great many neices, nephews and friends. Memorial donations may be made to any charities helping children, particularly Covenant House.




Noonan, former Des Plaines Valley News owner, dies LYONS – Longtime Lyons Township clerk and former owner of the Des Plaines Valley News, Mary Jo Noonan, died suddenly on the morning of Sept. 18. Mary Jo, 77, died at her home in Western Springs, according to George Pach, deputy township clerk who worked with Noonan for four years. "I last saw her for her birthday in May," Pach said. "We decorated her front lawn with balloons and a happy birthday sign. We had cake and ice cream. It was a good birthday." Township Assessor Barbara Weyrick had been friends with Mary Jo for 30 years. "It didn't matter that I was a Republican and she was a Democrat," Weyrick said. "We were the best of friends. We did everything together. We went to church together. We traveled together. We'd eat together. We really had good times together." Weyrick remembered a trip they took to Atlantic City. "Mary Jo always wanted to see the Boardwalk. We were walking along talking and the next thing I know she's two blocks away talking to a group of people from Washington," Weyrick said. "That's how she was. Always talking to people. Asking them questions." Weyrick said their adventures took them to New Orleans, "She loved Bourbon Street," and Las Vegas. "What happened in Vegas has to stay between me, Mary Jo and Vegas," she said with a laugh. As for her work as clerk? "There will never be a better township clerk than her," Weyrick said. "She was red, white and blue. A true public servant." That sentiment was echoed by Township Super-

visor Chris Getty. "Mary Jo was a little woman with a big heart," he said. "She truly cared about Lyons Township and the people of Lyons Township." Getty said he knew Mary Jo for about 15 years and they worked together at the township for a couple of Mary Jo Noonan years after he became supervisor in 2017. She retired at the end of 2018. "Mary Jo always had an historical perspective on issues," Getty said. "She was very knowledgeable." Mary Jo retired from township government in December 2018. She had been clerk since 1993 and had been a township trustee for eight years before that. "It's been a pleasure, believe me," Mary Jo told the township board in announcing her retirement. "We all work together. This is how you do it." Michael Porfirio, who succeeded Mary Jo as clerk, said she was "a longtime rock and pillar of the community." Mary Jo grew up in Chicago. She and her late husband John were married in 1967 – 2 weeks after the Big Snow. Their son Rob was born in 1968. When he was 6 months old, they moved to Western Springs in 1969. She eventually became involved in her church, St. John of the Cross, as a crossing guard. In that role she got to know many people and many people got to know her. That served as a springboard. "You become part of the community," she said in an interview in 2018 shortly before she retired. "And you become a precinct captain." Based on her local popularity, the late Morgan Finley, former clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court

and a longtime power in Democratic politics, tabbed her as a good candidate for township trustee. She was surprised at the notion, but agreed to run for office. The only person to get more votes in that election was the late Joe Nekola, a political mover and shaker from Lyons. Mary Jo learned to love township politics, especially being able to help senior citizens and other residents. "I liked representing my peers in the community, I like helping others," she said. Mary Jo was always friendly with reporters, probably because of her background. Her late husband, John "Scoop" Noonan, was owner and editor of the Des Plaines Valley News from 1986 until his death from cancer in 2000 at age 58. After his death, she owned the paper until 2012, before selling it to the current ownership team. Mary Jo never wanted to be publisher of the DVN, but she took on the job after Scoop died. "John always had an interest in newspapers," Mary Jo said describing her husband's love of the press. "It started when he was a copy boy for the Bridgeport News and never stopped." In 1986, he bought the DVN from Ray Pierce. "I tried for 2 weeks to talk him out of it," she said. "But [newspapers] were his first love." Noonan ran the paper through thick and thin until he lost a short battle with cancer in October 2000. After taking over, Mary Jo had to balance her role as an elected official in Lyons Township with her role as publisher of the DVN. "I wore many hats," she said. "It wasn't easy, but I kept the paper alive for 12 years."


Edward Jenison PARIS – Edward H. "Ned" Jenison, 88, of Paris, passed away Oct. 31, 2020, in Indianapolis following a brief illness. Mr. Jenison was born Jan. 6, 1932, the son of the late Barbara and Ed Jenison. He married his high school girlfriend, Margaret Danner, and she preceded him in death in 1993. He was the former publisher and editor of the Paris Beacon-News. Mr. Jenison attended Paris High

School and graduated from the University of Illinois with a journalism degree. Following four years of service in the U.S. Army Intelligence in Washington, D.C., he returned to Illinois, where he joined the staff of the former Urbana Courier. Eventually, he returned to Paris to join the family business, The Paris Beacon-News, as a reporter and photographer. The paper sold in 2006, and the final issue of the Jenison family's paper was printed June 30, 2006, ending 80 years of service to the Paris community. Mr. Jenison was

instrumental in the establishment of the Paris YMCA, now The REC, which began in a house on East Madison and was heavily involved in the fundraising campaign that made the construction of the present building possible. He was a longtime member of the Paris Hospital (Horizon Health) Board, serving as president and secretary, as well as on the Horizon Health long-term planning committee. At the time of his death, he was also serving as a member of the Paris Center of Fine Arts Board, HRC Finance Committee, the City of

Paris Zoning Board and many other organizations promoting the great city of Paris. Mr. Jenison was also an active and longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Paris. Surviving are three sons, Kevin (Susan), Jim (Janet) and Steve (Sandee); eight grandchildren, Sandea, Erin, K.J., Betsy, Andrew, Brianna, Alex and Wade; and four great¬grandchildren, Benjamin, Isaac, Conner and Wyatt. Online condolences at




James H. 'Jim' Obst CHICAGO – James "Jim" Obst died Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, from pancreatic cancer. During his 2-year fight, friends and family noted his determination to continue social activism, travel, and deepen family ties, and "to live" as he wrote in a blog. As a student at the James H. "Jim" Obst University of Florida, Jim became active in the campaign to support Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers. In the mid1970s, he moved to Detroit, where he joined News & Letters Committees, a socialist humanist organization, worked as an automaker for several years, and helped edit union publications. He also excelled as a writer and theoretician. After stints in the Bay Area and New York, he moved to Chicago in the 1990s and served as managing editor of the News & Letters newspaper for more than a decade while doubling as an archivist for The Raya Dunayevskaya Collection, housed at Wayne State University in Detroit. Over the next 20 years, he published numerous articles on the U.S. labor movement and international politics. In 2008, he helped found the International Marxist Humanist Organization, in which he remained active until the last days of life. As he encountered a new generation of young Black, Latinx, LGBTQ, and feminist activists in recent years, he was a constant source of advice and encouragement to them. He never lost faith in the ability of working people to think for themselves and organize their lives free from racism, sexism, capitalism, and statist repression, and kept alive the dream of a new society where we treat each other as ends-in-themselves rather than as mere means to an end. The deep imprint he left on the lives of so many will live on. A man of many talents, in 2004, Jim graduated from the University of Illinois with a master's degree

in library and information science. He went on to work as an archivist for the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago for 14 years. He was a valuable member on the iSchool Alumni Association Board from 2012 to 2015, serving as president from 2013 to 2014. Jim Obst's family are comprised of his loving wife of 19 years, Laura Lynn Olsen; two stepsons, Zachary Smith (Alli) and Dakota Smith (Monica); and grandchildren, Aiden Rangel, Sofia Smith, and Michael Smith. He was preceded in death by his sister Mary, father Harold, and mother Emily.

Jack Murray PALOS HEIGHTS – Jessica Loftus recalled fondly the first time she met her future husband, Jack Murray. "When I first met Jack, I thought he was like Lou Grant," Jessica laughed about the former editor of The Regional News from 2003 until 2017. "But what I found out was that behind the gruff veneer was a super-sensitive guy." Murray, 59, died Oct. 23 after nearly a month of hospitalization at Palos Hospital. He had been complaining about severe pain in his right side and was admitted at the end of September, Jessica said. After some initial progress, he came down with pneumonia. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death. News of Murray's passing was posted on Facebook, and comments from former colleagues, friends and relatives began pouring in. "Jack was a great community newspaper editor," said Mark Hornung, chief operating officer of Southwest Regional Publishing Co. "He loved a good story and he was devoted to the people and to the communities he covered so ably for so many years. We were honored to call him a colleague for the last few years of his professional life." "He was a unique individual," said Jason Maholy, who served as editor of The Reporter from January

2003 to July of 2013. "But he was a guy with a big heart. He helped me a lot when I started, and our work relationship grew over the years. We became good friends." Maholy, who is the sports editor for The Reporter and Regional News newspapers, said Murray could be critical, but it was because he wanted the best work from reporters. Maholy began working for The Reporter right out of college in 2001 and added that Murray helped him along the way. "As an editor, he had the best interests of the community at heart," Maholy said. "He would invite people in to talk about certain issues, and sometimes the conversations got heated. But Jack was always willing to listen. That's what Jack wanted to do He really wanted to help people. He was a newspaper guy." Murray began his career as a freelance writer for The Reporter in 1992. He soon was hired full-time and became the editor before moving on to The Regional News. According to his wife, Murray was interested in reading at an early age on a variety of topics. He grew up in Worth and attended Shepard High School. He earned bachelor degrees in history and political science at the University of Illinois. On the advice of his favorite professor in college, he became a writer. "He was a history buff," Jessica pointed out. "He knew a lot about many different subjects." In 2009, his editorial, "Hope is calling," won a first-place award from the Illinois Press Association. One of his accomplishments that he took pride in was a series of editorials that helped save a health club in Orland Park from being torn down. "He really worked hard on that," Jessica said. "He wrote a series of editorials on that and it kept it open." Over the years, Murray covered local board meetings, wrote news stories and features, and took photos. But he was also interested in promoting and helping local organizations,

Jessica said. "He was always a big fan of the Palos Lions Club and did a lot for them," she said. Murray participated in a variety of community service efforts over the years. In 2000, he served a term as president of the Worth-Chicago Ridge Chamber of Commerce. While volunteering for the Palos Lions Club, he ranked as the top seller of raffle tickets for two consecutive years. He also enjoyed "shaking the can," collecting donations at prominent intersections on Candy Day. Jessica said Murray was also welcomed back years later to the Lions Club and became an officer. She and Murray also organized a daylong retreat on "Easing Stress," which featured physicians, counselors and clergy members. The couple were married July 16, 2016, and were living in Palos Heights. Jessica admitted Murray often could be direct and occasionally have differences of opinions with readers. "He would step on some toes sometimes, but he was not a person who was vindictive," she added. "If he was wrong, he would admit it and put it in the paper. I think people appreciated that about him. He was always willing to hear people out." He later took on a variety of roles for Apple Chevy in Tinley Park. Murray also wrote human interest stories and features for the Daily Southtown for the past year. His last story, which appeared in the paper in September, was about a couple who were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. Murray had said his father, also Jack Murray, was a positive influence in his life and admitted that his death in March 2016 was a tough loss for him. He had a younger brother, Michael, who died from a rare form of cancer when he was 25. Other survivors include his mother, Diane Murray (nee Stevens); sister, Jennifer Reda; and nieces and nephews.