* Out of curiosity, I pulled out my copy of the 1991-92 Blue Book today and turned to the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association’s chapter. The ILCA had 44 members back then. All but eight or so (Chicago-based reporters) were stationed at the Statehouse. These days, the Statehouse press room is almost empty.
The Illinois Press Association’s foundation has decided that something needs to be done. From a press release…
Capitol News Illinois, the Illinois Press Foundation’s news service providing state government coverage to Illinois newspapers, has hired three full-time reporters for its launch Jan. 28.
Rebecca Anzel, Peter Hancock and Jerry Nowicki have been hired as reporters for Capitol News Service Illinois. Grant Morgan will work full-time this spring as an intern. IPF Director Jeff Rogers will serve as the Capitol News Illinois bureau chief.
Rebecca Anzel joined the Capitol News Illinois reporting team on Jan. 7. Anzel previously reported from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s Statehouse bureau, where she pitched, reported and wrote pieces on state government, covering legislative efforts, committee hearings, courts and lawmakers for Illinois’ legal community. She earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield, and is a graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism on Long Island, New York, where she focused on multimedia techniques.
Peter Hancock will join the Capitol News Illinois reporting team on Jan. 21. Hancock has covered Kansas state government for much of the past two decades. For the past 4 years, Hancock has been the statehouse reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World. He provided year-round daily coverage of the Kansas Statehouse, state government, appellate courts, elections and Kansas’ congressional delegation. He previously worked for 8 years as a statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, and with the Kansas Health Policy Authority and the Kansas Education Policy Report.
Jerry Nowicki joined the Illinois Press Foundation’s reporting team on Jan. 2. He is the former editor of the LeRoy Farmer City Press, which won the 2016 David B. Kramer Memorial Trophy for Illinois’ best small weekly newspaper. For the past 2 years, he served as a legislative aide to state Sen. Steve Landek. He grew up in Chicago’s southwest suburbs, has lived in five Illinois counties and now resides in Springfield. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Illinois State University and will obtain his master’s degree in communication from Purdue University in May 2019.
Grant Morgan began his internship with Capitol News Illinois on Jan. 7. He is an Ohio native and holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, political science, economics and English from The University of Akron. There, he worked for 4 years at his student newspaper, including a stint as editor-in-chief.
“I am excited about the news team we have hired, and we’re eager to get to work,” Rogers said. “There’s a good mix of youth and experience, and they all share a passion for the Foundation’s mission with the news service, which is to bolster a Statehouse press corps that has been significantly depleted over time.”
The Capitol News Illinois news team will begin providing daily coverage of state government on Jan. 28, when the schedule for General Assembly sessions picks up in pace. Content (stories, photos, video and audio recordings, and newspaper graphics) will be made available on a Capitol News Illinois website, which the Foundation is working with a local third-party provider to develop. Member newspapers will be able to access content on the website with a username and password.
Capitol News Illinois plans to provide not only daily content, but also coverage of state government tailored for the 300-plus weekly newspapers that are IPA members. Coverage emphasis will be placed on legislative sessions, committee hearings, state agencies and the Supreme Court.
As the Capitol News Illinois team prepares for the official launch, reporters will work on stories about the General Assembly’s new lawmakers. Those stories will be emailed to each member newspaper in the lawmaker’s district over the next few days and weeks.
Hopefully, newspapers throughout the state will take full advantage of this service.