* NPR Illinois…
Speaking before more than a hundred journalists at the Illinois News Broadcasters Association’s annual spring conference in Normal, Pritzker said he’s committed to helping Illinois media tell the stories that matter.
Pritzker said mutual respect between journalists and elected officials is critical in the era of “fake news.”
“If we want our democracy to thrive, we must have a first amendment that thrives,” Pritzker said. “Those with political power must be extremely careful that when we disagree with what’s being said, we nevertheless fight for your right to get the information out.”
Illinois Public Media reporters questioned Pritzker about the lack of cooperation from some state departments, namely the Illinois Department of Corrections and Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Apparently, some reporters at WILL have been working on stories about education in prisons and mental health care for children, but haven’t been getting cooperation from the directors.
“Now more than ever it’s important that elected office holders remind the public how important journalism is in a healthy democracy,” he said.
Pritzker drew applause from the conference room full of journalists representing news organizations from across the state, and later he invited them to ask questions, calling it “the biggest press conference I ever had.”
The questions posed included a call for more transparency and access to state departments and agencies, to which Pritzker asked for “one more minute, so to speak” as his administration works through the process of bringing in new people and making adjustments.
Pritzker said he’s still hiring new staff after the Rauner administration — and that he’ll step in when government officials are unresponsive.
That time to “step in” may be now.
Pritzker has been in office three full months. He doesn’t yet have his own Corrections director. Rauner appointed an IDOC Director in March of 2015, but the guy resigned two months later and the department didn’t have a full-time director until August.
Pritzker appointed his DHS Director over three months ago.
[This post has been updated to reflect a correction in the NPR Illinois story above.]