INBA requests to be part of proposed ‘Local Journalism Task Force’

An Illinois state senator hopes to create a task force, “to ensure local journalism survives in Illinois’ small towns and mid-sized cities.”

State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) announced the Local Journalism Task Force (Senate Bill 134) in a news release March 25, which he said would consist of ten people representing print and broadcast media, journalism schools, plus state and local government. Stadelman’s release said the group will conduct a study on Illinois communities which might not have enough journalists to cover local issues. The goal is to “preserve and restore news coverage in those areas.”

The INBA reached out to Stadelman’s office to make sure our organization had a seat at the table on this task force and ensure transparency of process.

In response, he said, “I will include INBA in the list of groups required to be part of a task force to study local journalism challenges and issues. I look forward to working with your organization following passage of the legislation.”

Stadelman, a former TV anchor-reporter at WTVO in Rockford, cited declines in ad revenue and circulation as causes for the loss of local journalists. In a news release, he said, “People deserve to know what’s happening in their communities, regardless of where they live.”

Illinois State Sen. Steve Stadelman (D – Rockford)

The task force (SB 134), if approved, would be required to send the findings from its study to the Governor JB Pritzker’s office and the General Assembly no later than Jan. 1, 2023. The legislation will go to the Senate floor for consideration.

You can read the INBA’s letter to Stadelman’s office below.

March 24, 2021

Senator Steve Stadelman, 34th District

The Illinois News Broadcasters Association, formed January 22, 1955, is one of the largest statewide broadcast news associations in the nation. The organization is made up of about 200 members from throughout Illinois and surrounding states. The goals of the organization are to preserve and protect the public’s right to know, to ensure the free flow of information, to provide scholarships and to exchange information among members.

Pursuant to Senate Bill 0134, we believe INBA should have a representative included on the Local Journalism Task Force if the legislature plans to involve itself in matters of journalism. We believe our presence would promote government transparency of process and give INBA an opportunity to provide insight about how local newsrooms work and what they need to succeed.

We will continue to advocate for a free press dedicated to serving the needs of people living in Illinois and request our presence in development of these recommendations in collaboration with other press entities in Illinois.


Jenna Dooley, President, on behalf of the INBA Board

Mike Miletich

Joining the INBA was one of my best life decisions. I met some of the best broadcast journalists while I was still a college student. Plus, I ended up getting a job through the connections I made!

Jennifer Fuller

INBA is not only a great networking tool, it also provides advocacy and support for journalists in an ever-changing world.

Michelle Eccles McLaughlin

INBA is an organization that really caters to continuing education for professionals. It offers a relatively inexpensive way to learn new things, reinforce best practices and network.

Nora Baldner

The support INBA gives to student journalists is vitally important as we all discover how technology is changing news dissemination, INBA monitors and actively encourages truth, transparency and accountability from students and their universities.

Molly Jirasek

One of my top goals in my career was to get to Chicago. Thanks to INBA I met Margaret Larkin. She remembered our great conversations about Chicago and first alerted me to a job opening in the city I might be interested in. Lo and behold, I got that job! INBA helped me reach my dream.

Alexis McAdams

INBA played a huge part in preparing me for my broadcasting career. The INBA conventions connect students with on-air talent and news directors who give feedback on now to improve your work. Through relationships I made at those conventions, I was able to obtain my first on air reporting job.

Aaron Eades

As a student, it's often difficult to picture what working in the real world will be like. For me, the INBA bridged that gap by giving me the chance to talk to professionals who used to be in the same shoes I'm in now.

Jeff Bossert

When I was working in radio for the first time, I had no idea whether I could truly handle the demands. But INBA made me curious and want to improve. Even now, when I’ve maybe worked a lot of hours or planned some stories that didn’t come together for one reason or another, what I learn from an INBA conference gets me re-invigorated about the business.

Brian O'Keefe

One of the greatest benefits for me has been getting to see and know other parts of the state. I’m not from Illinois and traveling to spring and fall conventions over the years has transformed dots on a map to memories of places that enhance my story telling process.

Bob Roberts

INBA is as much about friendship and as it is about achieving common goals. It provides two things individual newsrooms cannot: in-service training, and the ability to speak out on issues affecting the profession. But most of all, it brings newspeople together.

Andrew Tanielian

INBA taught me how to network in a meaningful way. The scholarship process taught me how to endure a hard job interview and thrive.

Ryan Denham

“I recently attended my first INBA conference—and it won’t be my last. The combination of professional and student journalists learning together is electric. Everyone learns from each other and walks away with new friends (and LinkedIn connections). I know I did.”

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