INBA writes letter in support of providing statehouse credentials for Capitol News Illinois reporters

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SPRINGFIELD (INBA) – The INBA Board recently discovered that Illinois lawmakers would not give statehouse credentials to reporters for Capitol News Illinois (CNI), citing their affiliation with the Illinois Press Association; which employs lobbyists.

The Illinois Times wrote, “It’s OK for lawmakers to moonlight as lobbyists, but reporters aren’t supposed to be tools of outfits with business before the legislature. Legislative leaders have drawn parallels between Capitol News Illinois and a defunct news arm of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank.”

After a digital discussion among board members, the INBA agreed that CNI provides legitimate journalism without influence from affiliated organizations. For that reason, the board submitted a letter to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and the Senate President, asking them to reconsider their decision.

The INBA was not contacted by CNI to write a letter of support. The board made the decision organically. You can read the full letter below.


May 11, 2021

The Honorable Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch

Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives

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. 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.

It is our belief that journalists employed by Capitol News Illinois are worthy of press credentials offering the highest level of access to state government. In fact, we believe it is essential that CNI reporters have this access in order to continue to provide reliable, credible, and legitimate news to media outlets across the state.

Capitol News Illinois, operated by the Illinois Press Foundation, was born from a desire to expand unbiased reporting of state government functions at a time when statehouse bureaus are shrinking.

Further, the nonprofit news service is transparent in its funding model and its donors. Among them, the reputable Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

We acknowledge every media outlet seeking press credentials should be individually vetted to ensure the entire organization upholds a journalistic code of ethics. Reporters and editors with Capitol News Illinois have proven to uphold these values and are deserving of such official press distinction.

Sincerely,

Jenna Dooley, President, on behalf of the INBA Board

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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